Black pantry bugs

East_Texas_MelodyOctober 3, 2006

I'm not sure it makes a difference but I live in an older house built in the 50Âs and I canÂt keep those little tiny skinny black bugs out of my pantry. My mother called them "meal bugs" I'm not sure if that is what they are or not. I have thrown everything out, cleaned with Simple Green and started over and today I found them again. How can I get rid of those gross little things forever?

Thank you!


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YOu need to discard all the infested foods, clean the pantry VERY thoroughly and restock.

Keeping all food in sealed containers (glass, plastic, etc.) minimizes the chances of getting them.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2006 at 5:17PM
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Are you talking about weevils? The tiny bugs that you find in flour and other grain products?

If so, their eggs are in virtually all grain products you buy. Under the right conditions (warmth, mostly) they'll hatch.

If you're cleaning thoroughly, and keeping food in air-tight containers, might be you need to change supermarkets--could be the place where you shop doesn't store or rotate their stock properly and the grocery store is infested with them.

To keep weevil infestations to a minimum, you need to keep food as cold as possible. Freeze things like flour, rice, etc. It will keep them from hatching. Put each grain product--flour, pancake mix, rice, cereal, bread crumbs, etc in a separate air-tight container. Don't rely on something like Tupperware, weevils are so small, they can often crawl through the seal. Ziplock bags are the best choice. Clean well--keeping in mind that they can find the tiniest crack to live in. Check food frequently, to see if it's become infested again.

Now, as unappetizing as this may sound--they're not really harmful. You won't get sick if you accidentally eat them. Not that you'd want to, but just so you know, it's not a real health hazard. You can sift your flour to remove them, and then use the flour, if you don't want to toss it. And if you cook pasta, they will float to the top and can easily be scooped out.

The really big thing, for controlling them is to keep them from hatching, and then--if they do hatch, you want to keep them from invading other foods in your kitchen.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2006 at 8:22PM
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You can run, but you can't hide! LOL I've had them several times, and keeping boxes/bags of new, unopened foods in plastic, sealed containers hasn't helped one bit. Blame the grocery stores or warehouses the food sits in! ;o)


    Bookmark   October 4, 2006 at 5:16PM
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I like the pantry moth traps too. They won't clear up an infestation, but they help keep them in check. Even when I don't see any evidence of weevils or moths, the traps fill up pretty quickly with dead moths.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 1:04AM
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Pantry moth traps? I've never heard of those. Where would I get them? They sound like a wonderful idea.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 8:21AM
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I brought those into the house in a bag of flour. It took time to get rid of them. What worked. Vacume out the cabinets, no crumbs should be left for them to feed on. Put spices in the freezer to kill any that might have gotten in. The will even get in chilipowder. I finally put borax in the cracks of the cabinets. I worked it in with a paintbrush and then brushed out the excess. That combined seemed to do it. Just be carefull it does not come in contact with food. Later I went and vacumed it all out. But it got down in where they lived and seemed to get rid of them. do cabinets where you don't store food. The seem to find places to hide. I even put the borax around the baseboards and anyplace they could be. If you have kids keep the borax away from them. I found this tip on a website on safe pest control. Toss anything they might be in and store lots of things in the freezer until you know they are gone. Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 9:12AM
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azzalea's right. freeze everything, clean it out and keep your items air tight. the only reason you should still see them is if there's something to eat. no food = no buggies. good luck.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 8:56PM
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I have found a solution to this partially. First I do not worry too much about store bugs since you can not easily prevent them but you can prevent them from hatching or at least procreating and spreading. I buy these nice 4 quart plastic containers at our local dollar tree dollar store.

They are pretty good as is but I am leary of how perfect the seal is thankfully that is very easy and cheap a solution and right at the dollar store too :-)

Two methods. One is the balloon method. This is good for long term storage your not going to open this often. Cut a balloon stretch it over the lip and screw on the lid.

MY preferred method is hot glue. I make a nice neat "gasket" inside the lid where the lip of the plastic screw cap rests (inside the cap) let it dry fully. Screw it on. Now you have a near hermetic bug proof seal. I get some nasty infestations sometimes when people are not careful and I have never had a single bug in one of these sealed containers. Especially great for pasta and things like "hamburger helper" etc.. Ie those plastic bags they come in are nothing more than tissue paper to these bugs :-)

One thing I have not done yet but I DO plan to try soon is CO2 infusion. either "spray pour" some CO2 in there and then seal it up. (its heavier than air so it will push the O2 out) OR drop a small peice of Dry ice inside. I am working on finding a nice pressure release valve one way (cheap) so I can glue one into the lid. It will force the O2 out the valve but not let O2 back in. (have not found one yet)

Again good for "long term" storage. No O2 no breathing no hatching no growing and the food lasts longer. This will not kill the eggs and such though so once you release the seal if you leave it out they can grow and it can be infested IE seal it back up when your done. Thats the biggest mistake people make.

The worst is putting cereal boxes back in the pantry without a seal. Rolling up the back does nothing. If you buy in bulk on sale like I do first thing I do is REMOVE the cereal from its store container check for bugs and transfer to these nice plastic containers. Every time I have an extra few dollars I go in a buy some more eventually everything will be stored in them.

Mods it wold be NICE to alert people that registration is mandatory. IE the presence of the reply box implied No registration was required yet when I clicked post it presented me with a log in and no way around it. I hate registering at every random site but I also invested a lot of time forming a reply. SO I was left with the choice of all that invested time being wasted or going through yet one more registration process.

The solution is to make it CLEAR you must register to post so people can decide BEFORE investing so much time in a reply :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: My Home Page

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 12:50AM
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I've had infestations of these pests twice, the last time last summer. Throw out everything, wash the cabinet thoroughly and spray with Ant-killing Raid, then let it sit a while (a week or longer), wash again. Then keep anything edible in glass or ceramic containers. These little buggers can chew thru plastic , paper, even the metal bottom of a can of breadcrumbs. Expensive, but it's the only way to rid yourself of them. The good news is they don't spread disease and won't bite you. Besides your food, the only thing they eat is each other. Yeah,they're cannibals!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 7:16PM
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You will be able to puchase The Pantry Pest Traps at Home Trends. www.ShopHomeTrends. com. 1-800-810-2340. #205083
Pantry Pest Trap Set of 2 $12.95. These last for 3 months. The way these work is they emit a pheramone which attracts the male only. That is why you will still see the females for a period of time. Without the male they are unable to reproduce and once the remainder of the eggs hatch you should be pest free. I don't know if your pantry is a walk in or a cabinet but the key is to vacuum with a canister vac and use your dusting brush and crevice tool. Be sure to clean where the cabinet shelves meet the wall and don't forget the baseboards where they meet the wall and the floor. This will remove the eggs as this is where they hatch. Change your vac bag each time after doing this as they will hatch if you don't. I had a friend which brought them in in a bag if birdseed. The traps with the vac worked well for her.

I keep everything in Rubbermaid, clear containers also. I keep nothing in the box or bag the food comes in. The products are warehoused for months before they are on the shelves and those warehouses are not pest free. You can bring is roaches and silverfish. I have done that when I was first out on my own 35 years ago. This is why nothing is in the original packages when I bring them home. Also now that more stores are going back to the brown paper bags, don't keep them in the house. These are warehoused also and roaches like to lay eggs where they are folded at the bottom.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 9:48AM
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thanks for all the info....I have been fighting these bugs for a year.....i was able to get some spray from the Vet that is safe around I spray the baseboards and keep sweeping up dead bugs......but just can't get rid of them totally.....I will try the vaccum idea....I got mine from a box of pasta ...... I know longer shop at that store....

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 3:41PM
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I got mine from a box of white cornmeal tacos. They really like gourmet food!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 10:44PM
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You have to find where they are because they are somewhere in something. I cleaned everything out, threw away food and thought I did a good job but still was seeing them. I have an exterminator come regularly and he said if I did all that they would die without a food source. Well, they didn't so I told him he had to come and do something. He went to the top shelf of my pantry where I had food stored in plastic boxes (which I didn't check because I thought it was safe) and there they were by the hundreds inside the boxes. Enough to make me sick. We threw everything out right in the garbage and out to the curb and I haven't seen them since.
Now I keep pasta, flour, mixes, etc. in the freezer or the fridge and rice in glass jars with tight lids. I know I brought them home in the pasta from the store.
So even tho you think you checked everything check again. Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 6:27AM
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what about cake mixes and muffins boxes ?? dang these things are creepy !!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 3:42PM
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I had them in my new home when I moved in. I call my termite man and hes just empty out the pantry and spray it with an insect spray. I did that, let it dry good, put down shelf paper so the food wasn't sitting on the spray and put the food like cereal in plastic containers and other stuff in the freezer. That did it. I did not need to do a second treatment.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 7:04PM
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