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dust mites? looks like a sawdust pile that moves...

Posted by newbee5 (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 16, 09 at 13:50

My pet food cupboard has an infestation of something that might be dust mites. I've been looking online, but I'm not seeing much on this.
Description: this looks like a small pile (like a few tablespoons) of very fine, light sawdust, but on closer inspection, you will see that these small creatures (smaller than a grain of sugar) are moving. They climbed onto various bags and cans of food, and were moving around. They managed to get into a few of the open items, and were turning the food to dust.
I wiped down the cupboard with a water/bleach soution, and threw out the infested items. Unfortunatly, my adjacent cupboards also have a problem but not to the same extent.

If anyone has any tips or similar experiences, please post! Thank you so much, in advance!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: dust mites? looks like a sawdust pile that moves...

Not dustmites. more likely grain weevils. I don't have a link, but every couple of years these pests appear in my pantry. Once I know they came in thru a bog of organic dog biscuits, another time I think they came thru taco shells. They are brown insects, very small, but you can see them as specks in food, and they spread like wildfire. I treat the infestation by throwing out everything, then spray the cabinets with Raid, wait a week, then wash with a bleach solution. Buy all new foods, and start fresh. Good luck. Anybody have a different slant?

RE: dust mites? looks like a sawdust pile that moves...

They are NOT dust mites. Dust mites cannot be seen with the human eye. Dust mites do not go after food but rather dead skin flakes and hence are found in carpeting, drapes, and furniture.

To clear out an infestation of bugs in your cupboard throw out all food that is not canned or bottled. Wash everything you are saving and wash down the cupboards. Spray with an incecticide containing a growth inhibitor. To help prevent a new infestation sprinkle some food grade DH in the cupboards.

RE: dust mites? looks like a sawdust pile that moves...

Sounds like flour moth larvae. Despite their name, flour moths (aka pantry pests) infect a wide variety of foods, not just grains and flour. I had a bad infestation a few years ago and found them in flour, crackers, dal (Indian lentils), nuts, cornstarch, raisins, cereal, oatmeal, etc. I've read that they also get into pet food and bird seed. I suspect that mine originated either in bulk grains or flours from the "health" food store or from one of the ethnic grocery stores I go to, since the moths showed up only after I started buying from these stores. The moths appear to be able to eat through thin plastic and cardboard, so beware.

Once you discard all your infected stuff, the best way to get prevent flour moths is to store EVERYTHING they like (including dried fruits and nuts) in air-tight containers. I use widemouth glass jars with good seals when I can find them and plastic containers for the rest. Not all plastic storage contains have tight enough lids -- I had to get rid of some brand-new Anchor Hocking containers because the moths managed to get into them. I've been using Sterilite storage containers since they're relatively inexpensive and easy to find, but the hinged flaps on the Sterilite cereal container lids are flimsy and break easily. Once I got everything into air-tight containers, I haven't had a problem with moths, but I'm still vigilant about watching out for them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sterilite dry food storage containers

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