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Flour Bugs & Other Kitchen Pantry Pests

flour beetles in flour

Why Do Insects Like Flour?

When you open up your bag of flour, the last thing you expect or want to see are bugs in it.  here are no ifs, ands, or buts about it – once you find bugs in your flour, the entire bag has to be tossed out. It’s a huge annoyance because it means you have to get rid of food as well as the money you spent on that food. But what type of insects will show up in flour?  

A lot of insects like to eat flour. This is because flour is essentially ground up grain, and insects like to eat grain. This is also why you may find similar insects in foods like pastas or cereals. When you look into your flour you may find one of the following insects:

  • Indian meal moth larvae
  • Flour beetles
  • Weevils
  • Silverfish
  • Other types of beetles and weevils. 

Many of these insects are small and can sometimes be hard to see if they are within the flour rather than resting on top of it.  

Where Do Flour Pests Come From?  

Like all pests, flour pests originally come from outside. However, with some flour issues, it may be that they have come from a more internal source. Sometimes you may bring a bag of flour home only to discover it has already been contaminated by bugs. This can happen at any location, such as when the bag is on the shelf at the grocery store, when it is in transit, or even at the factory. None of these locations is ever excited to learn that insects have been discovered in their flour and will do everything they can to keep flour safe and fresh.  

For some pests, such as Indian meal moths or silverfish, they may already be living in your home.  When an Indian meal moth lays eggs, it will lay them near a food source.  It may be that the flour was the nearest and best source, so when the eggs hatched the larvae chewed through the packaging and went on to eat the flour inside.  Silverfish are notorious for chewing through packages to get to food.  

What are Flour Bugs?

If you find red bugs in flour, you’ve got flour bugs, also known as flour beetles. What are flour beetles? They’re tiny beetles, usually no longer than 4 mm in length. Most are reddish-brown with very little color change across the body. You might describe most as a rusty red or a shiny brown. There is a black variety as well.

Despite this similarity, there are a range of flour beetle species. They’ve got some of our favorite names of all bugs. Sure, there’s a red flour beetle and a black flour beetle, to keep things simple. There’s also the confused flour beetle, the depressed flour beetle, both a broad horned and slender horned species, and both small eyed and long-headed varieties. Whoever named flour beetles had a lot of fun doing so.

What Should I Do With Flour Bugs?

You won’t have fun picking flour beetles out of your flour. In fact: just don’t. It’s best to simply dump the flour. They’ll have tracked around bacteria, and chances are very good they’ve laid eggs in there. It’s not a simple case of picking them out; it’s a simple case of trashing the bag of flour. Do not use it. Although they’re named flour bugs, you’ll also find them in other cereal and baking products.

How to Get Rid of Flour Bugs

If you don’t find bugs in flour or other foodstuffs, but you do see them nearby, we’d still recommend inspecting your food. They don’t spend all their time in the packages themselves. To get rid of pantry pests, you’ll want to first dump any product they’ve infested. Don’t just put it in your kitchen trash – remember, they’re pretty mobile. Take it all the way outside to a trash receptacle that you can close tightly. Flour bugs are pretty resilient.

Then vacuum out any area that contained food they infested. They can spread quickly across various products. Remember, don’t eat anything they’ve infested. There are almost certainly beetle eggs in those products. Store products in sealed containers from now on.

Contact a Professional Pest Control Company

Ransford Pest Control can do a full inspection and cleansing. Flour bugs are difficult to get rid of. Insecticide can be applied by a professional in a way that’s safe for you and your family. Contact Ransford today to learn your options with pantry pests.

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