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Insects and other arthropods

How to control insects that live in foodstuffs

English
In the home, damage caused by the dermestid beetles are mainly due to the larvae. Their varied menu leads them to them invade our food stores to feed.
Photo: Insectarium de Montréal (Claude Pilon)

Do you have small beetles roaming around the kitchen, small brown moths attracted by lamps or the light of the television? They may be meal moths, dermestid beetles, drugstore beetles or other small beetles whose larvae feed on dry goods.

These beetles generally make their way into our kitchens through packaged or bulk products. They may also hide in the folds of paper bags or cardboard boxes transported from one place to another. Some may even enter from outside and lay their eggs in our pantry.

How to get rid of them

The most important thing is to find and destroy the source of the infestation, meaning the item or items that are serving as the larvae’s food source. They may be:

  • Dried foodstuffs in the pantry or that have been forgotten elsewhere in the house.
  • Dried pet food or bags of birdseed.
  • There is usually more than one visible larva in the source of infestation. Often, the larvae produce silky threads that cause blades of rice to stick together or form piles in flour. If the infestation is small and the infested foodstuff is isolated and thrown away, it is not necessary to destroy the contents of your pantry.

Prevention and control:

  • Place dry goods in hermetically sealed containers.
  • Sweep or vacuum regularly – every day if necessary.
  • Clean all kitchen cabinets and surfaces to remove crumbs and other residue.
  • Destroy contaminated foodstuffs.
  • Kill any insects you find so that they will not reproduce.

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