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How To Beat The Beetles

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How To Beat The Beetles

Ants aren’t the only unwelcome house guests you might find lurking about. Beetles can invade everything, from the macaroni in the cupboard to the stuffed moose head over the fireplace.

Over one hundred species of beetles live in stored food. Among them — warehouse beetles, confused flour beetles, cigarette beetles (yes, they’re a thing!), and drugstore beetles — contaminate goods with their bodies and by-products. These pantry beetles infest cereal, candy, cocoa, cookies, pet food, flour, nuts, pasta, potato chips, spices, dried fruit, prescription drugs, and cigarettes. They can also introduce microbes that produce toxins. So how can you get rid of them?

Try these remedies that don’t involve toxic chemicals:

To help prevent a pantry beetle infestation:

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  • Store food in pest-proof containers, not screw-top jars or plastic bags.
  • Clean shelves and food storage areas often.
  • Do not combine old and new food.
  • Wash old containers before refilling them.
  • Make sure food storage areas stay dry. Moisture encourages pantry pests.

If you see beetles in the kitchen:

  • Look for damaged or little-used packages of food and inspect for beetles, eggs, pupae, webbing, or tiny holes.
  • Seal up the infested packages and remove them from the house immediately.
  • Wash shelves, corners, and crevices with soap and water.
  • Spray baseboards and cracks (not food storage or preparation areas), with a pyrethrin product. Pyrethrin comes from pyrethrum daisies.

    Confused flour beetle.

To make your own pyrethrum insecticide:
Pick pyrethnun daisies in full bloom. Hang them in a dark, dry location. After the flowers have dried completely, store in a labeled, airtight container in a dark, cool place.

To make a spray, grind the flowers and combine with a small amount of liquid dish soap and water. You can also purchase pyrethrin products, but check the label carefully, since some contain other ingredients as well.

Fun Fact: The confused flour beetle is called “confused” due to being confused with the red flour beetle, and not because of its walking pattern.

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