Pantry Pest Identification

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Even the most fastidious homemakers will likely encounter a pest in the pantry at one time or another. Correctly identifying the bugs helps determine what they are seeking and how to prevent their return.

Favorite Food Types

Most pantry insects favor dried goods, especially those that contain grains, dried fruits and nuts. Baking mixes, flours, cereals and powdered milk are vulnerable, as are pastas, jerky, and prepared or processed boxed foods like flavored rice and macaroni-based mixes. Pet foods and birdseed are also favorite pest targets.


The first signs of pantry pests are moths, small brown beetles or tiny worms on the cupboard floor, shelves or counters. If any of these are found, check all opened packages for signs of infestation. The insects may be in various stages of development, so closely check for eggs, larvae and fully developed bugs.


Discard any foods that show signs of pest invasion. Check for holes in unopened packages where they may have come from a store purchase. Examine areas where crumbs may have gathered behind appliances or canned goods. Thoroughly vacuum the pantry to remove any miniscule invaders that may not be visible and immediately discard the accumulated materials to prevent reinfestation.