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The Pantry Pest You May Be Overlooking

Steps to Help Avoid a Stored Product Pest Infestation

By Hope Bowman, Technical Specialist, Western Pest Services

Rodents, roaches, and flies tend to be the three most dreaded pests by restaurateurs and diners alike. While these pests are in infamous for good reason, it’s important not to overlook the threat of another less talked about pest – the stored product pest.

Food storage and preparation areas can attract a host of stored product pests. Also known as pantry pests, stored product pests include a variety of moths and beetles that can infest foods commonly found in restaurant kitchens or pantries such as grains, beans, spices, nuts, candies, dried fruits, meats, and cheese.

If left unchecked and untreated, these pests can contaminate and damage valuable food supplies and even lead to kitchen closure. Some stored product pests can secrete chemicals that alter the taste of food, and if digested, some larvae can irritate the digestive tract or even cause an allergic reaction.

Since these pests reproduce quickly, it’s critical to address infestations in a timely manner.

Most stored product pest problems result from accepting an infested product shipment. However, inadequate sanitation practices in a facility can cause them to breed and multiply – not to mention attract other pests.

To minimize the threat of stored product pests, work with a pest management professional to implement an Integrated Pest Management program that not only focuses on sanitation and maintenance to eliminate pest attractants, but inspection and monitoring to help identify issues as soon as possible.

Here’s what you need to know to help prevent stored product pest infestations in your restaurant.

Incoming Shipments

It’s important for foodservice professionals to know how to inspect incoming food shipments for stored product pests.

Storing Shipments

Once you’ve inspected the incoming shipments and stored them away, it’s important to continue to monitor for pests even if the shipments initially appeared to be pest-free.

Addressing an Infestation

Stored product pests can multiply quickly, so the sooner you can identify and treat an infestation, the better. If you find evidence of larvae or insects, take the following steps.

Don’t let a stored product pest infestation negatively affect your restaurant. Inspect and monitor food shipments and work with a pest management professional to address any issues that occur as soon as possible. Detecting issues early on can help save a lot of trouble down the road.

Hope Bowman is a Technical Specialist and Board Certified Entomologist with Western Pest Services, a New Jersey-based pest management company serving businesses and homeowners in major Northeastern markets.

Originally featured at Total Food Service.