Household pest can be quite a hassle

Published on Saturday, 23 August 2014 22:41 - Written by Chad Gulley Smith County Extension Agent

Occasionally homes may be invaded with food- and fabric-pests. Many times these insects are an inconvenience while others may cause significant damage to food or personal items. These pests can be pantry pests or fabric pests.

Pantry pests include insects like cigarette and drugstore beetles, grain beetles, rice beetles, flour beetles, and meal moths to name a few. The most common pests in Texas home pantries are cigarette and drugstore beetles. The larvae of pantry pests feed on all kinds of materials including beans, flour, grains, nuts, seeds, spices and dried fruits and vegetables, to name a few.

The first step to control is to find and eliminate the infested items. Good sanitation is important to make sure to clean up spilled grains, pet foods and other foods in the pantry. Storing these food items in an airtight container may help as well.

On rare occasions, chemical control may be needed. Be sure to read and follow all label directions if chemical control is necessary. The label will specify if certain the product may be used indoors and in the kitchen.

Fabric pests include insects like carpet beetles, warehouse beetles, clothes moths, and hide beetles, to name a few. These beetles feed mostly on animal protein while some feed on high-protein plant materials. Some may cause damage to leather goods, furs, feathers, woolen articles, and clothing to name a few.

Controlling fabric pests can be a challenge. The first step is to identify and eliminate all the feeding sites. These pests may be found in drawers, closets, on the floor, on furniture, on walls, and in walls, ceilings, and attics.

Prevention can help with fabric beetles. Clothing, coats, and jackets may be stored in airtight containers or garment bags. Rugs and blankets may be shaken or beaten vigorously and exposed to sunlight for several hours to get rid of these insects.

Occasionally chemical control is warranted. Cedar chests, cedar closets, or pieces of cedar wood place in storage areas may repel these insects for a short while. If chemical control is desired, be sure to read and follow all label directions around to make sure the product may be used on or around the items you are protecting.

There are pheromone traps that can be placed in areas these insects infest. These traps can be helpful in determining which pest may be present and these traps may pinpoint where an infestation may be occurring. Pheromone traps are generally more effective on flying insects.

Control may be something each person can handle themselves while many others will need to seek professional help to eliminate the pests problem. The amount of damage and how great the infestation is will warrant which control method is chosen.

Educational programs of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information or veteran status. The Texas A&M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas Cooperating.