Awareness, Cat Food, Dry Food

Why Do Bugs Get In Dry Cat Food? How To Keep Them Out?

Why Do Bugs Get In Dry Cat Food?

Reasons Bugs and Insects Enter Dry Cat Food

Ideal Breeding Conditions

Many bugs, such as beetles and moths, are attracted to dry pet food because it provides a hearty meal and an ideal breeding ground. The mixture of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates is nutritious for their larvae. These insects lay their eggs in the kibble, and when the eggs hatch, the larvae find themselves surrounded by an abundant food source, which allows for rapid population growth.

Poor Storage

If dry cat food is not stored properly, it is more vulnerable to infestation. Keeping food in a damp or humid area can promote mold growth, which can attract bugs. Additionally, storing food in non-airtight containers can allow insects easy access. Bugs such as weevils, ants, and cockroaches are adept at finding their way into poorly sealed bags or containers, drawn by the scent and easy access to the food.

Poor Storage

Contamination at Production

Sometimes, the dry cat food can become contaminated with bugs during manufacturing. Facilities that produce pet food may inadvertently have insects in the environment that can end up in the product. If the food isn’t heated to a high enough temperature during processing or if there is a lapse in quality control, eggs or larvae might survive and be packaged with the food.

Cross Infestation from Other Foods

Insects in the home may initially be attracted to other food sources, such as grains or sweets, and then move to the dry cat food. Once they find the pet food, they can infest it as well. This cross-infestation often happens with pantry pests, which are not particularly choosy about their food sources as long as they’re dry and edible.

Long-Term Storage

The longer dry cat food is stored, the higher the chance of infestation, especially if it’s past its expiration date. Over time, the protective barriers like packaging can degrade, and the food’s natural preservatives may lose effectiveness, making it easier for bugs to invade and survive in the food.

Long-Term Storage

Attractants in the Food

The strong odors and oils in dry cat food can attract bugs from outside the home. Insects have a keen sense of smell and are drawn to the proteins and fats that are dense in pet food. Even the smallest opening in a window screen or door can be an entry point for bugs that have been lured by the scent of the food.

8 Ways to Keep Bugs and Insects Away from Dry Cat Food

Use Airtight Containers

Store your cat’s dry food in airtight containers rather than leaving it in the bag it comes in. Airtight containers are designed to keep air and moisture out, which can deter pests. They can also prevent the odors from the food from escaping and attracting bugs. Look for containers made from thick plastic or metal that have tight-fitting lids.

Maintain a Clean Feeding Area

Clean up any spilled food around your cat’s feeding area promptly. Leftover kibble can attract insects that are looking for an easy meal. Regularly wiping down the area with a clean, damp cloth can remove food particles and residues that may attract bugs. It’s also a good practice to wash your cat’s food dish daily to maintain a clean feeding environment.

Maintain a Clean Feeding Area

Buy Smaller Quantities

Purchase smaller bags of cat food to use them up more quickly. This reduces the time the food is stored and, therefore, the chances of it becoming infested with bugs. If your cat consumes its food before pests have a chance to find it, you can significantly reduce the risk of infestation.

Regular Inspection

Periodically inspect the storage container and the area around it for signs of insects. Look for small holes in the food, live insects, larvae, or webs that some pests, like the Indian meal moth, may leave. Catching an infestation early can prevent it from spreading and save the rest of the food from contamination.

Keep the Food in a Cool, Dry Place

Store the food in a cool, dry place, as humidity and warmth can promote insect activity and increase the chances of infestation. Basements and garages can often be humid and may not be the best choice for food storage unless they are climate-controlled. A pantry or closet inside the home where temperature and humidity are consistent is typically a better choice.

Keep the Food in a Cool, Dry Place

Check for Contamination Before Use

Before you pour new cat food into your storage container, inspect it for any signs of bugs. Sometimes, the food can become contaminated at the production facility or during transit. If you notice any insects, larvae, or webs, do not use the food. This can prevent an infestation from spreading to your home.

Seal Entry Points

Insects can enter homes through tiny cracks and crevices. Seal any potential entry points, such as gaps around windows and doors, to keep pests out. This helps keep bugs out of cat food and contributes to overall pest control in your home.

Use Natural Repellents

Certain natural substances like bay leaves or diatomaceous earth can deter insects. Bay leaves can be placed inside the container where the cat food is stored, as many pests dislike their scent. Diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic powder that can be sprinkled around the storage area, killing insects by dehydrating them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use insecticide near the pet food storage area?

Using insecticides near pet food storage areas is generally not recommended because of the risk of contaminating the food and the potential harm to your pet. If you must use them, choose pet-safe options and apply them carefully according to the manufacturer’s instructions, ensuring the food is well-covered or removed from the area during treatment.

When do I need to contact a professional insect service?

You should contact a professional pest control service if you have a persistent infestation that home remedies cannot control, if the infestation is extensive, or if you’re unsure about the type of pest and the health risks it might pose to your pets and household.

Which bugs and insects usually enter dry cat food?

Common bugs and insects that are known to enter dry cat food include ants, weevils, beetles (like the flour beetle), Indian meal moths, and cockroaches. These pests are attracted to the food due to its nutrient content and often because of ideal breeding conditions within the storage area.

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