The last thing a bird owner wants to find when they open a bag or container of food is bugs. You certainly do not want to expose your treasured pet birds to an insect infestation, nor do you want your home to be overrun by a horde of many-legged creatures. There’s also the financial cost in replacing the spoiled food which most of us would rather avoid.
The problem can affect pet bird owners as well as wild bird enthusiasts that like to leave food in outdoor bird feeders. Let’s take a look at the kinds of bugs that you might find in bird food, what causes them to appear, and ways you can minimize your chances of having to deal with this predicament.
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Types of Bugs in Bird Food
Bugs are likely to already be resident in the seed when you purchase it. Insect larvae can make it into the seed bags that you buy and spawn adults when you are ready to use it. According to absorbentproductsltd.com, these are the most common types of insects you will find infesting bird food.
Three types of weevils commonly are found in bird seed. Granary and Rice Weevils deposit their larvae in grain before the seed is processed. They will not be seen until the tiny adults are seen exiting through holes in the grain. They are not harmful to humans and do not bite or sting. Maize Weevils are also often found and are black or brown with long snouts. These insects can infest other stored foods in your home if left to their own devices. Checking for weevils is best done with a flashlight and careful observation to observe the insects’ movements.
Indian Meal Moths
A moth infestation can also occur during seed processing or after you have brought the food into your home. Moths lay their eggs in the seed where the larvae feed until emerging as adult moths. The larvae’s appearance is that of tiny worms with black heads. They may leave the food and can be found on the container walls suspended on silk webs. Adult moths fly in the dark and these insects will get into other food sources in your home if you let them. If you notice fine webbing in your storage containers you may have Indian Meal Moths. Below is a video that demonstrates methods to cope with these moths.
These small, oval insects can be seen flying in low light. As the name would suggest, they favor tobacco plants but can also infest bird seed and other products.
Ants and others
Despite the best efforts at obtaining clean bird seed and treatment and inspection at the production facility, inadequate storage can lead to infestation from a variety of different insects.
5 Steps To Get Rid Of Bugs in Bird Seed
1. Throw away your old food that’s open
You don’t want this infestation to spread then throw away any food you’re currently using. It’s hardly worth saving it since bird food is fairly cheap and the cost of an infestation can be quite high.
2. Freeze any unopened food
This’ll kill off any of you eggs that are present in the bird seed. Use freezer bags such as these for storage.
3. Clean your bird cage, toys, perches etc.
This is recommended just in case any of the eggs have spread elsewhere around your home. We recommend using a bird safe spray as this for cleaning.
4. Buy new bird food
With your old infested food thrown away, you’ll now want to replace this with some new quality foods. If you’re looking for a good deal on parrot food then you might want to check out the deals available on Chewy and the auto-ship features they offer:
5. Use airtight containers to store defrosted bird food
When you defrost your bird food, ensure that it is stored in an airtight containers. This’ll add an extra layer of cleanliness and bug prevention. Click on one of the 3 images below which are specifically designed to be airtight:
According to pesticide.org, Indian Meal Moths can also be killed through heating. If you bake or microwave your bird feed then it can to kill the insect larvae. Purchasing a quality brand of bird food can minimize potential infestation. Some foods are sold vacuum packed and this is a very effective safeguard against bugs.
Other precautions such as not buying an open or torn bag of bird food and ensuring the freshness by its expiration date can be more closely controlled with a commercial, packaged product. Caution needs to be taken when buying loose bird food at the bird or pet store as this is highly likely to be infected. Below is another take on this subject from Marlene Mc’Cohen regarding freezing your bird food to prevent moths.
Post Updated: 2019-09-14