To get rid of mealworms, any food infested with the worms should be sealed in a closed container. The container should be heated to 150 degrees Fahrenheit or placed in the freezer for several days before throwing it away. Pantry items should be checked regularly for the worms, and food should be kept in airtight containers. An insecticide sprayed around the home can discourage adult beetles from entering.
Mealworms are larvae that range in color from white to brown as they grow. Upon maturity, they turn into the mealworm beetle. They tend to invade dry goods in the pantry, infesting cereals, flour and other grains to use as a food source.
Though they generally breed in the summer in nature, the confines of the pantry provide a dark, warm breeding ground year-round. The female mealworm beetle can lay up to 1,000 eggs. These eggs hatch in as little as 18 days but may take as much as nine months to mature.
Though considered a pest when they enter the home uninvited, the mealworm is often used to feed family pets such as lizards, birds and snakes. Mealworms are high in protein and are considered a delicacy in some areas of the world.