How insects are making supply chain problems even worse

Inflation is going up and the supply chain is still not what it was pre-pandemic as products are still sitting at ports, waiting to be transported without the workers to make it happen. And the news isn't exactly rosy, especially when it comes to agricultural items.

Mark Vanderwerp of Rose Pest Solutions says this is a harsh reality as the stuff just sits there and waits. Especially for food products like flour, rice, beans, and spices - where insects thrive.

"We import billions of dollars worth of agricultural goods into this country. And some of those come in with bugs," he said. "Your enemy is time. So if you buy something and you let it sit for months and months and months, if there is something alive in there, it will hatch, and it will have time to complete its lifecycle, made and have kids if there are a couple of them in there so suddenly what looks like a clean bag of flour, if you give it a few months, but in fact have a bunch of beetles in it."

That drives down supply while the demand stays high. The more they have to throw away, the less product makes the shelves - and the more you have to pay.

"If you get badly infested product, then it may have to be discarded. So I suspect this will lead to more food being discarded," Vanderwerp said.

Believe it or not, some bugs in food are actually normal.

"There are rules. Some bug pieces are allowed in our food, as much as you - your listeners love hearing that but we do all eat some insects intentionally or not," Vanderwerp said.

What kind of creepy crawlers are we talking about?

"Things like confused flower beetles, that’s a fun one. We have cigarette beetles, named because they were first found investing tobacco, drugstore beetles, because they can be found in spices and into drugstores. The Indian meal moth which would be more appropriately called the cornmeal mouth because it was first found in fasting cornmeal," Vanderwerp said.

The best thing you can do is to check the expiration date on anything you buy - then check what it comes in.

"A lot of times the bags that things come in, pet food is another high offender in this category, but anything that’s a paper, cardboard type container, typically it’s not insect proof. Transfer it to an airtight hard plastic or metal container," he said.