Fall is upon us, the weather is getting colder, everything is pumpkin flavored and the holiday season is in full effect. There is one thing that is synonymous with all the holidays: Food. From Halloween candy to Christmas dinner there is no other stretch of time where food is being used and move in your house hold which is why I want to offer you some helpful tips for preventing pantry pests from invading your food supply.
What is a Pantry Pest?
Many insects can be considered pantry pests, they include: Ants, Beetles, Earwigs, Pillbugs and Weevils. The two most common are The Indian Meal Moth and The Merchant Grain Beetle. The good news is that neither of these annoying critters present health risks and they do not cause damage to the property. They do however become a major annoyance through their ability to infest an area in a short amount of time. There is nothing more disheartening than opening a box of old cereal and seeing the fluttering wings of a moth whiz by your face!
Pantry pests can infest common baking ingredients such as flour, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, cookies, oatmeal and more. In some cases, they are also attracted to dried flowers and potpourri, which make decorations another susceptible breeding ground for home infestations.
What Can I Do to Lower my Risk of Pantry Pests?
No need to freak out! There are many helpful tips and techniques that you can practice in order to prevent pantry pests from nesting in your home:
1) Inspect Your Groceries:
- This is a very important aspect of prevention because most infestations begin by purchasing contaminated products. Always check products for holes, cuts or even the slightest sign of damage before placing them in your shopping cart, if damage is visible do not purchase the item (I feel like that goes without saying but I said it anyway).
2) Checking and Cleaning your Shelves on a Regular Basis:
- - Inspect your stored food from time to time, throwing away any older containers, bags or boxes that are opened or not air-sealed.
- The longer a food item is sitting the more likely it is to contain pests. Throw away any products past the expiration as well. Try not to mix new groceries with older ones this way cleaning is made easier and you lower the risk of contaminated new food.
- Regularly clean shelves, bins, and all other locations where there is any possibility of food particles accumulating. Certain pests need only small amounts of food to live and breed. Soap and water are great for cleaning flat areas, and vacuuming with a crevice attachment will help clean cracks, edges, and corners
3) Purchase Proper Storage Materials
- When I say “proper” storage material I mean Tupperware with secure lids (if the lid is loose fitting or not tight then I would avoid purchasing it)
- Try to avoid plastic bags, they are not as effective as people think.
4) Always Clean Containers (Food or Drink) Before Putting them Back
- This will deter pests from being attracted to any residual crumbs or juice residue.
5) Store food with Bay leaf…..Yes Bay leaf:
- The strong odor from the leaves will repel most pantry pests.
6) Store Interior/Seasonal Decorations:
- Things like potpourri, dried foliage, pumpkins, gourds, and Indian meal corn should be sealed in air-tight containers when not in use.
- Before placing these decorations around the interior of your home unpack them outside.
7) Use Proper Sanitation Practices:
- Do not let spills or crumbs sit for a long period of time anywhere in your home. Immediately clean messes from any surface and regularly throw out your garbage in sealed receptacles.
I Hope these tips help your keep your house pest free!