You know it’s the holidays when the smell of gingerbread fills the kitchen and iced sugar cookies decorate your counters. But there is a dark side to holiday baking — pantry pests. These tiny insects can infest a variety of dried products including flour, spices, nuts and dried fruit. Notorious culprits are moths like the Indian Meal Moth and beetles such as the Confused Flour Beetle. Just a tiny amount of spilled food in the cabinet is all pantry pests need to survive and multiply. Make a resolution to use these 5 tips to keep your pantry pest-free in the New Year.
- Pay attention when grocery shopping - don’t buy or use any food products that are opened or damaged.
- Use proper food storage - store food, even food for your pets, in containers with airtight lids that have rubber gaskets or screw tops. Pantry pests can chew their way through plastic bags.
- Add a bay leaf – place a dried bay leaf in your storage containers. The herb’s strong scent will help ward off pantry pests.
- Wash containers before filling with new food – don’t add new products in with old products. If the food is already infested, it will quickly ruin the new food.
- Clean regularly – be sure to clean areas where spilled flour and other bits of food tend to accumulate such as cabinets and the cracks where you kitchen counters meet the floor.
Need the Help of a Professional?
If you have pantry pests, immediately throw away all the infested food in an outdoor trashcan. Take everything out of your kitchen cabinets, and thoroughly vacuum and sanitize. If the problem persists, contact a pest management professional.