Pest Proof Your Pantries

Pests can invade your pantry from a number of different sources. They can even enter your home via unopened packages from the grocery store!

The most common foods that pests enjoy are the most natural ones, such as foods that contain grains, nuts, or seeds — even baking mixes or spices. So it’s wise to ensure that all such foods are enclosed in containers that will keep such pests out! (Or if you’re very unlucky, in.)

Some of these insects can even leave the pantry to damage other items in your house, such as wool products or books.
Screw-top glass containers, metal or heavy plastic containers are best, to ensure that pests can’t get in or out. Paper or cardboard packaging and plastic wrap are not sturdy enough.

Ensure that the packaging is undamaged when you buy it. Also when you purchase food, buy small amounts, so it won’t need to be stored for as long, and always use the oldest food first. The longer you own a food, the longer it has to become infested.

Keep your kitchen clean and pursue regular insect-prevention methods, such as spraying or setting out traps. The importance of this cannot be emphasized enough. If you leave out food, the scent of it is like putting out a “Free Hamburgers” sign in front of your house.

Also check for gaps under doors and verify that you have undamaged screens over windows and open doors. Check for areas of damaged caulk throughout the kitchen, but especially in and around the pantry. Caulk up any damaged areas, as well as over any cracks. A cat or a dog door is one thing — you definitely don’t want an pest door.

While proper cleaning goes a long way in keeping pests away, sometimes they find their way in no matter what you do. While there are sticky traps or pheromone traps for some insects, for many these are not effective. Really, the best thing to do with any kind of infestation, is to act quickly and remove all access to the food source. After that, you can go after the insects.

To remove access to a food source, you will need to take any food that is in paper, cardboard, or other flimsy containers and put it in sturdy bug proof containers. Or, if it is obviously infested, contain it tightly in a bag and throw it away outside . I’d move the trashcan as far from the house as you can manage for a few days.

Ensure that you clean the pantry very thoroughly for as long as you are seeing pests. Wipe all of the shelves down, as well as their contents, and examine them carefully for signs of infestation. Use a vacuum to get the area really clean. Suck up all those pests and larvae, as well as, of course, any food spillage.

Whether the bugs are in a container (hopefully not) or outside, without access to a new food source in your kitchen, they should die off relatively quickly.

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