How to Bug-Proof Your Pantry

A bug-free pantry is one of those things you take for granted until you don’t have one. Nobody wants crawly critters in and among their food; it’s gross, it’s unsanitary and even dangerous.

Contact the pros at Environmental Pest Management to keep your pantry clean and pest-free!

Secrets of a Bug Free Pantry 

The good news is, you can bug-proof your food storage area with a few tricks and a little effort. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can protect your food, your home, and your family.

bug free pantry--bugs on grain

Know the Usual Suspects

Before you set to work, make sure you know what you’re up against. The most common (and harmless) home invaders you will encounter near your food included weevils, moths, and small beetles. 

The varieties of beetles you may find in your pantry are merchant grain beetles and flour beetles. Merchant grain beetles are fans of processed foods and baked goods, whereas flour beetles are your standard grain-lovers. Flour beetles larvae are the infamous mealworms, which are known for destroying stored grains and flours.

On the more threatening end of the spectrum, you may find cockroaches, who can carry disease.

A Clean Pantry is No Guarantee

Don’t beat yourself up if you see an unwelcome guest the next time you reach for a box of cereal! An infestation isn’t a reflection on you as a person or housekeeper. Unfortunately, no matter how tidy you keep things, you may still find yourself the victim of a buggy pantry. 

Be Aware of the Bug Bait Hiding In Plain Sight

Cereal is just one of the foods insects, and other bugs may find attractive in your home. Other foods that creepy crawlers find irresistible include grains, different flour varieties, and processed foods. They’re not so different from you and me, are they?

Bugs can also go after nuts, beans, dried fruits – even spices!

Basically, bugs are people, too. If you like to snack on it, chances are, there are bugs that will, also.

Shop Smart

A bug free story starts in the supermarket. Examine packaging when you purchase a food item; if the box or wrapper appears damaged, do not buy it. 

Why?

Well, because a lot of times, bugs infest pantries through packaging that was infested from jump street.

Additionally, check expiration dates both when you’re purchasing items and periodically, at home, too. Avoid buying anything that’s too close to its expiration date and throw out expired items at home.

bug free pantry--bugs on grapes

At-Home Prevention Hacks

Once you bring your groceries home, you have a few tricks at your disposal to preserve them from bugs.

Sealed, air-tight containers are a great route to a bug free pantry. Once you break the seal or open a package, transfer the contents to Tupperware or Rubbermaid containers (or something similar).

Interestingly, bay leaves are another hack you can use to ward off critters. To utilize its aromatic properties against would-be invaders, put a bay leaf in dry goods containers. Items like rice, grains, and flours are ideal for this strategy. 

Do a Quick Clean Up

Now, as stated above, a clean house is no guarantee that you will have a bug free pantry. Having said that, that’s no reason not to do your best to straighten up.

As much as possible, clean up crumbs and sticky spills as you spot them. 

Make cleaning your pantry a part of your cleaning routine: clean up crumbs and wash shelves with soap and water. While you’re in there, inspect for cracks, holes, and crevices that may provide an on-ramp for pests. Fill up any holes you find with caulk.

When Should I Start Panicking?

Now, a couple of bugs here and there around the house do not constitute an emergency in and of themselves.  

The problem comes when you spot the bugs in your food stores. Likewise, if bugs turn up near food storage sites: your kitchen, and yes, your pantry.

What To Do For a Bug Free Pantry When Prevention Is Not an Option

So a bug has turned up in your container of dry rice. First thing’s first: don’t try to salvage it; throw out any infested stored food you discover. Make sure you throw it away in a sealed trash container!

Next, inspect any packages or containers you have stored near the original offender. Check to see whether the infestation has spread to other containers. Perform a quick ocular once-over, or a more thorough method: pour contents out and inspect them with a flashlight.

If you want to be totally confident in your bug free pantry, freeze potentially-contaminated foods for three to four days. Alternately, cook them for 1-2 hours at 140 degrees.

Then, you’ll want to go scorched-earth on any remaining bugs. Clean your pantry with soap and water, and vacuum it. Avoid materials that may harm your food: pesticides, ammonia, boric acid, or bleach.

Bring In the Pros

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, bugs remain determined. You can take this as a compliment – you have a delicious pantry! On the other hand, you’ll probably need to bring in the big guns.

A pest control company can eliminate the forces invading your pantry, and finally, give you a bug free pantry. Don’t worry about researching and executing the best pantry defense tactics yourself.

Your time is valuable, and you don’t want to waste time when it comes to preventing food waste and spoilage.

bug free pantry--bugs on flour

Environmental Pest Management For Your Bug Free Pantry Needs

Safely secure your pantry by contacting Environmental Pest Management. Environmental Pest Management brings over three decades of pest management experience and a commitment to you and your family’s safety.

Our concern for your home or professional environments extends to our common home, Earth. That means we use non chemical materials to the greatest extent possible to get you back to normal, safely.

Whether you need a bug free pantry, or you are dealing with another pest control issue, Environmental Pest Management can help. Contact us today to discuss your pest control needs, and to determine how our Master Licensed Technicians can assist you.

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