Prevent Summer Pantry Pests
As we enter the season of warmth and fun in the sun, we are also welcoming a whole host of insects and pests that can take over our cupboards and pantries. Mostly, these pests - usually moths or flour beetles - enter the home on paper packaging in their larval or grub stage and are very small. These insects feed on grains, nuts, dried fruits and other dried plants, including dried flowers and seasonal plant displays like dried corn.
What They Eat and Where They Live
The larvae and some adults of these insects feed on grains (rice, barley, corn, wheat, birdseed), grain products (oatmeal, cornmeal, pasta, cereals, flour, cake mixes, pancake flour, granola, dry pet food), nuts, dried fruits and other dried plant material (dried flower arrangements, ornamental corn, seed displays).
Paper packaging can be a big source of infestation, particularly on bags of pet food and birdseed. These items should be stored, where possible, in a garage or shed. It's best if they are stored in a tightly lidded plastic storage container that is cleaned regularly. For foodstuffs that come in paper, such as flour or sugar, store the items in the freezer for a few days where possible, to kill any small pantry pests. You can also store these items in separate plastic or glass containers, but take care not to mix old and new products and clean and dry each container well before refilling.
Get Rid of Nasty Pantry Pest Infestation
- Buy pantry pest traps for moths and set up one in each room. These attract moths with the use of pheromones, and only one per room is needed. More than one pantry pest trap will confuse the moth, rendering the panty pest trap useless.
- Place a 3-1 mix of boric acid and cornmeal in shallow dishes inside cabinets to kill off moths and other pests. Do not let this mix come in contact with open food containers, kids or pets.
- Regularly clean cabinets with a vacuum and wash down with a liberal vinegar rinse to reach all the crevices and small areas of the cabinets.
Prevent (Re)infestation of Your Pantry
- Soak cotton balls with eucalyptus essential oil to prevent a reinfestation of moths. The oil not only smells nice, but it will also keep the pantry pests at bay.
- Avoid storing dried foodstuffs for long periods of time, as they can attract new infestations of moths and beetles. Once there is any sign of trouble, such as silky webbing or small moths in the area, get rid of any possible source of the problem and clean the area rigorously.
Pantry pests are an unfortunately common aspect of warm weather living; however, they can be completely eliminated by taking the few simple steps listed above and by keeping a sharp eye out for any potential problem areas.
Updated September 20, 2018.
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