It feels as if it happens overnight: One minute, you have a clean and tidy kitchen and pantry; the next, you’re swatting at moths and looking for weevils in your dry goods. Even in the most airtight, crumb-free pantry, pests will find their way in, because these areas have everything they need — warmth, access to water and, most importantly, food.
Here is a short list of the best ways to keep bugs out of your pantry and kitchen:
- Use airtight containers
- Get rid of open packaging
- Maintain a clean environment
- Avoid buying in bulk
- Use bay leaves and other seasonings and spices as natural repellants
At Home Pros is an excellent way to connect with local pest control experts. Before expanding on each step of the process, you need to know what you’re dealing with. When it comes to insects, knowing your enemy is critical to getting rid of them. Here’s an overview of some of the most common insects you’ll find in and around your kitchen and pantry.
Common insect invaders
On the list of the most common pantry pests are ants, grain weevils, Indian meal moths, flour beetles, merchant grain beetles, cockroaches and fruit flies.
- Ants: One of the most common kitchen pests, ants come in through your windows and doors and live in big groups. If you see one ant, there’s liable to be many more. Infestations happen quickly and can be hard to control. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself using At Home Pro’s digital services to find a high-quality local exterminator as ants are difficult pests to get rid of.
- Grain weevils: These insects are also called wheat or granary weevils. They generally don’t eat processed foods, but instead opt for whole grains, seeds and beans. Small, reddish-brown, with an elongated snout, these little bugs can chew right through cardboard or plastic, which is why you want to store products in airtight containers.
- Indian meal moths: You can recognize these common flying pests by their reddish brown forewings and the copper luster to their wings. Indian meal moths feast on grain, grain cereals, dried fruits, nuts and processed, starchy products. They really love flour, so if you have moths, you should double check the airtight packaging of this product.
- Flour beetles: As their name implies, flour beetles also really love flour. According to the experts, there are two main types of beetles that are attracted to dry goods: red flour beetles and confused flour beetles, but it’s very hard to tell the difference and the treatment is the same. They are small (5 mm long), and like to eat cereal, flour and dry pet food, which can cause these products to discolor and have an unpleasant odor.
- Merchant grain beetles: Unlike flour beetles, merchant grain beetles like cake mixes, cookies, chocolate, pasta and crackers. These bugs measure about one-eighth of an inch long and have serrated teeth on either side of their bodies.
- Cockroaches: These well-known bugs are one of the most difficult to get rid of. These expert hitchhikers gain access into their chosen habitats by catching a ride on cardboard boxes, furniture and other items brought in and out of buildings, which is why they’re such a nuisance for apartment dwellers. These nocturnal bugs will then travel throughout buildings along the water and electrical lines, and they love to hang out on wood.
- Fruit flies: These tiny flying pests adore rotting fruit and decaying matter, and are attracted to the aromas given off of yellowing bananas and other common foods.
Once you have a good idea which type of pantry pest you’re dealing with, then you will have a better idea where to focus your attention. When you’ve made an ID of your invading pest, you can make a targeted response.
Solutions to common kitchen and pantry pests
Once you know what you’re dealing with, you can take steps to protect your home. The best thing you can do to make sure your kitchen and pantry are bug-free is to contact At Home Pros and hire a trusted pest control specialist in your area, especially if you have more troublesome pests like ants or termites.
There are a few things you can do on your own to make your house — and more importantly, your kitchen and pantry — less attractive to pests like cockroaches, flour beetles and moths.
- Ants: To get rid of these pests, you need to make sure that all of your dry goods are in airtight, sealed containers. You can also put salt, pepper, and bay leaves at suspected entry points.
- Grain weevils: Washing your produce properly and thoroughly and placing bags of black pepper at key points are two great ways to deter grain weevils.
- Indian meal moths: These tiny flying creatures are small enough to fit through the holes in mesh or the gaps in a plastic bag. You need to store your flour properly in airtight containers to deter the moths.
- Flour beetles: Ditch the paper packaging that flour comes in. Instead, store this powdery substance in glass containers or sealed plastic bins.
- Merchant grain beetles: Bay leaves go a long way in keeping these bugs at bay (pun intended). Keep a bay leaf in each airtight container of dry goods and the pungent aroma of bay keeps merchant grain beetles out of your kitchen and pantry.
- Cockroaches: If you see cockroaches in a cupboard, immediately empty that cupboard of food and clean it thoroughly. If one is caught out in the open, you may have to make a clean sweep of all your cupboards.
- Fruit flies: Some of the materials that make great DIY fruit fly traps are vinegar, salt, pepper and wine. Put some of these in a mason jar, cover with plastic wrap and a rubber band, poke holes in the top, and you will have made a fine fruit fly trap.
If the infestation is too much for a thorough cleaning, airtight containers, and some well-placed bay leaves, you should contact a professional pest control service as soon as possible. At Home Pros is an ideal solution to all your pest problems. Our experts can connect you with local, licensed professionals right away, so you can get as many (or as few) quotes as you like. Then, you can look forward to a pest-free home.