If you haven’t encountered them before, pantry pests also known as stored product pests are critters such as beetles, weevils and ants that are stowed away in your pantry and cause damaged to your stored food items. As is evident by their name, pantry pests are found in your pantry and cupboards, having snuck in with some of your basic baking ingredients like flour, sugar, nuts, grains and more. It is important to note that although they do not post any serious threat to your health and general well-being, they can be a serious nuisance (and everyone hates nuisances). Especially since the can infest your pantry in a short period of time.
To prevent a full scale pantry invasion, before cooking, you may want to follow these steps,
1. General inspection of the pantry: Take a few minutes to do a quiet inspection of your pantry items and cooking utensils to make sure they are pest free, especially those you intend to use soon like your flour, sugar and spices. Periodic check of your pantry throughout the year wouldn’t hurt, and it will ensure that you do not end up with a major infestation on your hands.
2. Proper storage: It is advisable to conceal and protect your food from lurking pantry pests by sealing them in airtight containers like Tupperware, glass jars or canisters. Sealing your items will also ensure that your supplies remain fresh for as long as possible. That is two for the price of one.
3. Check expiration date: When taking a routine inventory of your pantry supplies, make sure to check the expiration date on each item, and toss out the old stuff and those that have gone bad. Many pantry items are considered nonperishable like flour, however they can still go bad and affect the flavor if kept beyond the expiration date. As the expired items go bad, they are likely to attract pantry pests into your cupboards.
4. Clean out the cupboard: After throwing out the old and expired stuff on the shelves and in the cupboards, check around for old spills and crumbs that are likely to attract pantry insects. Even though they look impeccably clean, a quick wipe with soap and water would remove any tiny hiding bugs that your eyes may have missed.
5. Inspect your foodstuff: Before cooking, it is important to check your foodstuffs for signs of pests. Many pests are known to enter your home through already infested foodstuffs. Therefore, you should do a cursory and thorough check of the packaging of the items in the store for signs of damage before purchasing, not just giving a quick glance at the expiration date. Most pantry pests can tear through thin packaging and access food supplies with easy efficiency and contaminate most baking ingredients like flour, chocolate and dried fruit. Damaged packaging could signify the presence of pests in the product. Failure to properly inspect food items before purchase can result in a full scale pantry pest invasion.
6. Spray the cupboards and shelves with insecticides: Most times, the cleaning of the pantry can’t prevent the attack of pantry pests, no matter how thorough you are. There are always places and spaces that our hand can not reach, and these places can b e great hiding spots for the pests. Thus, it is more advisable to make use of bug spray to ensure that not one of these pests escapes. Before spraying, however, ensure that food items are properly stored and sealed in airtight containers to prevent contamination by the chemicals from the bug spray.
These six steps are effective approaches to ridding your pantry of the infestation of pests. But in the event that you discover an large scale infestation, throw out your food items, using the outside bin to prevent reentry by the pests into the pantry. Then thoroughly clean your pantry, including the cupboards and shelves. If all these precautions do not work, it would be expedient to contact a professional pest control company.