Your pantries are always fully stocked with delicious food, although lately, you’ve found something unwanted in there, pests. Insects and other critters have somehow invaded your kitchen pantry. You have no idea how they got there, but you’ve got to get them out. How can you prevent pests in your kitchen pantry?
- Start cleaning your pantry more often
- Never put opened, unsealed, or unclipped food in the pantries
- Use airtight storage containers for food
- Clean up spills and messes as they happen
- Add a few bay leaves to the pantry
Which Pests Might You Find in Your Pantry?
Kitchen pantries are dark, room-temperature environments full of endless (well, to a bug) supplies of food. If you were an insect, you’d be in heaven.
The fruit fly earned its name because of its preference for decaying vegetables and fruits. This microscopic insect loves other sources of sugar as well. They’re also great at hiding. Fruit flies can sneak into your egg cartons or your grocery bags, where they’ll get in your house and reproduce, making your life harder.
If the sight of a cockroach sends a shiver down your spine, then get to checking your pantries stat. Cockroaches will attach to boxes or bags or even crawl in through the drain or sewer. Then voila, they’re in your home, where they’ll hang around your wooden custom pantries.
Merchant Grain Beetles
Unlike the fruit fly, which does indeed enjoy fruit, the merchant grain beetle doesn’t care much for grains. They will however, happily eat any chocolate, cookies, macaroni, cake mix, or cereal you happen to have stored in your pantry.
You may have never heard of a flour beetle, but you’ll want to familiarize yourself with it quickly. These beetles are very tiny, under five millimeters apiece. They have a brownish-red hue and love to eat pet food, cereal, and flour. Due to their size and color, it’s nearly impossible to detect them in anything but flour, especially if they start burrowing.
Wheat weevils, granary weevils, grain weevils, whatever you want to call them, they’re a nuisance. These pantry pests live for seeds, beans, and whole grains. They’ll burst through your plastic and paper packaging due to their lengthy noses.
Indian Meal Moths
If you do have a problem with pantry pests, more than likely it’s the Indian meal moth’s fault. These insects don’t discriminate much about what they’ll eat. Their wide appetite encompasses processed foods, cereals, nuts, dried fruits, and grains.
Another common culprit in many a kitchen is the humble ant. Ants can get in through your windows and door seals, and they tend to bring a lot of their friends with them. Once that happens, more and more ants can accumulate, making them hard to get rid of without an exterminator.
How to Get Pests Out of Your Custom Pantries
Keep Your Pantries Clean
If you’re like most homeowners, you leave your custom pantries closed unless you’re using them, right? In the meantime, critters can get in there, reproduce, and cause quite a significant problem. At least every few months, you want to open your pantries wide, take out everything in there, and clean the shelves from top to bottom.
Don’t Leave Open Food in Your Pantries
You’re always very cautious about which foods go in the pantry, but perhaps your spouse or kids aren’t. They leave open containers without clips, which is just inviting bugs to come in and invade your kitchen.
Upgrade to Airtight Containers
What’s an even safer option is switching to glass, plastic, or metal containers with airtight lids. Remember, grain weevils can break your food packaging, so even if the top of the bag is clipped, if the weevil gets in through the bottom, then it doesn’t matter.
Clean up Messes Right Away
This is an obvious tip, but it’s one worth mentioning anyway. If you or another member of the family happens to spill something (and hey, it happens), these messes cannot be left to sit. Sure, the insect species on the list above will hide in your pantry, but they don’t have to live there exclusively.
Use Bay Leaves
You can also try the bay leaf trick. Bay leaves are sizable leaves, with an aromatic flavor that makes them perfect for cooking garnishes. You can place a whole fresh leaf or add a few sprinkles of dried bay leaves to your custom pantry shelves.
In your kitchen pantries right now could live a multitude of pests. From ants to Indian meal moths, flour beetles, grain weevils, and more, these bugs will vigorously eat whatever are in your pantries. Sometimes you don’t even notice them until their numbers are huge.