As people dig through their pantries in search of ingredients to bake pumpkin pie and cookies for the holidays, A1 Exterminators, a local pest control company, encourages them to keep their eyes peeled for insects that could be hiding in the bag of flour, chocolate or spices. These insects are known as stored product pests or pantry pests due to their tendency to gather around food products stored in pantries and cabinets.
“It’s not uncommon for homeowners to encounter merchant grain beetles, Indian meal moths, flour beetles and other stored product pests this time of year as holiday baking is in full swing,” said Company Gary Weisberg, Owner, A1 Exterminators. “These insects are often brought into the home unknowingly in items stored in paper packaging and unsealed bags. For this reason, it’s important to inspect all items for signs of damage before bringing them indoors.”
The National Pest Management Association and A1 Exterminators recommends the following tips to keep from bringing pantry pests home for the holidays.
- Seal items: Proper food storage can go a long way in preventing an infestation. Once packages are opened, move ingredients into sealed glass or Tupperware-type containers with secure lids before storing them in the pantry or cabinet.
- Check dates: Remember to check expiration dates on ingredients before use. Periodically sort through old items in the pantry and toss out anything that has been stored for a long time.
- Clean often: Immediately wipe up any crumbs or spills from countertops, tables, floors and shelves. Occasionally empty the cupboards and clean them with soap and water to get rid of residue and anything that may be hiding inside.
“If you spot a pantry pest in your food, immediately dispose of it in a sealed trashcan. A licensed pest control professional should be called in for assistance in eliminating a full-blown infestation,” added Weisberg.