Even the smallest infestation of bugs in your pantry can spell disaster for the health and safety of your food – not to mention your family. After all, no one likes to see good food go to waste, nor do they want to discover bugs in their food while eating.
Unfortunately, the pantry is a very attractive place for creepy crawlies to set up residence – especially during those humid summers here in Charlotte, NC.
Thankfully, there are several steps you can take when storing your food to keep these critters away. Keep reading to find out how.
1. Use Airtight Containers
Many pantry staples, such as flour, cereals, and sugar, are often purchased in paper packaging from the supermarket. This material does little to prevent pests from invading, especially since they can chew through paper. Plus, it doesn’t keep the product entirely airtight.
When shopping, try to purchase items already in airtight packagings, such as jars or resealable plastic pouches. Additionally, place any pantry items that aren’t already in airtight packaging into sealable containers. Ensure the lid is on securely to prevent even the tiniest of bugs (like ants) from crawling inside.
2. Clean Spills and Crumbs Immediately
When moving food into or out of your pantry, it’s inevitable that there will be some spillage from time to time – even if it’s just a crumb or two. While it can be tempting to simply clean it up later, these crumbs or spills can be a huge attraction for bugs.
Therefore, wipe down your pantry jars or containers after each use to ensure no tasty debris has settled on them. Additionally, keep an eye out for any spills or crumbs and wipe them up immediately to further deter those creepy crawlies.
3. Reconsider What You’re Storing in Your Pantry
It’s not uncommon for people to store their fruit within their pantry, but it might be time to reconsider this. You see, fruit is one of the biggest temptations to bugs – especially once it begins to break down and ferment. This is particularly true for fruit flies, who can present a serious problem to your home due to the rapid rate at which they reproduce.
Instead, consider storing fruit and other perishable items in your refrigerator, where the cold and airtight nature of this location will immediately prevent bugs from accessing them. Besides, placing fruit in the refrigerator can keep it fresher for longer, particularly once the mercury outside begins to rise.
4. Discard Spoiled Food
Although your pantry is home to many non-perishable goods, you’ll want to pay regular attention to your perishable goods – in other words, those with use-by dates.
Not only can eating expired food make you or your family sick, but it also attracts pests in hoards due to the stronger odor it gives off.
5. Scatter Some Bay Leaves
Did you know bay leaves act as a natural deterrent to pantry pests? Many of us have bay leaves at home to add extra flavor and aroma to our cooking, so why not scatter some around your pantry too?
Ants, fleas, flies, cockroaches, and moths particularly hate the bitter smell of bay leaves. For us humans, however, bay leaves are a completely safe, non-toxic, and natural solution for keeping pantry bugs away.