Warm weather is almost here! This is a great time to do a little spring cleaning. A good place to start: your kitchen pantry.
Like most of us here in Georgia, you probably stocked up on food over the last few months. With possible snow days and freezing temperatures, a lot of meals are spent at home. Now that warmer weather is just around the corner, it’s a good idea to go through your pantry, throw out any expired food items, and organize what’s left so it’s not a potential food source for pests.
Pantry pests are often less obvious than other common household pests, like ants, spiders, and roaches. You may not see or notice them until there’s an infestation, or when they leave the food source to fly into other areas of your home. The good news: pantry pests cause no structural damage to your home and pose no real threat to people and pets. And they’re actually a beneficial pest to the environment. Scientists have recently discovered that some pantry moths contain a bacteria that is capable of breaking down polyethylene plastic, which is used to make grocery bags and other common materials that don’t break down in landfills.
The not so good news: pantry pests can penetrate cardboard AND plastic, leaving your food vulnerable to infestations…which translates into wasted, contaminated food and a lot of cleanup. Pantry pests like most types of dried foods, like flour, pasta, cereal, dried fruits, cookies/crackers, spices, dog food…you get the idea.They can chew through most types of unopened packaging or easily get into opened items through unsealed areas. Once a food source is affected, the pests multiply rapidly and will usually spread to other food items if not found and controlled immediately.
How to Prevent Pantry Pests
You can prevent a pantry pest infestation by properly storing food items in tightly sealed containers, preferably which plastic or glass, and labeling them with descriptions and expiration dates. Avoid purchasing large quantities of food that you won’t use within a few weeks. The longer a product sits untouched, the more susceptible to pests. Keep your pantry clean of food debris like spills and crumbs, wipe down shelves and floors regularly, and vacuum corners and crevices.
How to Detect Pantry Pests
You’re most likely to notice pantry pests when they leave the food source and enter other areas of your home. You may see small beetle-like pests on counters or in cabinets, or moths flying in the kitchen or around windows. These may or may not be a type of pantry pest. If you suspect pantry pests, inspect dried foods immediately, throw out anything infested, and do a thorough cleaning of the entire area. It’s recommended to contact a pest control company so the pests can be properly identified. A pest professional will find and eliminate the pantry pests and provide suggestions on how to prevent a reoccurrence in the future.