When the weather turns colder and the holiday season approaches, many opt to stay indoors and bake treats for friends and family. When digging through your cabinets and storage for baking necessities, like cookie cutters and containers of flour, make sure you are leaving unwanted “pantry pests” out of the mix. The National Pest Management Association offers consumers tips for keeping these pesky pests from spoiling your holiday baking traditions.
“Pantry pests” are insects that tend to gather around food often stored in pantries and cabinets such as flour, dry cereals, spices, candies and chocolate. Common pantry pests include Indian meal moths and Merchant Grain Beetles.
“Many families enjoy baking during the holiday season, and spotting a pest in your ingredients or supplies is a surefire way to ruin the fun,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “By following a few helpful tips, homeowners can feel comfortable in their kitchens and safe when enjoying their fresh baked treats.”
The National Pest Management Association suggests the following steps to avoid pantry pests:
- Immediately wipe up any crumbs or spills from countertops, tables, floors and shelves.
- Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles.
- Only purchase food in sealed packages that show no sign of damage.
- Add a bay leaf to canisters and packages of dry goods like flour, rice and other grains- their pungent scent repels many pantry pests.
- Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair damaged screens.
- Check expiration dates on baking ingredients before use.
- Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains.