As the holiday season ramps up, families will soon be spending more time in the kitchen. Cooking turkey dinners and baking pumpkin pies are popular traditions this time of year. However, we want to remind everyone to check their cabinets and seldom-used ingredients for pantry bugs that can become a hassle during this joyous time of year.

Pantry Pests 101

Indian Meal Moth identification in Sevierville TN - Johnson Pest Control
Indian Meal Moth

Merchant grain beetles and Indian meal moths are among the most common pantry pests found in kitchens. Theses pests contaminate stored ingredients that are typically used to bake delicious holiday treats, such as flour, dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate.

Pantry bugs don’t pose serious health or property threats, however, they can infest an area in a short amount of time. One of the easiest ways to prevent an infestation is to routinely clean out pantries and cabinets, and sift through common stored products like flour and spices.

How to Prevent Pantry Pests

The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recommends some additional tips to keep pantries pest-free* during the busy holiday baking season:

  1. Store food in plastic or glass containers with secure lids.
  2. Add a bay leaf to canisters of dry goods. The herb’s pungent scent repels many pantry pests.
  3. When grocery shopping, carefully inspect food products in cardboard packages for signs of damage prior to placing it in your cart.
  4. Only purchase items that show no sign of damage.
  5. Check expiration dates on baking ingredients before use.
  6. Keep kitchen counters, floors, and sinks clean because crumbs and spills quickly attract pests.
  7. Dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles.
  8. Seal cracks or holes around the stovepipes and water pipes.
  9. Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains.

If you discover any pests in your pantry, thoroughly clean the shelves with a vacuum, and discard the infested food in an outdoor trash bin. If you discover an infestation, it is important to consult a licensed pest professional.


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