We all know the feeling. You open your packet of flour simply to discover that it’s been invaded by a bunch of pantry bugs! And there’s good reason why they’re there. Your pantry is basically an all-you-can-eat buffet for creepy-crawlies. Why look for food outside, when they can eat abundantly in the safety of your pantry? Fortunately, there are a few preventative measures you can take to avoid these little invaders.
While pantry bugs don’t necessarily pose a health risk, they are a big nuisance. Any time you need to throw away packets of food (such as infested flour or grains), you’re throwing away money. With a few useful tips, you can prevent infestation and keep your food safe from creepy-crawlies!
What Bugs Should I Look Out For?
One of the most common bugs, is the Indianmeal moth (also known as the pantry moth). You will know you have these in your pantry if you see any of the following: small white worms, webbing in the food, fecal droppings, and old bug skins. Foods stored in airtight glass jars are safe, but if you store flour or grains in thin or open packages, it’s only a matter of time before an infestation occurs. Even if the plastic packaging looks sealed, check for small holes – these are also a tell-tale sign of a pantry moth infestation. Whenever you open a new pack of flour or grain, decant it in an airtight container and don’t leave it in its unsealed original packaging.
Flour bugs occur in flour – hence the name. The most common ones are the confused flour beetle and the red flour beetle. Infestation usually occurs when the mother lays eggs in or near the flour. She does this because once the eggs hatch into larvae, they have immediate access to food! Interestingly, even the flour you buy in store could contain these eggs. So to prevent these eggs from hatching, make sure you freeze the pack of flour for at least a week after purchase.
How To Keep Your Pantry Clean from Future Infestations
Before you focus on prevention, you should first make sure that your pantry is actually clean! Take out all your food, looking for open or damaged packets. If you see any bugs, discard the item. Give your shelves a good vacuum and wipe them down.
Make sure that all the containers you use are airtight. Opt for thick plastic, glass, or metal containers. If you don’t immediately have access to airtight containers, you can store flour and grains in the freezer.
Clean your pantry on a regular basis, making sure to wipe any crumbs or spilled food immediately.