Top Tips for Pest-Free Holiday BakingDr. Jim Fredericks
Friday, December 13, 2013
How to Keep Your Food Safe From Wandering Pests
It seems as though everyone brings out the flour and cookie
sheets around the holidays. The smell of sweets wafting from the
kitchen can put the whole family in the holiday spirit, but not
having proper storage for food can bring festivities to a halt.
Improperly stored food can attract pests, and if left unchecked, a
small problem could turn into an infestation.
There are many types of pests that could be attracted to a
leaking bag of sugar in the pantry such as mice, ants, cockroaches, Indian meal
moths and merchant grain beetles. Some of
these pests are fairly harmless but can spoil food and cut short
any plans to bake a batch of cookies. Others, like mice and
cockroaches are known to carry diseases and be a trigger for asthma
The best way to keep your food safe, fresh and ready to eat is
to incorporate a few simple habits into your routine when dealing
Inspect the food: Pests
have creative ways of getting inside our homes. Many hitchhike in
or on grocery bags that have been placed in the car or on the
ground during transport. Inspecting bags before bringing groceries
inside can save food from getting spoiled later. It is also a good
idea to look over the packaging of all items before even purchasing
them at the store. If a package is opened or shows the slightest
sign of damage, do not purchase it. For products already in the
home, sift through ingredients and boxes to ensure they remained
pest-free while in storage.
Purchase proper storage:
Purchasing sturdy Tupperware-type containers with secure lids will
be a good investment for your stored food. These will not only keep
your pantry organized, but it will also protect your food from
pantry pests and even small rodents that may be looking for an
extra meal. Anything made of plastic or glass works well, as long
as it comes with a tight-fitting lid.
Check the date: Certain
baking ingredients such as brown sugar or baking soda might not get
used during the rest of the year. A lot of these goods will last a
while, but it is good practice to toss any food that is past the
expiration date printed on its label. Make a habit of periodically
sorting through old items in the pantry and toss out anything that
has expired or been left open for a long time.
Practice good sanitation:
Do not let spills sit for a long period of time. Immediately wipe
up any crumbs or spills from countertops, tables, floors and
shelves, and dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles.
Also, consider periodically emptying the cupboards and cleaning
them with soap and water to get rid of any bugs that may be hiding
While the holiday season is a big time for cooking and baking,
these tips can help keep your food safe from pests all year round.
Preventing pests is ideal, but if you suspect you have a pest
infestation, contact a pest
professional right away. For more tips on preventing pantry
pests from ruining your baking fun, watch this short
Pest 101 video.