Make Holiday Treats with Love, Not Bugs

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

From old family recipes to new experiments, holiday baking is a favorite tradition for many families. When breaking out the pie plates and cookie cutters, it's important to make sure no unwanted little pastry chefs get into the mix. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) wants consumers to beware of the "pantry pests" that can take the sweetness out of holiday baking if homeowners don't guard against them.

What exactly are pantry pests? They 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 several types of beetles, earwigs, Indian meal moths, pillbugs, stink bugs, silverfish, centipedes, millipedes and house crickets.

"People love making fresh baked treats during the winter and the appearance of even a single pest could put a damper on that tradition," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. "Taking some relatively simple steps and preventative measures against pantry pests can make all the difference in making sure families enjoy their holiday baking all season long."

How can consumers prevent these unwanted guests from crashing their holiday cookie exchanges and baking marathons? The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) suggests the following tips:

  • 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.
  • If you suspect a pest infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect, identify and treat the problem.

For more information or to find a pest professional visit: www.pestworld.org.

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property.

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