Preventing Pests in the PantryMissy Henriksen
- National Pest Management Association
Monday, January 14, 2013
I used to think pictures of organized pantries were only
circulated to make overly busy moms feel inferior or jealous.
Now that I know pests come into our home searching for food, water,
and shelter, I now understand organized pantries with contained
food are more than just impressive works of art – they serve an
essential role in removing pest buffet opportunities!
Some of the most common pests we see invading our pantries and
cabinets are those that are identified as pantry pests, most
notably Indian meal moths and Merchant
Grain Beetles and rodents, especially mice. Most of us shudder at the
thoughts of pests being in our kitchen, but their presence near our
food is more than just a troubling thought. Pantry pests can
food products. Mice can spread Salmonella and
Hantavirus. They can also carry fleas and lice into our homes. Yuck!
Like with most things in life, prevention is key! A few easy
proactive steps you can you can take to make your food storage
areas less attractive to pests:
- Add a bay leaf to canisters and packages of dry goods like
flour, rice and other grains- their pungent scent repels many
- Only purchase food in sealed packages that show no sign of
- Store food in airtight containers.
This step sounds good but undoubtedly gets put aside by many to
do later. Typical reasons for procrastination surface.
"I don’t know how." "I will do it later." "I am waiting for a
coupon for the right containers."
Wipe away those excuses. You can get most of the plastic
boxes you need right at the grocery store – extra errand not
required. Or, if you have a little time to look around, you
can also have good luck finding these products at yard sales and
Buy plastic or metal containers in a variety of sizes.
Think about what you keep in your cabinets or pantry that will need
to be moved into more permanent containers so you can buy
appropriate sizes: Cereal, snacks, dog food, sugar, flour,
etc. For example, I store cereal in plastic containers that
will allow the cereal to pour right from the top, making it nice
and easy to use.
Organizing your pantry or cabinets is a once and done
project. Sure, it will take maintenance as your food items
change, but purchasing the items and getting your system in place
will take the most of the time at the beginning. Once you
start the process, you will find that it’s amazingly easy to
Not only will you want to include a tour of your impressive
pantry to visiting friends but you will take great satisfaction in
knowing about the layer of pest protection you are providing for
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