Prevent Beetles and Moths From Spoiling Holiday Cheer

The National Pest Management Association offers tips to keep baking supplies free from pantry pests


FAIRFAX Va. - Over the next few weeks, families and friends will be gathering in kitchens to prepare delicious holiday feasts. As people dig out the baking supplies, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) advises them to be on the lookout for pantry pests, including merchant grain beetles, Indian meal moths and others that could have taken up residence in the kitchen pantry.

"During the holidays, some of the fondest memories can be made while cooking turkey dinners and baking cookies in the kitchen," said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. "However, nothing can tarnish a fun baking party like coming across bugs in a bag of flour. Two of the easiest ways to prevent pantry pest infestations are to practice proper food storage and good sanitation."

Pantry pests are able to tear through flimsy packaging and settle right into food supplies, and can contaminate common baking ingredients, such as flour, chocolate, dried fruit and nuts. To keep pantry pests out, NPMA experts suggest the following tips:

  • Keep counters, floors, pantry shelves, cabinets and sinks clean, as crumbs and spills are obvious pest attractants.
  • Add a bay leaf to canisters of dry goods. The herb's pungent scent repels many pantry pests.
  • Only purchase food in sealed packages that show no sign of damage.
  • Once packages are opened, move ingredients into sealed glass or Tupperware-type containers with secure lids before storing them in the pantry or cabinet.
  • Check expiration dates on baking ingredients before use and visually inspect previously opened items before adding them to a recipe.
  • Dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles.
  • Seal cracks or holes around the stovepipes and water pipes.
  • Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains.
  • Consult a licensed pest professional if an infestation has already taken root.

For more information on pantry pests or to find a licensed pest professional, visit

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. For more information, visit