Have you noticed your cereal box racing toward empty at a mysteriously rapid rate? Don’t automatically blame your little brother—it may not be his fault (or it may). But it may be a culprit of a different sort that is “bugging” you. Continue reading to learn how to get rid of ants and other pests that might be invading your pantry.
Pantry pests come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and species, but they all share a key trait: a voracious appetite and a love for all foods you love, especially flour, grains, pasta, rice, and breakfast cereal.
Pests commonly inhabiting or frequenting your pantry could include any of the following:
And this is only a partial list.
Remember that there is much more at stake than the loss of your food products. Certain species of ants, for example, can trigger asthma and allergies, while carpenter ants will dig cozy little burrows into the sides of your wooden pantry walls, conveniently close to “their” food supply.
And unless you get rid of ants and other pantry pests, they can spread germs and disease by munching on your food before you do. You may discover too late that they have been at it.
What’s more, many pests will bite, sting, and gnaw on kitchen wiring, or, in the case of certain common species of house spiders, jump up suddenly and scare you as you open your pantry door.
Getting Rid of Pantry Pests
Once you spot a pest or two on a counter or floor, near a window not far from your pantry, or in the pantry itself, you may suspect an infestation. A quick check in the nooks and crannies in your pantry’s corners, floors, walls, and shelving may confirm that suspicion, or confirmation may come when you pour out your morning bowl of cereal.
You will need to take drastic action to eliminate the pests that have taken up residence in your pantry. All food must be removed and carefully inspected. Anything already open and that bugs could possibly get into should be tossed.
Vacuum thoroughly and then wash down every square inch of your pantry space. Use soapy water or a water-vinegar solution to help ensure all eggs left by eradicated pests are destroyed along with them.
Caulk or otherwise seal all openings where insects, spiders, and other pests may enter or hide.
Preventing a Resurgence
There is no surefire way to keep all potential pests out of your pantry. They can ride in on new food items, having gotten in at the grocery store or the manufacturing plant, or they can just wander in.
But you can minimize the chances of an infestation, and you can prevent pests from eating your food. First, keep the kitchen and pantry clean at all times. Crumbs and food stains invite these unwelcome guests.
Second, don’t open packaged food and leave it open. Store it in a sealed container, typically a plastic or glass container with a tight-fitting lid.
Third, seal all gaps through which a pest might enter. And to get rid of ants (and stay rid of them), don’t stack firewood against your house and cut back any plants that are touching your exterior walls.
Contact Pest Management
When all of your efforts to get rid of ants, moths, weevils, and other pantry pests fail, it’s time to call in help from pest management professionals.