As I have mentioned before, I live in Florida. We have LOTS of bugs in Florida. And they love our homes, especially all the food in our pantries. So, here is how to keep your pantry bug-free.
For a while, I had a terrible time with little beetles that would get into my pasta boxes. Being a good librarian, I researched them in our state extension office’s articles and discovered they are flour beetles and very common. It was so frustrating to open a box for the first time and see those guys in there, munching away. Ugh!
Here is what they look like (but not this big, thankfully!):
We’ve also found moths in our bags of flour and birdseed. These are grain moths. (They are smaller than this picture, too.)
To keep your pantry bug-free, you need to be a detective and be ruthless.
That means, when you find ONE bug or moth, taking EVERYTHING out of your pantry. I opened every box of pasta, instant potatoes, rice and baking mixes. In some of the boxes it was easy to spot the bugs. In others, like flour, cake mixes, brown rice, and oatmeal, they blended in. Gross, I know. So, my hubby and I dumped those out one at a time into large glass mixing bowls. It made it much easier to see all of the contents and spot any bugs.
My secret weapons to keep your pantry bug-free?
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I threw away all the boxes that were buggy, and put the contents of each remaining box in a Zip-loc bag and put the bag right back in the box, so I would still have the cooking directions and nutrition info. I store my bag of white rice and bag of brown rice in a large sealed Zip-loc bag. Here’s a link to a multi-pack of Zip-loc bags on Amazon.
Here are some examples from my pantry:
Plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.
Get some clear plastic cereal containers.
We store our bagged cereal in cereal containers now. This not only keeps the bugs out, but it makes it much easier to pour and keeps the cereal from getting stale. We find that those large bags of cereal always seem to have terrible zip-top closures, especially for kids to do.
Pick up some plastic canisters with screw-on lids.
We even store our fruit chews and granola bars in plastic canisters.
Finally, get a large plastic storage tub.
I have a large Sterilite container that sits on the floor of my pantry. I keep a lot of my boxes of pasta and baking mixes in this bin. It keeps them fresh and keeps the bugs out, and that way I don’t have to bag EVERY box that is in my pantry.
Don’t forget your animals’ food.
We usually get a 20 lb. bag of bird seed, and I do the same with it. I pour the seed into gallon-size Zip-loc bags and store those on my porch. They stay bug-free, and it is a whole lot easier to fill the bird feeder from a gallon-size bag than it is from a 20 lb. bag!
We store our cat food and dog food in large sealable canisters, too. Again, it keeps it fresher longer and bug-free. And, since we buy BIG bags of cat and dog food, it really does make it easier to pour or scoop it into their bowls from a smaller container.
As I mentioned earlier, we also had a problem with the moths in the birdseed bag on our porch. Here is how we keep critters out of it now.
Seems like a lot of work to you?
Well, it kind of is, but not really. It just becomes a habit to pour that cereal into its own container or store the pasta boxes in the plastic tub. But, it is worth the small amount of time it takes when unloading groceries to do this. Because when we were invaded, I had to throw out A LOT of food from my pantry, both opened and unopened. I am happy to say we have had a bug-free pantry for well over a year now. Once you have purchased enough Zip-loc bags and plastic canisters (which are very cheap at places like Wal-Mart or Amazon) they can be easily reused to store the same type of item. So once your bag of rice is empty, you just pour the new box in the same Zip-loc bag, for example, and it’s ready to go. Very simple.
You might also find this recent post I did on how to keep your pantry organized and keep it that way helpful, too.
So, if you have found some uninvited pests in your pantry, I hope you, too, try these ways keep your pantry bug-free! It worked for us!
Do you have other ways to keep pests out of your food? What kind of bugs do you have in your neck of the woods?
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