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How To Keep Pests Out Of Your Holiday Baking

plate of cookies

Many people are spending more time in the kitchen baking for family dinners, friends, or work parties or making treats to be given as holiday gifts.  Remember to double-check your ingredients to make sure they are fresh and pest-free.  The most common way that dry goods are contaminated is by stored product pests, or pantry pests as they are commonly referred to.  Pantry pests are insects that use foods like cereal, flour, chocolate, and dried fruit as food and breeding sources.  There are many species of pantry pests such as flour beetles and bean weevils, but the most common species that people encounter are Indian meal moths.  They reproduce quickly, and unless you are aware of them, they are usually not discovered until there is a large infestation present in your home.  

To identify a problem with pantry pests, you first need to know what to look for in your home, especially the kitchen.  Pantry pests usually develop in 4 stages (egg, larvae, pupa, and the adults) and you will most likely be able to see several of these stages if you have an infestation.  The larvae stage is what you will find in your flour or other dry goods; this is the most destructive stage because they can chew their way through boxes and cartons contaminating a lot of food in a relatively short period without being noticed.  It is once the larvae turn into adult moths or beetles that homeowners generally become aware that they are having an issue with a pantry pest; adult moths or beetles can be found on counters, in cabinets, drawers, and flying throughout your home.   

Pantry pests are commonly introduced into your home from items bought at grocery stores.  You may unknowingly bring home a damaged box from the store, or bring home products that look fine from the outside but were contaminated in the processing or packaging plant.  Because of this, before purchasing dry goods, you should always inspect the box or packaging and make sure that there are no openings or holes present.  Always check your flour, grains, or cereal before using them for baking, you may be able to see the larvae themselves or webbing they trail behind them as they move throughout your ingredient. 

Pantry pests are normally easy to eliminate by discarding the infested source and storing remaining dry goods in airtight containers.  If you find that you have a very large infestation or are just unable to find the exact infestation source, calling a home pest control company for professional help may be a good idea.  Professional technicians will be able to come in and quickly eliminate your pantry pest problem and help you prevent future infestations to keep your holiday baking pest-free!

If you are worried about Indian meal moths and other pantry pests this holiday season, please contact us today.  For more information or to find out how we can help you get rid of pests including food-infesting insects, mice, and other household pests.  In business since 1946, Action offers quality pest control services in Evansville, IN, Terre Haute, IN, Louisville, KY, and throughout Indiana, Kentucky, and parts of Illinois.