There are many pests in Oklahoma City that can find their way into your home and get into your stored foods, but there are certain pests that can already be in your food when you purchase food items from the grocery store. These are called pantry pests or stored-product pests. A pantry pest lays its eggs in the food we eat, and while food growers, processors, shippers and sellers do their best to prevent these insects from doing this, sometimes pantry pests find a way. So the first thing you should know about pantry pests is that you have to do more to keep them out of your food than you would for other pests.
How To Keep All Pests Out Of Your Food
If you'd prefer to not have pests in your food, and we're pretty sure you do, there are a few preventative measures you can take. These measures will keep all pests out—not just pantry pests.
Seal any entry points in your exterior. Make sure there are no openings around exterior doors. Use a caulking gun to apply a seal around window and door frames and seal cracks in your foundation. Repair screens and make sure screen frames don't have gaps around them.
Keep your home clean. This has a big impact on pests. It removes food options that attract pests into your home. It makes it more difficult for pests to live in your home. But what it does most is helps to remove eggs and larvae from cracks, gaps, recesses, and other hiding places. Be sure to vacuum these places thoroughly and clean shelves and cupboards.
Store your food in sealed containers. These containers keep your food fresh longer, seal in smells that attract pests, and keep pests from getting into your food.
How To Manage Food And Guard Against Pantry Pests
If a pantry pest has gotten into your home from the outside, the tips given above are likely to solve your problem, but only one of the tips above will help you address pantry pests that try to get into your home from a grocery store. Insects like the cigarette beetle, Indian meal moth, saw-toothed beetle, and many others, can infiltrate food packages before they enter your home. The only way to keep from accidentally eating these pests is to manage your food properly. The first (and most important) step is to put your stored foods in sealed containers. Here are a few ways this will help you to keep pantry pests out of your dinner plans:
When you return from the store and pour an item into your containers, you'll be able to examine the food as it is transferred. If there are pantry pests in your food, you may be able to detect webbing, larvae, or adult insects crawling around inside.
The eggs of pantry pests can be too small to see, or they can be inside the food. These eggs aren't harmful to you and they don't alter the flavor of your foods when you cook them. The problem is when the eggs hatch, you'll start to find bugs in your food. While still not harmful to you, it's really gross. Containers allow you to see larvae or insect movement in your foods through the sides of the containers.
The larvae of many pantry pests are able to chew through cardboard and paper packaging. This allows them to spread through the foods stored in your cupboards. Thick plastic or glass containers will prevent this from happening.
It is easy to deal with a pantry infestation when you store your pantry foods in sealed containers. You dispose of the contaminated food outside, clean the containers, and move on with your day. You don't have to be concerned about those pests being in other food packages or be worried about them hiding inside cracks, gaps and recess in your home.
If you decide that you don't want to invest in containers for your foods, there are ways to manage food that will help you reduce the risk of a pantry pest infestation.
Examine food packages at the store and don't buy anything that is damaged.
Examine due dates at the store. Don't purchase items that are past their due dates.
When you store products in your home, put new items to the back and old items to the front.
Consider clearly marking the due date on your foods using a black magic marker. This will help you to notice items that go past their due dates.
Routinely inspect your stored foods and throw items out that are past due.
When Professional Control Is Needed
If pantry pests have spread through your foods or found a place to reproduce outside of your stored food packages, it is time to contact a licensed professional. If you live in Oklahoma City, reach out to Guaranteed Pest Service of Oklahoma for assistance. We provide industry-leading pest control service to Oklahoma City residents. We can guide you toward the right solution.