It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner! In the coming weeks, Americans will be flocking to their local supermarkets to prepare for their holiday feasts. Before heading to the store, we recommend for everyone to conduct a thorough inventory of their pantries and cupboards – not just to see what ingredients they have on hand for their holiday meals, but to also inspect for uninvited guests: Indian meal moths, grain and flour infesting beetles and weevils, ants and mice.
Don’t know where to begin? We recommend starting with an inspection of dry ingredients. Small, pests with tri-colored wings known as Indian meal moths have been known to lurk in dried fruits, flour, powdered milk, dry dog food and corn meal. With an ability to lay up to 200 eggs in one week, food can become contaminated quickly. If an infestation is suspected, we recommend discarding contaminated foods in outdoor trash bins and cleaning the infested areas thoroughly with a vacuum, as well as with soap and water.
Next, closely inspect cereals, pasta noodles, cake mixes, cookies and cocoa for grain and flour infesting beetles and weevils. These creatures are small reddish to dark brown and use their saw- like teeth to chew through food. Like Indian meal moths, they can contaminate food so be sure to discard any infested products.
Once the pantry is clean, it’s time to head to the supermarket! While at the store, be sure to examine packaging carefully and look for signs of damage. This will prevent bringing unwanted pests into the home.
Last, but not least, we always warn homeowners about ants and mice. While there is always a potential for an infestation of these pests, winter is when ants and mice seek food and shelter the most – and a cupboard or pantry just may be the perfect dwelling space! To keep these pests out of cupboards and pantries, be sure to keep all food sealed in airtight containers. Additionally, keep kitchen counters, sinks and floors clean at all times, as crumbs and spills can quickly attract these pests.
We hope these tips will ensure a pleasant and pest-free holiday season!