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Pest-Proof Your Pantry in Time for the Holidays

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The holiday season is a wonderful time full of feasts and celebrations with friends and family. Unfortunately, this time of year, there are some common intruders looking to crash the party and enjoy their own feast in your pantry. Pests like Indian meal moths, merchant grain beetles, ants and mice can quickly infest all the dry goods in your kitchen so we have put together some great tips on what to look out for and ways to keep your pantry pest-free.

Before you stock up for the holidays, we always recommend a thorough cleaning and a complete inventory of your pantry. Closely inspect all your dry goods including flour, sugar, corn meal, cocoa, pastas and cereals for pests and store all food in sealed, air-tight containers.

Pests to keep an eye out for include: Indian meal moths which are the most common and are small and reddish-brown in color. While their lifecycle is short - 25 days, the females can lay up to 200 eggs a week quickly turning a small problem into an infestation. They like to lurk in dried fruits, flour, corn meal, sugar and even dry dog food.

Another pest often found in pantries this time of year is the merchant grain beetle. These small, dark brown insects are attracted to cereals, cake mix, chocolate and pasta and they use their saw-like teeth to chew through packing and food.

Finally, while mice and rats are common home invaders year-round, we definitely see an increase in rodent-related calls when the temperature starts to cool as these pests are looking for a warm place to call home and a food supply for the winter.

Now that your pantry is spic and span, it's time to go shopping for all the ingredients for the feast. Be sure to thoroughly inspect each item in the grocery store to ensure all packages are completely sealed and show no signs of damage. Once you get everything home, again, make sure all food is stored in sealed air-tight containers in the pantry.

You should also keep your counters, sinks and floors clean at all times as crumbs and spills can quickly attract unwanted guests. If at any time, you suspect an infestation, you want to discard all contaminated items as well as other open dry goods in outdoor trash bins and clean the infested areas with a vacuum and soap and water.

We hope these tips will help you keep you and your family free from pests this holiday season. However, if any unwelcome visitors happen to invade your home this fall, a licensed pest professional is only a call away to make sure they don't spoil the fun.

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