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Keep your pantry pest-free

The holidays make for a chaotic household and lots of cooking and food preparation. Tiny pests love small holes in food packaging, and pantries make a nice warm home for unwanted guests.

Not all pests scurry around in search of food before hurrying back to their nests. In fact, according to the pest professionals at Rose Pest Solutions, some pests such as Indian meal moths and merchant grain beetles can settle right into food supplies, commonly infesting grains and sweets.

“There is nothing worse than preparing to bake some yummy cookies or cake and finding that pests have contaminated your ingredients,” says Bob Seske, district manager for Rose Pest Solutions.

“Taking a weekend to organize your pantry, sifting through ingredients, and pest-proofing against future invaders will go a long way in protecting your food and will help keep your family healthy.”

Pantry pests can easily contaminate stored food and can also be brought into the home undetected in already infested purchases. Here are some practices to keep your pantry pest-free:

•Store food in airtight containers. It’s recommended that you buy plastic or metal containers in a variety of sizes to accommodate the foods you keep.

•Buy only food in sealed packages that show no sign of damage. Make it a habit while grocery shopping to carefully inspect boxes of cereal, grains, nuts, flour and sugar, etc., for signs of damage prior to placing them in the cart.

•Add bay leaves to canisters and packages of dry goods such as flour, rice and other grains – their pungent scent repels many pantry pests. One bay leaf in each container should do the trick.

•Dried food products should be inspected regularly, especially before use, for any signs of infestation.

– Rose Pests Solutions