On Dasher, On Dancer – How to keep your reindeer snacks free from pantry pests this year
Holiday time is often baking time in most homes across the country. From cookies to gingerbread houses, holiday baking is typically a fun and festive family tradition; however, one of the quickest ways to ruin this joyous time is to encounter stored product pests in your ingredients. Food that is improperly stored or expired may be at risk of becoming affected and what may start as a minor problem may turn into an infestation. While homeowners often think of pests such as ants, mice and cockroaches as being a nuisance in stored foods, many beetle species, moths and weevils may also become a problem in stored food items and are often less detected. Most stored product pests are fairly harmless aside from the food that they spoil, but mice and cockroaches are known carriers of disease and may trigger asthma/allergy reactions in some individuals. A few simple habits can lessen the likelihood of pests becoming a problem in your stored food.
Inspect your food
Prior to purchasing food items, we recommend that you inspect packaging for any damage that may allow pests to get inside of the product. When you get home, inspect bags prior to storing your items as pests are known for hitchhiking from one location to another. For food already in the home, sifting through flour, checking expiration dates and tossing out any items that show signs of pests will help decrease pest risks in the home.
Purchase airtight storage containers
Airtight storage containers not only keep pests out of your pantry, they aid in organization as well. Always label contents on the container and be sure to add the expiration date.
Proper sanitation is key
Much like handwashing is utilized to decrease the spread of illness and disease, sanitation helps to decrease pest activity. Immediate clean up of spills from countertops, tables, floors and shelves and the removal of garbage from the home promptly upon finishing baking can prevent attraction of pests. This same rule applies for dishes used during baking. Allowing these items to sit for prolonged periods of time can provide a food source for pests.