Pest-Free Kitchens are Healthier Kitchens
Kitchens and dining rooms have long been known as a central gathering place in homes over the years as families and guests come together to share meals and make memories. Keeping these areas pest-free can, at times, be a challenge; however, there are precautions that can be taken by homeowners to decrease the common pest dangers listed below.
A majority of the time when people think of kitchen pests the first that comes to mind are cockroaches and for good reason. Not only are cockroaches unsightly, they are known carriers of various types of bacteria, several parasitic worms and other human pathogens not to mention their saliva, droppings and decomposing bodies are known triggers for allergies and asthma.
Rodents, such as mice and rats, present many dangers in homes across The United States. Known carriers of bacteria and various other disease pathogens and parasites, rodents are also notorious for chewing electrical wiring which may lead to structural fires. Rodents reproduce at a rapid rate with litters of up to 12 babies every 3 weeks. With rodents, prevention/exclusion are key to preventing problems.
Stored product or pantry pests are often found in stored food products in kitchen pantries and cabinets. Items such as flour, cereal, spices, candies, chocolates and grains are targets for many of these pests including multiple species of beetles, moths, mites and weevils. In addition, ants are common invaders of stored foods.
Following basic preventative measures will ensure that your kitchen and pantry stays pest free.
- Store food in airtight containers and only purchase food in sealed packages that show no signs of damage.
- Check expiration dates prior to use of products or at least twice a year to prevent expired foods from becoming infested.
- Promptly wipe up any crumbs or spills. Wipe down all counters, tables and shelves immediately after baking/cooking is completed. Sweep/mop floors on a regular basis.
- Remove garbage from the home regularly and keep it in a container with a tight-fitting lid away from the home when possible.
- Eliminate sources of moisture including leaking pipes and clogged drains. Do not leave dishes soaking in the sink for long periods of time.
- Seal gaps, cracks and crevices on the exterior and interior of the home. Pay close attention to stove and water pipes.
- Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair/replace window screens if they are damaged.
- Keep garbage disposal clean/clear of food debris.
- Be mindful of fresh fruits and vegetables in the home. Check them frequently for over ripening and spoilage. Female fruit flies can lay up to 500 eggs on the surface of fermenting fruit, so it is best to dispose of spoiled foods in outside waste containers.
- Inspect your home regularly. If you find evidence of pest activity, contact a licensed pest control professional for assistance.