Six tips to keep your holiday baking pest free

Nov 10, 2018, 12:41 PM by Fred Speer

Clark, your neighborly pest control expert, is never one to turn down a tasty holiday cookie, cake, or tasty treat – they are so hard to resist!

From cutout cookies to gingerbread houses, holiday baking is a fun tradition for many families in California and northern Nevada. But there’s one thing that can ruin the holiday cheer, and it isn’t the Grinch. It’s pantry pests, also referred to as stored product pests.

These pests tend to gather around food stored in pantries and cabinets, and they can quickly become a hassle for homeowners during the holidays.

Pantry pests can include beetles, weevils, ants, moths, earwigs, and pillbugs. The most commonly encountered pests are Indian meal moths and various species of beetles.

These pantry pests can infest common baking ingredients, such as flour, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, and more. In some cases, they’re also attracted to dried flowers and potpourri, which make decorations another susceptible breeding ground for home infestations.

As people begin to prepare for the upcoming holiday season, they’ll start stocking up on baking ingredients to make their favorite holiday treats. Clark reminds you to carefully inspect all of the items you bring home from the store to ensure they are pest-free.

Here are some other tips to guard against pantry pests and keep your holiday baking on track:

  1. Properly store ingredients: Invest in some Tupperware-type containers with secure lids. These will protect your food from pantry pests and other small invaders that may be looking for an easy meal.
  2. Store seasonal decorations appropriately: Dried foliage, potpourri, and Indian corn should be kept in airtight containers during the off season, and unpacked outside prior to bringing them inside the house.
  3. Use a bay leaf: Add a bay leaf to canisters and packages of dry goods, such as flour, rice, and other grains – the herb’s pungent scent repels many pantry pests.
  4. Inspect ingredients before you use them: Most pantry pests are brought into the home from items that are already infested, such as food in paper grocery bags, cardboard containers, or plastic bags. If a package is opened or shows the slightest sign of damage, do not purchase it. Visually inspect and sift through ingredients already in your pantry to ensure they are pest-free.
  5. Check the date: Remember to check expiration dates on baking ingredients before use. Occasionally sort through old items in the pantry and toss out anything that’s been stored for a long period of time.
  6. Practice good sanitation: Immediately wipe up any crumbs or spills from countertops, tables, floors, and shelves, and regularly dispose of garbage in sealed receptacles.

If you find pantry pests in your kitchen, discard the infested foods in outdoor trash bins and clean all of the shelves in the cupboards with a vacuum.

If pantry pests are spoiling your baking efforts, call or text (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or send an email to

Until next time, the pest management professionals at Clark Pest Control thank you for helping to keep unwanted pests out of your home.