A guide to pest-free holiday baking

Nov 19, 2021, 13:30 PM by Fred Speer

From cookies and cinnamon rolls to gingerbread houses, holiday baking is a fun tradition for families across California and northern Nevada. Really, who can turn down a warm cookie?

To create these tasty treats, amateur bakers stock up on baking supplies, including flour, sugar, cake mixes, sprinkles, dried fruit fillings, chocolate, nuts, and seeds. These ingredients are certainly tasty to humans. But pests also find them attractive.

What are pantry pests?

Pantry pests, also known as stored product pests, can silently infest baking ingredients, rendering them useless.

Pantry pests include various species of beetles, ants, earwigs, weevils, and pillbugs, but the most encountered pantry pest is the Indianmeal moth. These pests tend to gather around food stored in kitchen pantries and cabinets. They quickly can become a headache during the holidays.

In addition to baking items, pantry pests are also attracted to dried flowers and potpourri, which are commonly used in holiday decorations. Store these seasonal decorations in airtight containers during the off-season and unpack them outside before bringing them inside the house.

Clark, your friendly pest control, termite, and grounds care expert, would like to make you aware of the risk that pantry pests pose and how to keep them from taking up residence in your pantry or kitchen cabinet.

Four tips to pest-free baking

1. Store ingredients properly: Use Tupperware-style containers with secure lids to store baking ingredients. This will protect your food from pantry pests and other pests looking for an easy food source.

2. Inspect grocery items: Pantry pests are typically introduced to your pantry or kitchen cabinet in infested packaged food, paper grocery bags, or cardboard packaging. If a package is opened or shows the slightest sign of damage, do not purchase it or bring it in your home.

3. Check expiration dates before use: Practice first-in, first-out usage and periodically inventory your pantry and discard items that are past their expiration or best-buy date.

4. Clean up your kitchen: Immediately wipe up any crumbs or spills from countertops, tables, floors, and shelves, and regularly dispose of garbage in sealed receptacles. If you see unusual pest activity – e.g., Indianmeal moths, which will fly in zigzag or random patterns at night inside your pantry or kitchen – discard the infested foods in outdoor trash bins, vacuum the shelves, and clean them with soap and water.

Clark Pest Control remains committed to safeguarding your home from pests during these challenging times. Our service technicians use such personal protective equipment as gloves, masks, and respirators, they practice social distancing, and they adhere strictly to all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines when servicing inside or outside your home.

If pantry pests are spoiling your baking efforts, call or text (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or email us at clarkcares@clarkpest.com.

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

The Clark Pest Control family wishes a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving to you and your family and friends.