The smell of Christmas, freshly cut Christmas trees and baked holiday goodies are in the air. As the holiday season approaches, we find ourselves baking tasty treats, decorating the house, hanging lights and wrapping presents. While we’re busy partaking in all this holiday cheer, something is lurking in our kitchens, something that can surely put a damper on the holidays: insects.
Indian meal moths, cigarette beetles, red flour beetles, saw-toothed grain beetles, merchant grain beetle and other pantry pests may be feasting on your cereals, rice, grains, flour and meal, along with any stored seasonal decorations made from plant or animal products. These pesky creatures, as a group, are known as stored product pests.
Stored product pests often gather where foodstuffs are stored in cupboards and pantries, and are attracted to flour, dry cereals, spices, chocolate and other candies. In most cases, these stored product pests can be traced to boxes and/or bags of dry goods in the backs of pantries that may have been opened and partially used, then forgotten. In some cases, the source may even come from outdated food that had been purchased long ago and stored for a long period of time.
Tips for making sure these stored product pests do NOT spoil your holiday festivities.
Keep all food stored safely in plastic or glass containers with tight-fitting lids
Clean your countertops, cupboards and floors regularly, as crumbs may attract these pests
Refrigerate and/or freeze any baking goods that may be stored for long periods of time
Inspect all stored products before use
Read the expiration date, and when in doubt, throw it out
Look closely at any old decorations you’ve packed away since last season, to make sure that stored product pests haven’t set up housekeeping
In the event you do have an infestation, contact your local state-licensed pest management firm, as stored product pest infestations can be a handful.