Insects, rats and mice love many of the same foods we do, from fresh produce to cereal. Consequently, it isn’t uncommon to see a spider or moth now and then.
However, these pests can signal a larger infestation, even if you only spot a few bugs here and there.
Some people don’t realize there’s an issue until pests have overtaken their food supply, and it’s too late to salvage their goods.
If you don’t want an extra dose of six-legged protein in your salad or rodent hair in your cereal, it’s best to prevent pests from entering in the first place.
Here are a few ways to safeguard against an infestation or nip it in the bud if you’re already dealing with one.
1. Remove Clutter
After cleaning up your yard and sealing your home, rid the inside of any clutter. From trash to empty boxes, anything you leave on your floor or pile up on tables or counters is clutter.
These things — regardless of whether they contain food or not — provide places for pests to hide and breed.
Moreover, excess clutter makes it much more difficult to locate the source of the infestation and remove these critters.
2. Clean Regularly
Additionally, it’s vital to clean your home’s interior regularly. Pay particular attention to your kitchen as it contains many items pests would be more than happy to feast on.
First, inspect your pantry and remove any food with bugs or packages with holes. Then, clean your cupboards, drawers and pantry of spills and crumbs.
Vacuum the floors and wipe down countertops and other surfaces to prevent pests from returning.
3. Store Food Properly
Once you’ve cleaned your home and kitchen, reorganize your pantry by putting food into sealable containers. Pantry pests are most likely to infest open containers, but they can also chew through cardboard, plastic, foil and paper.
Thus, your best option is to store foods in airtight glass or steel containers. You should also put foods in cool, dry places away from direct sunlight and off of the floor.
Doing so will prevent mold from growing and keep bugs and rodents away.
4. Seal Your Home
When it comes to protecting your food and supplies from critters, your home’s walls are your first line of defense.
Seal off your home as much as possible by re-caulking window frames, replacing screens and sealing cracks as well as all other drafty areas of your house.
You might also want to address any issues with your garage door if you store food in a garage refrigerator. Your dry goods may be at risk if there’s an easily accessible opening for insects to crawl through.
5. Avoid Overbuying Food
Additionally, avoid storing food for long periods as this increases your chances of attracting pests. One of the best ways to do this is to buy only enough groceries to last a week or two.
Otherwise, you may end up storing food for weeks on end and forgetting it’s in your pantry or fridge. Over time, perishable items may rot and attract pests.
Then, you’ll be wasting money on food and spending extra to eradicate infestations.
6. Check Your Groceries
Fresh fruits, vegetables and even packaged goods from the grocery store can contain insects already. This factor is especially true of leafy greens and produce from other parts of the world or country.
Therefore, it’s good practice to wash your fruits and vegetables as soon as you return home. It’s also a good idea to inspect packages and produce before bringing them into your house.
Taking these extra precautions will prevent infestations as well as illnesses and bug bites.
7. Use Chemicals
If things get out of control and you simply cannot prevent or contain an infestation, you may need to use multiple forms of chemical defense. Use bait as the first line of defense, setting traps around your home.
These allow you to potentially kill off colonies with a low risk of exposure to pesticides. If these attempts don’t prove effective, apply pesticides to specific areas of your home, like the corners of your kitchen or around floorboards.
Your Last Resort for Pests
Are your preventative measures and management methods still unsuccessful? Your last resort should be to call in the experts.
Professional exterminators and pest-control specialists can pinpoint the source of the infestation and find an effective way to eradicate it.
To do so, they’ll likely use powerful pesticides and fog machines to infiltrate every crack and crevice of your home.
Even then, double-check that the company you hire only uses chemicals the Environmental Protection Agency has deemed safe to use inside homes.
Research the pesticides they plan to use and ask for more information from the operator. They can address any safety concerns you may have, and handle the infestation quickly and effectively.
That aside, consider MREs for a simple, compact alternative that’s easy to preserve.
How do you store your food? How much do you keep on hand? Let us know in the comments section below!