Many bakers and novice bakers find great joy in creating culinary treats for the holidays. But few things can gross a baker out more than finding bugs in their flour or sugar. Some baking items like sprinkles and jimmies are used sparingly in our homes and instead of throwing it out a year ago, you may have decided to save them thinking you might make cut-out cookies for valentines day or Easter. But low and behold (it happens to all of us) you never got around to making those cookies and instead the sprinkles sat in the cupboard for an entire year.
Some of the most common bugs to invade our pantries are the merchant grain beetle and the Indian meal moth. They love baking ingredients like oats, flour, sugar and candy sprinkles. Even canisters of hot cocoa are welcome treats for these little pests.
When you are getting ready to bake your holiday treats, pull out your ingredients at least the day before and inspect them to make sure you don’t have any unwanted crunchy bits. And if you have had your flour for more than six months you may want to throw it out anyway, because bake goods won’t rise as well or taste as fresh if the flour hasn’t been stored correctly. Actually the best place to store flour is in the freezer. This will keep it fresh and help keep the bugs out.
Here are some other tips on how to avoid pantry pests from the National Pest Management Association:
- Immediately wipe up any crumbs or spills from countertops, tables, floors and shelves.
- Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles.
- Only purchase food in sealed packages that show no sign of damage.
- Add a bay leaf to canisters and packages of dry goods like flour, rice and other grains- their pungent scent repels many pantry pests.
- Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair damaged screens.
- Check expiration dates on baking ingredients before use.
- Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains.
If you do find evidence of pantry pests, you may want to call a professional to have them assess how bad the infestation is. There is no sense is sacrificing perfectly good cookies and Christmas baking memories!
Quik Kill Pest Eliminators can help you evaluate if you have a bug problem and suggest how to have a pest free home. Give them a call at 800-525-0505.