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Prevent Pests From Pigging Out In Your Pantry

Most people would agree that the kitchen is the last place they want to encounter beetles, moths and worms. However, for some household pests, the kitchen provides all the main ingredients for an extended, comfortable stay. Few homeowners realize that, despite all efforts to keep kitchens clean and pest-free, some pests may already be thriving inside the foods your family has stored. Experts refer to them as "stored product pests" or "occasional invaders," but homeowners call them "pantry pests"-the more than 300 species of beetles, moths, worms and weevils that survive on any of the food items in your pantry or kitchen cabinets. According to experts at Orkin, Inc., virtually no items in your kitchen can escape infestation when left unused and exposed for substantial periods of time.

Pantry pests normally gravitate toward whole and processed grains such as flour, meal and rice, but will eat almost anything they can access, including dried fruits, spices, chocolate and even decorative plant arrangements. Pantry pests are often carried into your kitchen via infested, store-bought foods. Others invade the pantry from the outdoors, lured by odors escaping from food that has been packaged improperly. "Many of these persistent pests can find food in your home by gnawing through cereal boxes and penetrating packaging," said Frank Meek, entomologist and technical director for Orkin. "But many just get lucky and find their way into our foods because we haven't sealed them tightly.

" These food-infesting pests are usually not the source of significant health threats for homeowners. However, health issues can result from direct contact with or inhalation of pest-related allergens produced by pest species including cockroaches, mites and meal moths. Following these tips can help prevent pantry pest infestations: • Store foods in tightly sealed containers that keep pests out. Remember that some pests can eat through paper wrapping. • Inspect food storage areas regularly; use a flashlight to peek in dark, undisturbed corners. • Clean pantry and cabinet shelves and floors thoroughly. Use a vacuum to pick up crumbs. However, if pests continue to feast on foods in your kitchen, trust a licensed pest control company to help you identify solutions for protecting your pantry.


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