First of all, what is a stored product pest? These are bugs that don't generally work their way into your home. These creatures, or their eggs, are already inside the food you purchase from the store, and are carried in when you bring your groceries home. What makes these pests such a big pain around Christmas? They are often found in the dry stored food items we use to make Christmas dinner. If you plan on using flour, rice, wheat, spices, dried soup mixes, seeds, cereal, and other dried goods, you may be off to the store to stock up on these items. If you plan to make cookies, cake, chocolate fudge, biscuits, muffins, or other baked goods, your chances of getting a stored-product pest are increased.
Here is your holiday checklist to prevent stored product pests:
Protecting your home and your food from these insects begins with protecting the foods in your pantry. All pantry foods that come in cardboard or paper should be stored in hard plastic, sealable containers. Not only does it keep these items fresh longer, it prevents pests from getting out or getting in. This is true for pet food as well. It may seem like a big pain to put all that dried food in a container, but many stored product pests eat pet food.
If you don't use hard plastic containers it becomes more important to stay on top of product due dates. It is a good habit to put new food to the back and older foods to the front. You probably already do this, but a surprising number of people don't do a general sweep through their pantry on a regular basis and throw out foods that are past due. This is a good practice if you want to resist these pests.
When you purchase products from the store, make sure you examine them closely. Look for broken seals, damaged packaging, chew holes, and other possible entry points. You should never purchase any package that seems suspect.
If you use hard plastic containers, look for webbing in the food products you purchase. Some stored-product pests lay eggs that are so small they are nearly invisible to the human eye. Sometimes webbing is the only sign you're going to get that the food you just purchased has insects in it.
If you have not yet taken any of these precautions when storing or maintaining your dried foods and a stored product pest infestation rears its ugly head, it is time to contact the professionals. Usually, the signs of an infestation become apparent only after these pests have had time to get into multiple products, and if not treated properly, this problem can spread. If you live in our service area, give McCall a call.