How to Safeguard Your Food from Hungry Critters
Is your kitchen bug problem bugging you half to death? Are little critters making your food their personal feast?
While cleaning your kitchen is important, it doesn't guarantee you'll get rid of all pests. This article contains some DIY tips to get rid of your unwelcome visitors – but remember, if you get to the point where your efforts aren't making a difference, you'll need to call a professional.
The first step is identifying the type of bugs in your house, so let's look at a list of common household pests and find out what they eat. Then we'll talk about how to get rid of them.
Which Bug is Bugging You?
Glance over this list of common household insects to determine which might be invading your kitchen:
- Grain and flour beetles: slender, flat bugs about one-tenth inch long. They eat grains, pet food, nuts, and candy.
- Indian meal moths: 5/8 inch long with reddish wing colourings. They eat grain, rice, pasta, and granola, and lay eggs near dried food.
- Ants: eat just about anything, including fruit, vegetables, meat, sugar, and nuts.
- Cockroaches: large, dark bugs that often emerge from drains; they feast on meats, starches, and sweets.
- Fruit flies: eat fermenting fruit.
- Beetles: flying insects that can be black, brown, or red; eat fruit, plants, and seeds.
- Silverfish: are bugs, not fish, but look silvery and metallic; eat paper, clothing, and flour.
- Centipedes: have many legs; they live in areas with a lot of moisture and eat other bugs.
- Fleas and ticks: typically live on animals and feed on blood.
- Wasps: eat other insects and dead animals and drink nectar.
No matter which bug you find in your kitchen, it's important to secure all your food, especially the foods they like to eat. Fruit fries, for example, will hover around decaying fruit, so throw that fruit away and get it out of your house!
Clean Like Mad
Cleaning may not always get rid of your household pests, but it definitely helps! Make sure you:
- Store food properly
- Use a vacuum to clean shelves (and keep the vacuum bag in a tightly-closed container when you throw it away)
- Remove spilled food
- Clean cracks and corners
- Take out your garbage ASAP!
- A simple deep cleaning may get rid of the majority of your bug problem, but you'll probably have to use a few other strategies.
Set a Trap
If cleaning doesn't quite do the trick, certain bugs can be captured and eliminated with traps! Try these out:
- Sticky traps (purchased or homemade) catch Indian meal moths and all types of flies. You can make your own by spreading a pest control glue or petroleum jelly on bright yellow construction paper.
- Bottle traps (a plastic bottle cut with a flap or as a funnel) can catch beetles and wasps. To make a funnel bottle trap for beetles, cut the neck of the bottle and the tapering part of the top and place the tapering part upside down on top of the bottle to form a funnel. Pierce both the bottle and funnel and fit a wire through the holes. Bait it with bananas or a mixture of red wine, vinegar, and sugar to attract beetles. To make a side-door bottle trap for wasps, cut a rectangular shape out of the bottle, but keep it attached on the upside of the bottle. Bend the flap upward. Attract the wasps using syrup, sugar water, or soda.
- Pans filled with soapy water placed under a bright light can trap stinkbugs at night.
Destroy All Evidence
You'll want to get rid of any remains of your unwelcome visitors – including eggs – so get rid of food packages that contain insects or webs, and throw out any open or crushed packages.
To keep bugs away in the future, place your food in air-tight containers or in the refrigerator. You may want to keep fruit in the fridge – rather than in a fruit bowl – if you have a problem with fruit flies. Plus, keep bugs away by not buying an abundance of grain products you can't use.
Also, clean your food storage area regularly; including cleaning up spills immediately after they occur.
Contact the Pros
If all your work isn't yielding the bug-free results you want for your kitchen, it's time to call in a pest control professional. Make sure to choose a company that uses environmentally-friendly, non-toxic pest control solutions so their work won't harm your home or family.
When you look for a trustworthy pest control company, read reviews online or listen to word-of-mouth recommendations from friends. Asking past customers can give you the best idea of which pest control company will serve you best.
Best of luck in all your bug-eliminating endeavours!