How to prevent and get rid of bugs in your kitchen – Health

How to prevent and get rid of bugs in your kitchen – Health
How to prevent and get rid of bugs in your kitchen – Health

the world is of insects, we just live in it. “I know people freak out when they see them,” says Zachary DeVries, an assistant professor at Department of Entomology at the University of Kentucky. “But the truth is, we build our homes right in the middle of where these insects live.”

There is perhaps no more distressing place to find bugs than in your pantry or your closet. If this happens, don’t panic. Follow these tips to get rid of them and prevent them from appearing again.


While it’s possible that pests like moths and beetles are already in the items we bring home from the grocery store, DeVries says most appear after the food enters our cupboards.

Insects that are attracted to your food may be inside or they may enter through open doors, cracks, or window screens.

Partially opened packaging, such as flour or cookies, are invitations to insects, as are thin cardboard boxes with narrow openings, such as boxes of pasta or cookies. Anything that spills or leaks – honey and sugar, for example – can also attract them.


Some pests can penetrate the seed coat of plants, which is why whole grains are particularly attractive to certain species, explains DeVries. Others need the grain to be open, as in many refined flours, pasta, cookies, cereals, crackers, etc. Dog and cat food and bird seed are also common sites of infestation.

“Inside the houses, the house ants they feed on sugar, syrup, honey, fruit juice, fat and meat”, recalls the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of California.


Usually, when you find moths or beetles in the pantry, what you see are the adult insects, DeVries points out. When there are a lot of them, 10 or 20, you probably have an infestation.

Just as eliminating the breeding ground for fruit flies is the only sure way to eliminate these common pests, getting rid of the source is key to saying goodbye to moths and beetles. Systematically separate all food from your pantry and open packages. Sift grains or flours to detect intruders. Anything that appears to be heavily infested should be thrown away. Often the damage is limited to one or two items, according to DeVries.

If you want to try to rescue items – or ensure that what appears to be pest-free is actually clean – you can chill them to 27 degrees, or ideally even colder, for three to seven days; the longer the better, reports the University of Illinois-Champaign Illinois Extension. Or you can heat the food to 140 degrees in an oven for an hour, but keep in mind that most home ovens can’t keep a temperature that low.

Much of the same advice applies to ants. After finding what is attracting the ants, he teaches the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of California, remove it. Vacuum ant trails and clean with warm soapy water. This eliminates the pheromones that the insects follow to return to the food source, DeVries explains.

Then try to find and seal the points where they are entering. If they persist, you can use ant bait in a variety of forms, such as gel, but try to save it for serious infestations. If you can, use bait outside, near entry points, so you don’t inadvertently attract more ants inside.


Insecticides, warns DeVries. Insecticides, especially sprayed near food and food preparation surfaces, pose a greater danger to you than pantry pests – which are a nuisance but not a health problem. For the moths and beetles you find, use a fly swatter or vacuum to eliminate them or drive them out the door.


DeVries suggests a three-pronged approach to prevention: food rotation, keeping out intruders, and rigid containers.

First, use the food from your pantry in a timely manner. Moths and beetles take a while to settle in, so if you’ve been using your flours, pasta, and snacks over the course of a few weeks or even months, you’ll probably be fine. It’s the old items, tucked away behind the shelf, untouched for a long time, that are particularly problematic.

Periodically sort what you have to see what needs to be used or thrown away (or composted). Avoid leaving open doors or windows without screens. Mend torn screens and seal gaps around baseboards, doors and windows.

Keeping your food in airtight containers is a “very simple, very easy” step you can take, warns DeVries. This discourages pests, of course, with the side benefit of keeping your food fresher for longer. Containers or not, if you notice something has spilled, clean up immediately./ TRANSLATION BY RENATO PRELORENTZOU

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: prevent rid bugs kitchen Health

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