Having pests in any area of your home is far from ideal, but one of the worst places to find them is in your kitchen pantry. Unfortunately, the pantry can often be a dreamland for pests; they're cool, dark, humid, and have plenty of food sources for pests to snack on. So, how do you keep pests out?
The best way to keep pests at bay is to keep all of your food items stored in sealed, air-tight containers. Keep the area as clean as possible at all times and eliminate any moisture sites around your pantry that may attract pests. Make sure you throw out of date food items away, and check for products that have started to turn bad.
The more you keep on top of your cleaning, the harder it will be for pests to make themselves comfortable in your pantry. The idea is to make it as clean and as inhospitable for pests as you possibly can, especially if you live in areas that are more prone to pest infestations in general.
In this article, we will take a look at the most common types of pests that people typically find invading their kitchen pantries in New Orleans and what you can do to reduce the chances that they will wind up in your home. Let's get into it.
What are Pantry Pests?
Before we start, we need to get to know the enemy. In this instance, it's a group of pests that love to feed on food products such as flour, cereal, pet food, milk, fruit, nuts, and just about everything else we store in our pantries.
The main culprits that you'll typically find in your pantry are moths, cockroaches, beetles, fruit flies, and rodents. Yep, not exactly the names you want on your kitchen guest list. These pests usually infiltrate your home through open windows and doors that lead to the kitchen, or sometimes they arrive in contaminated packets of food.
New Orleans gets pretty hot and humid during the spring and summer months, making your pantry a perfect safe haven for certain pests. Let’s take a look at the main culprits:
The most common cockroach pest species that can be found in Louisiana include German, American, Brown-banded, smokybrown, Asian, Surinam and Oriental cockroaches. Most of these species were all introduced into the state and are not native to the area, but they have managed to find the conditions rather favorable.
This is largely due to the weather conditions in New Orleans. It’s hot, humid, and there is an abundance of food for them to snack on.
How to spot a cockroach infestation:
Cockroaches are normally long, brown insects that can vary in size depending on the species.
Cockroach droppings are black or brown cylindrical droppings, around 2mm in length
Brown smear marks in irregular shapes on walls
Shed skins around your kitchen pantry, Cockroaches shed their skins several times before they reach adulthood
There are many different types of ants in New Orleans, but the four most common are carpenter ants, fire ants, odorous house ants, and pavement ants. Ants can be hard to spot due to their tiny size. The varieties found in your kitchen pantry will typically be smaller species of house ants.
How to spot an ant infestation:
Unpleasant coconut like smells
Damaged wood-based kitchen cabinets
Ants found in food packets, especially sugary foods
Beetles are one of the most common types of pests that you’ll find in your kitchen pantries. There are hundreds of different species that reside in New Orleans, most of which love the ingredients in the food items that you likely have stored in your pantries. Some of the different types of beetles include, but are not limited to, flour beetles, larder beetles, flat grain beetles, granary weevils and cigarette beetles. Again, these tiny beasts are hard to spot with the naked eye, so take some time to look through your food items if you suspect an infection.
How to spot a beetle infestation:
Most species measure between 2 to 5 millimeters in length
Colors are usually, reddish-brown to black
Check for damaged food packaging. Some species of beetles can gnaw away at them.
Are They a Health Hazard?
The good news is that most of the pests in New Orleans present nothing more than an unpleasant nuisance, rather than a health hazard. However, if they are continually eating your food, then it's not exactly the most sanitary of situations, so there is an increased risk that you could become ill from eating food that is contaminated.
Even if they aren’t dangerous, who wants to open their kitchen pantry to see a baseball sized cockroach chowing down on their breakfast cereal? Let’s take a look at some ways to keep these unwanted pests out of your kitchen space.
How to Prevent Pests in Your Kitchen Pantry
As with anything, prevention is the first line of defense against pantry pests. It's far easier and much more pleasant to stop them from getting in there in the first place, than it is to get rid of them once they've already infiltrated your kitchen. So on that note, let's take a look at the best ways to prevent pests from getting into your kitchen pantries.
Keep Your Pantry Clean
The cleaner your pantry is, the less likely it will be that pests will make their way into it. You should make sure that there are no loose pieces of food lying around, and that all food stains and leakages are cleaned up straight away.
Ants and cockroaches in particular, love to settle in quickly when they find nearby food sources. Ants are especially handy little kitchen invaders, especially if you invite them in with their very own private picnic in the pantry.
Make cleaning your pantry part of your regular cleaning routine. Spray down the shelves and vacuum the area if you need to. It may seem like overkill, but if you're concerned about pests, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Store Food Items in Sealed Containers
Pests need food to survive. The reason why they love the kitchen pantry so much is that there is an abundance of food for them to snack on when you're not looking. Don't make it so easy for them to get to the food.
Sealing all of your food items into airtight containers will help to prolong the life of your food products and will prevent any smells from leaking out that could attract pests to the area.
Throw Out of Date Food Away
As items start to go bad, they will begin to attract pests. Flies, moths, cockroaches, and beetles all love rotting food, and they can smell it from far away. If you have any out of date food, then it needs to go straight into the trash before it contaminates any of your other food items.
To add to this, food can still go bad even before the expiration dates are reached. Check your food products for signs of rot and decay regularly and throw out any items that look like they are starting to perish.
Check Your Groceries
Sometimes the groceries that you buy are already infested with bugs and pests. It's an unsettling fact, but it's true. While you can't go around opening up everything in the supermarket before you purchase it, you should definitely be checking them when you finally get them back to your house.
These days it's very unlikely that you will bring pests back with you from products bought in the supermarket, but it does happen.
One thing to look out for is any signs of damage to the packaging on the products you're buying. If you notice any holes, rips, or tears, then opt for the next one.
How to Get Rid of Pests in Your Kitchen Pantry in New Orleans
If you follow all of these steps, then you are going to make your kitchen pantry the equivalent to Fort Knox to these pests. Yes, it can be time-consuming, but it's certainly worth the peace of mind to know that your food is uncontaminated and that you won't have to deal with getting rid of the pests yourself.
If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself with pests in your kitchen pantry, then you need to act as fast as possible. These bugs reproduce fast and tend to lay their eggs in the hundreds.
First, throw out any infested food items in your pantry. After that, thoroughly clean your pantry, ensuring that every single crevice is spotless and pest free.
So there you have it! Hopefully by now you have all the tips you need to make your kitchen pantry a pest free zone from here on out. Remember, the best way to keep the pests at bay is by making any and all food as inaccessible as possible. The harder you make them work for the food, the less likely they’ll wind up in your kitchen pantry.
Thanks for reading!