How to Protect Your Food Pantry from pests and bugs during COVID19

Like most folks, you likely went out and stocked up on dry goods this week. You might have bought some dry beans, flour, pasta, grains. Go ahead and breathe a sigh of relief; having large amounts of nutritious dry goods in your pantry is a great way to prepare for COVID19 social distancing and quarantine. Dry goods are affordable, versatile, and healthy. Well done. 

Dry goods only have one shortfall, and with it being the first week of spring, this is timely: pests love dry goods. This is the time of year when you start to see sugar ants, pantry moths, and flies entering your home in pursuit of food. And if they find a reliable food source, they’ll settle-in and stay. You put a lot of time and energy into securing your dry goods. Don’t let them be contaminated and eaten by pantry pests. 

Follow these simple guidelines and your dry goods will be pest-free and last you 1 to 2 years.

  1. Keep your dry goods cool.
    1. Do not store your dry goods near your stove or dishwasher, above your refrigerator, or near a radiator or other heat source. Instead, store your dry goods inside a cabinet that is far from any heat source.
    2. Heat will make your dry goods spoil much more quickly. 
    3. Warm and deteriorating dry goods will attract pests. Warmth and decomposition make dry goods emit odors that pests are attracted to. Remember, if pests are entering your home, they’re looking for food or shelter. Don’t give them a reason to come inside. 
  2. Keep your dry goods dry.
    1. Don’t store your dry goods in a damp basement. They’ll mold and deteriorate quickly. And this deterioration will attract pests into your home.
  3. Keep your dry goods dark
    1. Same rule here. Sunlight makes your dry goods deteriorate more quickly, and warm, decomposing dry goods attract pests.
  4. Use containers. 
    1. Containers should have a tight-fitting lid. 
    2. Containers can be made of glass, plastic, or ceramic. 
    3. Don’t be afraid to copy your grandmother or great grandmother, here: a re-used peanut butter jar is a great way to store dry goods. 
    4. Plastic bags are only good for short term storage. Pests can easily find their way inside plastic bags. 

If you find that pantry pests are contaminating your dry goods and you’ve tried all the methods above, consider calling a pest control company like Debug to treat the exterior of your home. Having this added layer of protection is sure to keep you and your family’s food safe during COVID19. 

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Bonus Blog Article

7 Plants We’re Using in Our Garden to Repel Mosquitoes Naturally

Over the last three Rhode Island summers, we’ve used our backyard as a kind of outdoor laboratory to find the best plants to naturally repel mosquitoes. The seven plants we have listed here are our tried and tested winners. At Debug, we’re all about conscientious pest control. So, when we find natural ways to control pests, we share that information with you – it’s part of how we show We Care.

1. Mint

Mint is our highest performer. We’ve planted mint everywhere and so far it seems to be doing the trick. And mint is SO easy to grow. Mint is literally a plant-it-and-forget-it type of plant (we love that). We’ve put mint in our window boxes, our flower planters, and garden beds. This year we took an old terracotta strawberry planter (honestly, we could never get strawberries to grow in that thing) and made it an herb planter.

A secret trick from our grandmother: Break a spring of mint and rub the leaves on your legs and arms to keep mosquitoes away. I can’t remember our grandmother ever having a mosquito bite, so she must have been onto something.

Added bonus? Delicious mojitos!

2. Basil

All basil seems to keep away mosquitoes, but we found that cinnamon basil works best. Basil is another super-easy plant to grow. We put basil in all of our planters–right alongside our flowers. Right now, we have this basil, rose, and nasturtium planter on the deck, and we love it.  This year we invested in some deck railing planters and planted herbs in them.  We’ve seen a big decline in mosquitoes and hornets.

The added bonus of fresh basil is a plus.

3. Lavender

Growing-up, we had a fig tree in our yard. Our grandparents planted lavender under the tree to keep pests away from the figs (a nice Old World trick that really works). Turns out, lavender is also great at keeping away mosquitoes. We’ve planted lavender in pots, planters, and in our garden beds. Lavender is a perennial, so it will come back year after year. It’s also another low-maintenance plant that is great for beginner gardeners. Another bonus here: you can cut the lavender and make great smelling sachets for your drawers. Plus, lavender is just gorgeous.

4. Geraniums

We loved geraniums long before we knew they were a great mosquito repellant. So now we just plant double. Geraniums are easy to care for, come in beautiful colors, and can be easily added to any planter or garden bed. Geraniums are annuals here in New England, but we bring our geranium pots in before the first frost and they brighten-up our interior over the winter with their blooms. It’s a lovely way to add color to your natural mosquito control approach.

5. Citronella

This is our first year growing citronella and we’re seeing great results. We planted this one in a pot next to our water feature to keep the mosquitoes out of the water.  So far, the citronella seems to be very low maintenance; we really haven’t done anything to it, except give it a little water during a dry spell.

6. Onion

Mosquitoes (and lots of other garden pests including deer and rabbits) hate onions. Honestly, we never buy onion bulbs. We take onions from the grocery store and plant them just like tulip bulbs in the spring. When we buy scallions at the market, we chop and eat the tops and save the white bulbous end. We take these ends and plant them in the herb planters and then give them a good soak.  Within a couple of days, the scallions start growing back. Onions are probably the easiest plant to grow. And again, they’re great to add to your summer dishes.

7. Marigolds

Our grandparents always planted marigolds in their garden beds, especially around the tomato plants. These little orange and yellow flowers are great at keeping mosquitoes away (and lots of other pests, too). Marigolds are easy to grow and care for – and very economical when you plant them directly from seed.


Added tip:

Get a couple of oscillating fans for your patio or deck. Mosquitoes don’t like flying in the wind, so a couple of fans will set up a nice no-fly zone around your deck and patio.
and
Utilize some common sense and compromise with Mother Nature: go inside after dusk.

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