If you love to cook, there's nothing worse than assembling your ingredients and finding-- eek!-- that a rodent or bug has taken up residence. Unfortunately, grain moths, boll weevils, and more can make their way into even the best-regulated kitchens. But there's hope. Take the right precautions and prevent pantry pests from spoiling your meal.
Contain Your Ingredients
The first step to pest-proofing your pantry is to limit their access to your goods. Keep ingredients like flour, sugar, and rice inside airtight containers rather than in paper or plastic bags. Make sure all your food packaging is sealed tight so that no little critters can nibble their way through.
If you can't turn around without spotting unwelcome guests in your pantry, it's time to tell them they're not wanted. Place natural repellents in key places around your pantry. Try cayenne pepper or lemon juice to keep ants away. For fruit flies, fill a glass halfway with apple cider vinegar, then cover the top in plastic wrap. Poke a few holes on the top, and voila-- fruit flies will be able to fly into the glass, but not out. To get rid of mice, put down sachets of cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil. The strong smell will repel them. Another all-purpose remedy? Dried bay leaves. Place around your pantry or inside your food packaging, and pests won't be paying a visit.
Cleanliness won't always prevent pests, but it never hurts. Wipe down surfaces in your kitchen regularly to destroy ant trails. Check your pantry and kitchen for any holes or nooks where unwanted guests might be hiding. Empty your compost bin often, keep trash covered, and don't leave fresh fruit lying out on the counter-- store it in the fridge or a sealed container instead.