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People have been dealing with pesky pantry pests for years, but only recently have more home chefs begun investing in airtight containers. So, do these containers truly keep your pantry pest-free? We researched this, so you know what you need to use for food storage.
Airtight containers are the best way to keep weevils and other pantry pests out of your food. However, you can transfer weevil eggs from the original packaging into the airtight container. Even though it’s a good idea to use airtight containers, you must thoroughly inspect your foods for pests and practice preventative measures.
Although pantry pests are a common problem, there are many ways you could keep them out of your home. In this post, we’re going to explain how pests end up in your food and what you could do to get rid of them.
How Bugs Get In Food & How Airtight Containers Could Help
If pantry pests are “bugging” you, you might want to invest in a few airtight containers. In this first section, we’ll explain why pantry pests are a common problem and how airtight containers may help seal them out.
Can Weevils Get Into Airtight Containers?
Airtight containers are designed to keep your food fresh and eliminate the risk of pantry pests. So, it’s almost impossible for weevils to enter a high-quality airtight container.
If you notice any bugs appear in your airtight container, it’s likely there were already microscopic weevil eggs in your food. Mother weevils can lay hundreds of these eggs in grain kernels over their life cycle.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to see baby weevils in this early stage of development. Usually, you won’t notice you have weevils growing in your dry goods until six months after the mother weevils have laid their eggs.
Can Weevils Get Into Sealed Packages?
Yes, pests like weevils can quickly work their way into sealed packages. It’s common for bugs to chew their way into cardboard boxes or plastic bags. If your packages have unlined sections, then it’s also easy for pests to jump inside.
How Do Bugs Get In Sealed Containers?
Most often, pests use their sharp jaws to make tiny punctures and sneak into cardboard or plastic containers. This is especially the case with packages that have sharp edges like cake mix boxes.
If the pests don’t chew their way into packages, they will most likely slip through tiny openings. Many of these pests only measure a few millimeters, so it’s easy for them to squeeze through tight openings.
Can Weevils Eat Through Plastic?
Grain weevils can eat through plastic packaging. So, even if you transfer your grains to Ziploc bags, they won’t be safe from these pests.
For more info on what you could use Ziploc bags for, we encourage you to read through this previous KitchenSeer post.
What Are The Best Airtight Food Storage Containers?
Now that you know how easy it is for weevils to get in your home, you could understand why airtight containers are crucial for good pantry hygiene. Let’s run through four awesome sealed container designs you could find online.
OXO Good Grips POP Container
OXO is a New York-based company that has earned many accolades on America’s Test Kitchen. So, it comes as no surprise OXO has a line of well-reviewed airtight food storage containers with its signature “good-grips” feature.
All of these models are made with BPA-free plastic and come in either square or rectangular designs. Once you pour your flour, granola, or oats into one of these dishwasher-safe units, all you have to do is pop the top to lock in an airtight seal.
As a bonus, the top of each of these container doubles as a convenient handle.
Libbey Vibe Mini Glass Jars
Although most airtight containers are made with BPA-free plastic, there are a few glass options. For instance, the Libbey Vibe Mini Glass Jars are excellent for storing fresh herbs and spices.
These 4.5-ounce jars each have a rubber gasket that helps create a secure airtight seal. If you live somewhere where space is limited or want a chic way to display your spices, please check out these jars.
Tightvac Airtight Multi-Use Vacuum Seal
Tightvac is another company that’s made a big name for itself in the airtight container space. The company claims to use a special 2-way valve to provide a way for gas to get out of the unit without letting extra oxygen inside.
Unlike the OXO product, all of these airtight containers are cylindrical and come in various sizes. Indeed, there are many travel-friendly Tightvac containers perfect for folks who enjoy camping, hiking, or RVing.
Coffee Gator Stainless Steel Coffee Container
Although we’ve focused on grain products, that doesn’t mean creepy-crawlies can’t get into your coffee. Indeed, did you know there’s something known as the “coffee bean weevil?”
One great solution to this issue is to buy an airtight container specifically designed for coffee grounds. For instance, the Coffee Gator container offers users a CO2-release valve, a measuring spoon, and a date tracker. This stainless steel canister will keep your coffee grounds fresh and free from pests.
Push Those Pantry Pests Out – Ways To Ward Off Weevils
Even with airtight containers, weevils could still weevil their way into your precious pantry. For a few tips on getting rid of a weevil infestation, please keep reading.
Where Are Weevils Most Commonly Found?
Before we get into controlling weevil infestations, we first have to understand where these bugs like to hideout. Weevils and other pests most often hide in grains like flour, cereals, and rice.
Here are a few other products to check for weevils:
- Crackers and chips
- Dried fruits
- Dried herbs
And it’s not just human food that pests love munching on. Indeed, many dry pet food products and birdseed containers harbor insects.
How Do You Prevent Weevil Bugs?
Placing all of your grains, dried fruits, and pet food in airtight containers is the best way to prevent weevil infestations. However, there are a few other nifty ways you could prevent bugs from ever appearing in your pantry.
Here are a few of the most common pest prevention strategies:
- Buy smaller amounts of food.
- Put grains in the freezer for one week to destroy weevil eggs.
- Avoid buying products with cuts or openings.
- Hang pheromone traps in your pantry.
- Put tiny bags of black pepper and Bay leaves around your pantry.
In case you were wondering, pheromone traps mostly attract pantry moths, but they could catch a few other insects. Here’s what a common pheromone trap looks like:
How Do You Get Rid Of Weevil Bugs?
If you already have weevils on your hand, the first thing to do is throw away any infested product. You might also want to double-check any products near the infected item.
Next, clear out your pantry and vacuum all of the shelves. Pay particular attention to the edges of your pantry as weevils often hide their eggs here. Also, be sure to empty your vacuum outside to avoid re-infestation.
After you’ve finished vacuuming your shelves, dip a paper towel into a 1:1 mix of white vinegar and water. Weevils are turned off by the scent of vinegar, so wiping your counters with this mixture will help keep the pests away.
If you have a severe pantry pest infestation, you might want to use a potent insecticide with the compound Deltamethrin. One popular aerosol spray used for pantry pests is called D-Force.
Please remember to wear protective face and eye coverings and remove all food from the area when using an insecticide.
Can Eating Weevils Harm You?
Warning: if you don’t have a strong stomach, please skip this section.
According to the latest scientific research, Americans eat at least one pound of bugs every year. Even though these bugs are unsightly, they aren’t harmful. Weevils might be an excellent source of protein.
The reality is, food manufacturers cannot eviscerate all bugs that get into their crops. Although there are FDA limits on how many bugs are allowed in foodstuffs, there’s always the chance you’re eating minuscule traces of weevils and other insects.
Defend Your Pantry From Pests With Airtight Containers
With the strategies listed above, you should feel more comfortable dealing with common pantry pests. In addition to airtight containers, please put the above preventative steps into place to avoid a pantry infestation.
By the way, if you’d like to learn more about the different containers you could use in your kitchen, then we encourage you to visit this previous KitchenSeer post.