Aug 02, 2021 | Samuel Albert

How To Stop/Control A Kitchen Pest Infestation

Home is where good food is, be it for us or the pests! Yes, pests find themselves at home where food is plentiful. They are attracted to dirty and damp places and have a special affinity for rotting fruits or piled-up garbage.

Photo by Curtis Adams/.pexels

A clean, dry kitchen gives no room for pests. Periodic, systematic, and consistent cleaning schedule, keeping the trash bin closed and disposing of its contents regularly, storing dry food in sealed containers, properly covering the fruits with a screen net, wire meshing the vents and other points of entry, and keeping a watchful eye are the crucial elements of controlling kitchen pest infestation.

Let's take a tour around our kitchen to find out more on this topic – some quick and practical tips to fortify our kitchen against pests and to successfully reinforce our home's defense. March on!

Common Pests Found in the Kitchen

Cockroaches, ants, fruit flies, worms, beetles, bugs (inside a tightly sealed container), and rodents that seem to be coming from nowhere are a big headache to anyone. So why are they here in the first place? Who invited them into our kitchen and our pantry shelves?

Come on, let's deal with them one by one:

  1. Cockroaches:

Photo by creozavr/pixabay

 Even the nature lover in you won't be pleased to find the roaches running around all over your cooking place.

Cockroaches love and flourish in a damp and dirty environment and find themselves at home when they are in a cluttered zone. These roaches are in hiding right under our noses, under the sink, stove, knobs, and dark corners? Once the lights are off, these sneaky night insects have your kitchen space all for themselves. They fly around partying and feasting on every titbit they can find. They easily thrive under these conditions.

Did you know that their saliva and droppings can trigger an allergic reaction? They are also known to transmit 33 different types of bacteria and other diseases.

Ways to Prevent Cockroach Infestations 

The general rule of the thumb in every kitchen, be it mine or yours, is to keep it spic and span. Cooking and cleaning can go hand in hand, and you can save a lot of time and energy that way. Also, cleaning is easy when done in parts instead of doing it as a discrete chore.

Keeping your kitchen clutter-free and putting things immediately in their rightful places – transferring food items into their respective jars after shopping and disposing of empty cans, plastic covers, and boxes - will make your pests homeless.

Also, do not forget to throw out those empty pickle jars and jam bottles. If you have any plans to reuse them, wash and dry them and put them away for future use. Don't let them lounge around near the sink or on the counter.

The sink area is one place where there is a lot of spilling and splashing of the water. Don't store anything in and around the kitchen sink area. Clean the sink daily and keep the sink hose free from food debris by removing the clogs periodically. Make sure you spray a homemade, eco-friendly insecticide in the sinkhole to deter the entry of pests through the hole before turning off the lights for the day.

Clean your cupboards regularly. If you find them damp or moist (insects flourish in such places), empty them out and thoroughly spray hot water with bleach and wipe the shelves out completely, and air dry. This type of cleaning will keep that musty smell out and keep it mold-free.

Also, spread borax and powdered sugar to eliminate cockroaches. 

While sugar is the bait used, borax immediately kills them on consumption.

Try trapping smaller roaches with flypaper traps.

  1. Fruit Flies:

Were you overwhelmed by the sudden swarm of fruit flies? Those overripe bananas sitting innocently on your fruit basket are the culprit.

The smell of the yeast produced by the rotting fruit attracts the fruit flies, and they catch the scent even from a great distance. So, remove that rotting fruit straight away and keep a diligent eye on the fresh fruits. 

The fruit flies are insanely difficult to control as they multiply rapidly. In addition, they transmit bacteria from a dirty surface to a clean one, especially those responsible for causing food poisoning.

Ways to Prevent Fruit Fly Infestation

Prevention is better than cure is a perfect fit here. But many a time, we only look for a cure.

First and foremost, remove all rotting fruits or vegetables, whole or in part, and dispose of them away from your home. If you have overripe fruits that you can still use, put them in the refrigerator and delay the ripening process.  

Try making a fruit fly trap. I'd recommend filling a bowl with water and vinegar and adding pieces of overripe fruit. Cover it with a thin plastic sheet and secure it tightly on all sides using one or two rubber bands. Poke some holes on the plastic sheet and leave it on the counter. 

The fermented smell of the fruit attracts the fruit flies, which enter through the small holes and don't find their way back out. Finally, their tired wings give them out, and they drop down into the liquid and die.

They hide in the sinkholes. Kill them instantly by pouring down a bowl of boiling water with vinegar into the drain hole.

Maintain a clean kitchen sink and never let the garbage pile up in its bin.

Wipe the countertops and cabinet exteriors clean.

If you have a bunch of unripe fruits that you want to store outside, wash and wipe them clean and keep them under a fly screen/protective net hood/tent.

  1. Ants: 

Photo by Clker-Free-Vector-Images/pixabay

 Are you having a stream of visitors to your kitchen and pantry shelves?

Just reminding you, ants are defiant and undeterred. They are not going to give up without putting on a proper fight. It is one man against an army.  

Fire ants bite very hard, causing damage to the skin of the victim. 

Others don't seem to pose any health hazard. Still, their presence is a silent message to other pests, denoting an abundance of food. 

Ways to Prevent Ant Infestation:

Clean the counter space regularly. Consider keeping all dry food stored in airtight sealed containers making it difficult for them to find it. The pest deterrent list is endless. Choose one for yourself according to its availability: vinegar, pepper, cinnamon, peppermint, salt, dishwashing liquid spray, lemons and orange, and so on.

 Are ants still uncontrollable? Let me share a solution that worked great for me. Find the anthill. You may find it in the crevices or nooks of a window or a door or any such safe secret spot in your house. Spray an insecticide into the entry point and along their trail. You did it! Repeat whenever the problem resurfaces.

  1. Pantry Pests

Photo by Clker-Free-Vector-Images/pixabay

 This enemy gets past all your tight security checks and is safe and sound right inside the storage containers in the flour, rice, etc. Their target food is dried food, including crackers, pasta, spices, beans, peas, corn, powdered milk, seeds, nuts, etc. 

These pests effortlessly move into improperly closed chips, cookies, cereal packages, and jars with loose-fitting lids. 

Various pantry pests cause allergies and can spoil the food. They usually lay eggs, hatch them in the stored food, and contaminate the food with their excreta and dead skin.

Ways to Prevent Pantry Pest Infestation:

  • The best way to keep this one under check is to use the pantry items regularly and not stockpiling them or stow them for too long.
  • Always remember to check the dry food for its freshness and expiry date when you buy them.
  • If mild infestation is found and you still want to use the contents, freeze or heat the container to kill the pests, remove the dead pests and use them up as quickly as possible.
  • Adding cinnamon or bay leaf to these containers is an excellent way of repelling many of these pantry pests.
  • When you grind a portion of the spice powder, add a teaspoon of salt and grind it along with the spices. The salt in the powder will serve as a pest repellent and will keep it fresh longer.
  • If you happen to buy the spice powder, you can add the same amount of salt to the spice bottle and shake it thoroughly for uniform mixing.
  • Use clean and dry bottles, canisters, Tupperware containers, rubber sealed, airtight containers for storage.
  • Clean the cupboards, kitchen shelves, kitchen countertop, kitchen floor, and washbasin on a regular basis. Keeping it clean is the way to go.
  • Make it into a habit to clean regularly, not just after a spill accident or infestation. This way, your pantry pests will find themselves unwelcome in your kitchen and will soon leave the spot.  

  1. House Flies

Photo by fantareis/pixabay

 House flies are dirt lovers. Once they enter your house, they will act like they own your home and everything in it. They will sit on everything – starting from your face, food, clothes, furniture, floor to the kitchen counter – the list is endless. They are fast, swift, and hard to swat down.

They have a filthy lifestyle which contributes to them carrying diseases like food poisoning and dysentery.

Ways to Prevent House Flies Infestation:

The best way to keep these pests away is by installing storm doors and screened windows that give 100% protection from these flying pests but allows good air ventilation.

Keep all the food covered, and never allow the housefly to sit on your food. Trash the food that the housefly has contaminated.

You can use essential oils like peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus, and lemongrass as they find these aromatic oils repulsive.

Using a flypaper trap will help to some extent.

Despite all these measures, if a housefly or two find their way into your home, the best way is to swat them down with a swatter or rolled newspaper. Allow the housefly to sit down comfortably at a place and when it is relaxing, hit hard on it with a swatter or a newspaper roll. Let the blow be precise and hard. You will be an expert in no time. But, of course, you need patience too to kill that impulsive fly.

  1. Rodents:

Photo by Comfreak/pixabay

 Rodent droppings in your kitchen? This tell-tale sign tells you that you have a rat family that has moved into your home.

These invasive pests require our immediate attention and need to be taken care of quickly. They ruin your kitchen, its stocked supplies, and your peace of mind. They are harmful disease carriers that put your whole family's health in jeopardy.

They are proven to spread Hantavirus, salmonella, and numerous others and host many pests like fleas, lice, ticks, and mites and help them move around.

Ways to Prevent Rodent Infestation:

If you are like me and don't want to face this invader and have a volunteering spouse, just let them do the job. But if you are staying alone or don't have the energy or time for warfare, go ahead and call the Pest Control Services, and they will be kind enough to come by and do the job.

After you get rid of them, keep a careful eye for this particular pest. Secure your kitchen from rats and mice and seal off all possible entry points, especially those with outlets like sewage pipes and drainage pipes. 

Flues and hood vents also should be covered with a wire net as rodents are excellent climbers. In addition, they can squeeze in through even tiny holes as they do not have a collarbone. So, keeping their anatomy in mind, reinforce your house and double-check that all possible entry points are closed to the best of your knowledge.

Coming to a close, cleaning up the mess immediately, maintaining dirt-free countertops, stoves, shelves, and cupboards, moving the trash out routinely, maintaining a clutter-free kitchen, and keeping vigil is the mandate of owning and enjoying a pest-free kitchen and home.

Happy housekeeping! You are the best.

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