You wander into your kitchen in the middle of the night to get a glass of water. When you turn on the light, you see cockroaches scurry to the shadows under the cabinets. When you open up your cabinets, you see unwanted pantry pests lurking within. While prevention is the best way to keep bugs out of your home and kitchen, you can still rid your space of unwanted pests once they have decided to invade. Follow these tips to take back your kitchen from meddlesome insects
1. Prevent Entry
Bugs do not respect a locked door, so you have to seal up any possible entry point from the outside. Armed with your caulking gun, seal up any visible holes on the exterior of your home. If there are cracks in your foundation, have them repaired. Test the doors and windows of your home to see if there is an air leak. If air can get in, so can cockroaches. Replace worn weather stripping to seal up the leak and keep bugs out.
2. Block the Inner Path
Once you have sealed the outside of your home, set up a secondary barrier on the inside. Inspect your walls, baseboards and cupboards for cracks and crevices. Grab that caulking gun again and make those cracks disappear. This is especially important if you live in an apartment building, as you have no control over the pest control efforts of your neighbors. Just because they have cockroaches, however, does not mean you have to resign yourself to that fate.
3. Fix Water Leaks
Pantry pests, particularly roaches, love water. If your kitchen sink or the pipes underneath it leak, bugs consider it an open invitation. Fixing the leak and drying out your cabinetry gets rid of their oasis in your home. It also prevents water damage that can weaken the cabinet’s structure, allowing for holes through which bugs can enter.
4. Cool It Off
If you are looking for another reason to crank up your air conditioner, you can always cite pest control. Cockroaches take advantage of the formidable heat of summer to spread their wings and fly. The warmer it is, the better their muscles function. Keeping your home as cool as possible may not kill them, but it probably will keep them from going airborne and might make them slower, easier targets.
5. Cover Items Up
If pantry pests invade your kitchen, they are going to go right for the snacks. Put pet food up at night in a sealed receptacle to ensure that it does not lure pests. Keep your pantry items in airtight, leakproof containers that keep bugs out and seal in freshness. Stay aware of the expiration dates of all your pantry items, as food tends to expand when it rots or goes stale, potentially leading to bursting packages that signal a smorgasbord for cockroaches. Keeping food sealed away leaves exploring insects nothing to find.
6. Keep It Clean
A clean kitchen is less likely to attract unwanted pests. Bugs have a built-in radar for food remnants left on dirty dishes. Wash dishes every time you cook or eat, and wipe down cabinets to remove any remaining food particles that are left behind. It is also a good idea to sweep the floor every night to clean up anything that has spilled from the countertops. A free meal signals welcome. Do not give the insects that long to infest your home the satisfaction of giving them a reason to stick around.
7. Dry It Up
As mentioned before, cockroaches love moisture and will seek it out any chance they get. If your pantry is not well ventilated, it could become just the sort of damp environment that pantry pests love. Make sure that the place you store your food has sufficient airflow to keep everything dry and pest free.
8. Centralize Food
Try to store and consume all food in a centralized location. It might be tempting to take a midnight snack to bed, but spreading crumbs out over the house makes it more difficult to keep everything clean and free of bug infestations. If food is only allowed in certain areas of your home, you do not have to worry about food becoming a temptation for cockroaches to enter through every window, crack and drain.
9. Use the Bait
If you do find bugs in your kitchen, it is time to go to war. Roach bait comes in a wide variety of applications and strengths, so it is easy to find a product to solve your particular problem. Putting baits near water sources and in corners can help curtail the problem. Several products also offer a gel-based substance you can squeeze into crevices if you want a treatment that is a little more discreet. If you have small children or pets, you can opt for a more natural solution, such as a sprinkling of boric acid, which is safe for humans and larger animals but toxic to cockroaches.
10. Call the Experts
Whether you are preventing pantry pests or treating an existing problem, it is vital to call extermination specialists to assist in the process. A regular perimeter treatment around the outside of your house can help discourage pests from getting near it. Most pest control experts are willing to set up a regular schedule so that you know when to expect them every month or quarter. They can also spray the perimeter of your kitchen. Be sure to follow preparation instructions closely prior to their visit so that they can spray for cockroaches without endangering your family’s health.
10 Ways to Win the Fight
There are many things you can do to fight against pantry pests. Ideally, your prevention efforts will be successful so that you do not have to contend with unwanted insects in your kitchen. If you discover that an infestation is already present, however, there are measures you can take to remedy the problem. If you see cockroaches scurrying across the floor or counters at night, you now have the tools to turn your kitchen into an inhospitable place for them.
I really enjoy researching and writing about pests. The more we know about bugs, the easier it becomes to control them.