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Old 11/16/10, 01:06 AM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: B.C.
Posts: 386
Keeping bugs out of the pantry?

I've just moved into the new place, and stocking my very first pantry. I just realized that rolled oats and all the other cereals can develop moths and what not.
Do I need to seal everything in rubbermaids as well or is there something else more cost effective? This is getting expensive.

I noticed the LDS suggest adding packets that take air out of stored items. Is this worthwhile or over kill- and if required where do you buy them?

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Old 11/16/10, 01:12 AM
longrider's Avatar
Southern Gent
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Opelika Alabama.
Posts: 410

I went to Walmart and bought 12....2.5gal. glass jars. They have platic seals and make sense for oft used grains, beans, flour and such. They have a smaller size but I like these larger ones to pour from my 6 gal dehydrated bean buckets.

I also like them because you can see at an instant what is in them and how much.
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Old 11/16/10, 01:20 AM
texican's Avatar  
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Carthage, Texas
Posts: 12,322
I use canning jars or sealable 4 gallon frosting buckets. Rubbermaids won't keep varmints out. Bulk packages go in the buckets, daily use in quart or gallon jars... glass all the way.
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Seneca
Learning is not compulsory... neither is survival. W. Edwards Deming
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Old 11/16/10, 01:21 AM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: B.C.
Posts: 386
Nice idea.
And if by chance bugs came in your oats, will they die off in there or will they just be contained?

Are there products that don't need special protection (or some that specifically do?)
I was thinking dried beans should be fine in the bags they come in?
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Old 11/16/10, 01:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Central Arkansas
Posts: 192
Originally Posted by Dexter View Post
I noticed the LDS suggest adding packets that take air out of stored items. Is this worthwhile or over kill- and if required where do you buy them?
The Oxygen Absorbers are mostly meant for items that you put up sealed for a long period of time. If you are in and out of the container they will not be effective...think of them as being saturated with oxygen.
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Old 11/16/10, 01:28 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 186
I pack loose grains in gallon and half-gallon glass jars, then freeze them for a few days to kill off any already-present critters. It's worked so far. Plastic bags and plastic storage boxes haven't shown the same results (be aware that mice will chew through plastic bags to get the goodies, even beans!).
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Old 11/16/10, 01:31 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,522
Your approach to preventing moths, weevils, etc. from infesting your stored foods is not just to do a single thing.

I suggest doing what I always do. First, FREEZE everything that is a grain based product that you plan to store. Flour, cornmeal, barley, rice, oats, cream of wheat, pasta, taco shells, ramen noodles, etc. Yes, even foods that have been processed like ramen noodles and pasta. If it is grain based---freeze it. This kills off any insects and eggs present. I also freeze dried beans and peas. When I buy bags of flour, I just wrap it in the plastic grocery sack and put it in the freezer for about a week, maybe 10 days, set it on the counter to come to room temperature, and then store. I store the sacks inside ziplock freezer bags in the pantry. The whole point of freezing is to stop bringing insects in from outside your home in the food you buy.

Next, if you store bird seed, cat or dog food, or poultry food inside your house, make sure that the tops are always sealed in some way--either put the bags inside a container with a tight fitting lid, or if nothing else just roll the top down tightly on the bag and put a big clip on it. Any stray meal moths will get into open bags of animal feed and multiply like crazy. If you keep bird seed for feeding wild birds or indoor pet birds, they can be frozen too.

Then you need to monitor your pantry all the time--every day peek in to make sure no insects are present. No moths, no weevils crawling around. It also helps to set out a few meal moth traps if you can find them.

Since I began freezing everything that could harbor insects for at least a week or more before storing in ziplock bags or plastic containers with lids that snap on tightly, or in glass jars with screw down lids, I haven't had any problems. I lost a LOT of food several years ago, and I swore I'd never have that problem again. I even had little things in the sealed packages of spaghetti--they looked like tiny thrips or something.

Just my suggestion. It works for me.
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Old 11/16/10, 09:27 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: michigan
Posts: 23,896
I extra seal every container with electrical tape. It stretches and sticks well.
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Old 11/16/10, 10:55 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Alaska
Posts: 1,935
If you live in a cold climate like me, you leave your stuff outside in your vehicle. Even the grains have been stored without heat at the feed store-they've been frozen a bunch already.

I have 100s of pounds of stuff to cope with over the next week, I use plastic buckets.
A glimpse into my life and thoughts up here in Southcentral Alaska-visit my blog
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Old 11/16/10, 11:11 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 7,799
I'm another one who likes glass jars. I have dozens of gallon and half gallon jars from They're not cheap, but they last forever and I like that they're mouse proof, can be vacuum sealed, and I can see what's in them. If you vacuum seal the contents, moths and other vermin can't survive, although I do freeze items I plan to use in my long-term storage. I save the boxes they send the jars in, and store the filled jars in them, labeled on the outside. The boxes stack nicely so I don't have to worry about jars falling. If you use this company, you'll have to buy the lids separately, but I've been very happy with everything I've bought from them.

I have a lot of stuff sealed in vacuum bags and gasket-lidded buckets, but I really prefer glass.

Last edited by unregistered29228; 11/16/10 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 11/16/10, 11:18 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: NE PA Near Lake Wallenpaupack
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We scatter bay leaves on the pantry shelves, along with freezing and double wrapping items.
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Old 11/16/10, 12:22 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Carthage, Texas
Posts: 12,322
Anything not stored in glass or steel cans can and will harbor mealy moths and other insects. I've seen mealy moths in bags of nuts! Cardboard and plastic only are inconveniences to insects. Like others mentioned, if your storing long term, you need to freeze first to kill any insects or eggs.
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Seneca
Learning is not compulsory... neither is survival. W. Edwards Deming
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Old 11/16/10, 12:36 PM
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In Remembrance
Join Date: May 2004
Location: SE Missouri
Posts: 28,248
Make your own mealy moth traps. Put a few tablespoons of flour in a disposable bowl or cup and put something over the top that they can crawl under. A piece of paper that has been crimped a little to allow some space between it and the edge of the container works well. Check it weekly for signs of webs or just burn it and put a fresh one in. The moths will lay their eggs in the most convenient spot, which is your trap (if you keep the pantry clean and vacuum any spills immediately.)
I believe in God's willingness to heal.

Cyngbaeld's Keep Heritage Farm, breeding a variety of historical birds and LaMancha goats. (It is pronounced King Bold.)
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Old 11/16/10, 01:13 PM
bee bee is offline
WV , hilltop dweller
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 3,598
Several sorces of meal moth infestations you may not think of..the crumb tray in your toaster, the residue in your grinder, the flour that gets stuck in your sifter seams and ANY chocolate or nuts that get left in an out of the way spot and forgotten.

When buying plastic packaged beans, rice or soup mixes at the market look for small ROUND holes in the plastic..the female moth will chew these to gain entrance to lay eggs.

No, none of this stuff has ever happened to me..right! Oh yeah, they like the stuff with oils,bran and the germ intact but yes they WILL infest your polished white rice.
" As needs-MUST!!"--- in other words..a gal does what a gal has too!
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Old 11/17/10, 11:40 AM
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 81
I second the crumbled bay leaves idea. We tried it for those little black bugs that can come in with your flour and oats. It ran them all off and we never had the problem again.

It doesn't take much either. We crumbled them so that there was a fine sprinkling of them about every 6-8 inches along the back of the shelves.
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Old 11/17/10, 12:26 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Missouri
Posts: 4,440
We use bay leafs,too. And all the everyday storage is in 2 qt. canning jars. Have actually found weevils in factory sealed pkgs. of crackers so don't leave anything opened. Living in an old farm house we have frequent mouse visitors so I'm very particular about food storage. Rice seems to be easily contaminated....I admit to rinsing bugs off and using anyhow and discovered my son does the same!!!! I pretend I'm a peasant and this is the only food I have...which could well be the sceanario in the future and think most Americans are way too squeemish about blemishes in their food. When we had our commercial orchard it was amazing how people would pick thru the fruit for "perfect" pieces. Rather eat a few bugs than be part of recalls for samonella or such. DEE

Last edited by Mutti; 11/17/10 at 12:35 PM. Reason: doofus
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Old 11/19/10, 01:25 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Indiana
Posts: 328
When packing the frosting buckets w/ beans and grains for long term storage, do you include some type of bag as well?
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Old 11/19/10, 07:28 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: michigan
Posts: 23,896
I read that basically any type of Herb will deter bugs. So cheep bay leaves from the dollar store , and Lavender stalks from the garden go in my cupboards. I like glass also-no transference of orders ect. Go right to the bulk/big container section of the store and see what you will need that gets you another gallon glass jar. Some things like pickels,olives etc. come in big glass jars. These I get cause Olives last so long anyway for making Pizza. Then ya got family gatherings,graduations ect.-more reasons to use foods that come in big jars. Ya, the jar is more important to me than the food in it. Jars last. (I know, cheep thrills).
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Old 11/20/10, 12:21 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: middle GA
Posts: 16,654
I didn't know that about bay leaves. Will have to give it a try. For us, we just freeze stuff like flour, dried beans, oats, etc for 30 days, then we vacumn seal them and put them in a plastic bin with a sealed lid. Seems to be working for us.
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