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Keeping Bugs Out of Plastic Food Containers

Category Advice
Many consumers prevent the explosion of pantry moths and weevils, by freezing their dry goods when brought home from the store. There are other methods to try as well. This is a guide about keeping bugs out of plastic food containers.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

September 21, 2008

I am getting pantry moths and those little bugs that burrow into pasta. Maybe the same bug at different stages? I have resorted to cleaning the pantry every two weeks and I try to put everything in plastic containers. Clearly they are not sealing properly since some of them are STILL being infested.

I just had to throw away 8 pounds of pasta. It was SO infested I stopped trying to pick out the un-infested ones and tossed it all. They are destroying my pasta and cereal. I buy bulk and store it. I sometimes get great deals $1 a box name brand cereal, etc..

Does anyone have suggestions? I am thinking of putting a heavy "bead" around the top of the inside of the lids with HOT glue, screw it on a tiny bit take it off and let it dry. Would this provide an airtight seal to keep the bugs out and is it food safe?

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Also, I heard some people "replace" the air in their containers with CO2. I have paintball stuff so getting CO2 is easy and I found I can get a "nozzle" fitting. CO2 is heavier than air so as long as I fill slow, give the O2 a place to escape from and keep them upright the CO2 should stay inside the containers. Will this work?

Chris from Levittown, PA

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By guest (Guest Post)
September 21, 20080 found this helpful
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When you seal them in jars make SURE to pop them into the freezer overnight. This kills any moth eggs that are in your grain products. That should ultimately take care of your problem.

Also, when you buy cereal, flours, or grains like rice or oats, pop THEM in the freezer overnight as well for the same reason.

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September 21, 20080 found this helpful
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I put bay leaves around my cereal boxes, pasta boxes, and flour bags. I'm certainly not a good housekeeper and I'm sure I don't get the "bugs" because I use the bay leaves. Good luck.

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September 21, 20080 found this helpful
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I know this sounds gross but have you considered that some of the product you buy has already been infested? I have heard of people often freezing their foods as soon as they get home for a couple days to a week and that will ensure that any bugs or eggs that were in there are dead.

If you can store your stuff in the freezer that would be ideal but if not, I would invest in good glass jars with an airtight seal.

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September 22, 20080 found this helpful
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You need to find the source of the infestation. One or possibly a few of your foods are infested. Find them and throw them out. Check your other pantry items carefully. Then buy some "pantry pest" containers (find at your local hardware store) to prevent further trouble. They are triangular cardboard containers you place in your cupboard. The problem are those small moths. Be wary if you see them flying about!

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September 22, 20080 found this helpful
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For years I have stored flour, cake mixes, rice, oats, etc in my big freezer. No insects! I've lived miles from any grocery store all of my 79 years so I try to keep staples on hand to be ready for feeding visitors, grandkids, etc whenever they pop in. My mother used bay leaves and spearmint gum sticks on the shelves of her cabinets. That works too.

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September 22, 20080 found this helpful
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Additional info:

The bayleaves do not go into the jar, they go on the shelves and drawers. Make sure little fingers and pets do not access to them. Not poisonous, but the sharpness of them make them not swallowable. They can perforate inside the body.

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September 25, 20080 found this helpful
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I have a large cedar lined closet which is so deep that there was a lot of wasted space so I moved the clothes rod toward the door and built shelves behind to use as a pantry. I have had NO bugs in anything since I started using this to store flour, rice, pasta, etc. in there. (I have been using the closet now for a couple of years.) I was thinking if you had a piece of cedar you could put on your cupboard shelves this might solve your problem.

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 7, 20080 found this helpful
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I have an elderly friend who has a set of shelves and the whole thing is made of cedar. I thought she was crazy until I read your letters. She did have the right idea.

You people are talking of storing the kind of things that get bugs in the freezer for days. I just made a place in the freezer for permanent storage. Also you don't have to dig through the cupboard to find these things.

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December 8, 20110 found this helpful
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When I moved to the house we are in now I suddenly was faced with bugs in my pantry. I use the freezer method freezing everything possible - rice, oatmeal, pasta, flour, sugar, etc.

Every couple of months I take everything out of my pantry wipe it down well with vinegar water and then scatter bay leaves on my pantry shelves and also cotton balls dipped in peppermint go in each corner (I read that somewhere else on Thrifty fun) have not had a problem since.

I also for some thing that I don't think has a real good seal I place a coffee filter over the top before placing the lid on. Not sure if that helps but it doesn't hurt.

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October 8, 20080 found this helpful

We tried Cedar and Eucalyptus no joy for these specific bugs at least (they work great for some bugs)

These bugs "IGNORE" the cedar. They even land and gather on it (no more or less than anything else)

I ordered some bay leaves off ebay (is green or dried any different?) The next time I get cereal and pasta I will definitely do the Freezer trick!

I will report back on the results.

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