How can I keep those little pesty worms out of my flour, oatmeal and other dry products? I remember a good tip a long time ago, but cannot remember what it was.
I used to have the same problem, now I store my flour, sugar, etc. in large gallon size jars (like the ones pickles come in) this works really well as long as they have the screw on lids. You can probably find some jars at a thrift store or yard sale. I got mine at a yard sale for a quarter. Good luck to you. (02/20/2005)
It also helps to store a whole bay leaf in your dry goods. (02/20/2005)
I keep everything that I have room for in my fridge and freezer during the summer months, pasta, flour, mixes, etc. Anything with a screw on lid, like wen1 said, above, is excellent if you do not have room or do not want to put things in your fridge or freezer. Bay leaves are also great in your food, too, like Jeanine said.
I store mine in the freezer for about 3 days, then empty into gallon jars with screw on lids or plastic containers with sealing lids. If you seal them in containers without the freezer treatment first, you may still be bothered with mealy worms since there may be unhatched eggs in your product. I buy flour by 25 pounds at a time, and use this method. I store in a 5 gallon plastic bucket with a sealing lid and have only had a bug problem on a couple occasions. Once when I didn't freeze the flour first, and once when I didn't push my lid all that way to seal it.
All of the great hints that have been sent really do work. One thing I would add, besides the bay leaves in your jars, is laying them, plus sticks of spearmint chewing gum loosely on your shelves. I don't know how it works, but it does work, another "Heloise" hint from long ago. Try it, you will be surprised to see them all dead on your shelves. Change it out occasionally! (02/21/2005)
I've had success with dried jalapeno peppers. Put one in the bottom and one on top, in whatever container is used. I also use this for grains, beans, pasta, etc. kept in containers at room temperature. (02/22/2005)
The bugs we are talking about here are called Indian Meal Worms, and they turn into small moths. Mealy worms are something different, a type of beetle. I found that it is important to find the source of the infestation, and in many cases, it is a bag of birdseed or a similar product for pets. Sometimes they are found in spice jars, even red pepper jars, too. I am attaching a link to a page all about Indian Meal Worms and how to get rid of them. If you keep finding them in your house, you haven`t found all the infested products in your home yet, so search every dry product, all grains, cereals, powdered milk, raisins, spices, and baking powders, too. The cobwebs at the top of the container are a sure sign that the product must go:
Good luck! (07/25/2008)
No matter how hard you try to rid your dry goods from these worms they will be there. The eggs are in the flour, oatmeal, cornmeal, etc. They start out at the wheat plant and lay eggs. The eggs are so small, they pass through the manufacturing process and once in the product they will hatch. I have put flour in the freezer for 2 weeks and the eggs still hatched. I think it has to be set well below zero to kill them off. So if you put your food in a sealed container you will still gets the worms/moths. (11/17/2008)
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