Kitchens have always been a gathering place in the home;
however, there are some unwelcome visitors homeowners would rather not gather
in the place where we store, cook and eat our food - pests! Cockroaches,
rodents, fruit flies and pantry pests can all easily find their way into
kitchens contaminating foods, spreading bacteria and ruining a
"sacred" space in the home. As many families gear up for the holiday
season, which involves a lot of cooking and baking and leftovers, the National
Pest Management Association reminds homeowners to remember that this is also
the time of year many pests are looking for food and shelter - often inside
Kitchen Pest Dangers
There may be nothing grosser than a cockroach scurrying into
a corner or under the fridge as you enter the kitchen - and for good reason.
Cockroaches spread 33 kinds of bacteria including E coli and salmonella, six
parasitic worms and more than seven other types of human pathogens.
Additionally, their saliva, droppings and decomposing bodies contain allergen
proteins known to trigger allergies and increase the severity of asthma
symptoms. Pest Control Salmon arm
Each winter these sharp toothed, disease-carriers typically
invade 21 million homes in the U.S. bringing with them a slew of dangers. Mice
and rats spread salmonella bacteria and hantavirus, and they can carry other
disease-causing pests, such as ticks, fleas and lice. Rodents can also chew
through wood and electrical wires increasing the risk of home fires. Prevention
is the name of the game with rodents though because when they move in, they
quickly make themselves at home - a female mouse can have as many as 12 babies
every three weeks!
Contrary to popular belief, these flies do not come from the
interior of the decaying fruit and are not spontaneously "born" from
rotting fruit. Instead, they are able to
detect the yeast produced by fermenting fruit, even from great distances. Once
they have identified an intended target, they have little trouble getting to it
as their tiny size allows them to enter a home through miniscule cracks and
crevices. Most window screens won't
deter them either.
These insects tend to gather around food often stored in
pantries and cabinets such as flour, dry cereals, spices, candies and
chocolate. Common pantry pests include several types of beetles, Indian meal
moths and ants.
Prevention As a First
Line of Defense Against Pests
NPMA recommends the following preventative measures to
ensure your kitchen, pantry and holiday goodies remain pest free.
Immediately wipe up any crumbs or spills from countertops,
tables, floors and shelves.
Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage
regularly in sealed receptacles.
Only purchase food in sealed packages that show no sign of
Add a bay leaf to canisters and packages of dry goods like
flour, rice and other grains- their pungent scent repels many pantry pests. Stinging Insect
Check expiration dates on baking ingredients before use.
If you keep fresh fruit on the counter, check it often for
signs of over-ripening or decay. As female fruit flies lay an average of 500
eggs on the surface of fermenting fruit, it's best to dispose of the fruit in
outdoor trash cans to prevent those eggs from hatching in your indoor trash.
Run your garbage disposal regularly.
Don't let dirty dishes pile up and stand in the sink for
long periods of time.
Don't leave pet food and water bowls sit out for long
periods of time.
Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair damaged
Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and
Seal cracks and crevices on the outside of the home and
around the kitchen, especially around stove and water pipes.
If you suspect a pest infestation in your home, contact a
licensed pest professional to inspect, identify and treat the problem.