Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine Diva's at Work....literally

Our awesome office Divas helping to prepare items for Goody Wag Bags for the Paws In Motion Walk-A-Thon. If you would like to get your paws on your own free travel pet water bottle (and who knows what other surprises) be the first 500 walkers on Saturday, March 9. Visit Humane Society of Manatee County for more info.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What's In Your Frosty Flakes?

stored product pests  infested foods
Discovering "bugs" in your breakfast cereal may be disgusting, but it isn't unusual -after all, pantry pests (a.k.a. stored product pests) enjoy munching on the same type of foods that we do.  We recently received a text from a young lady panicking over the worm-like things appearing on her counter top.   What she thought were maggots, actually ended up being a sign of pantry pests.  No one is exempt from the infestation possibility.  In fact we brought them into our home a few months ago.  We purchased some dog treats at a specialty pets store and discovered upon getting home that the bag was  a-l-i-v-e.  We were fortunate to have found the problem right away, rather than after the treat munchers infested other items in our pantry.
There are several different varieties of pantry pests and whenever possible it is best to determine which one is causing havoc in your home.  It will help narrow down possible food resources that they are using and harborage areas.  Typically the first signs of a pantry pest problem are moths, small brown beetles or tiny worms on the wall, counter, shelf or pantry floor.
Of course these insects can't roll up in the McDonald's drive thru for their next meal---that's why they are at your house.  Their favorite foods include dried goods-especially those containing grains, dried fruits and nuts.  Baking mixes, flours, spices, cereals, powdered milk, pastas, bird seed, dry pet food and pet treats---(obviously-refer to 1st paragraph).  Even unopened boxes of cake mixes, puddings, cereal, crackers, popcorn, etc. can have an infestation.  Some varieties will even feed on dried flower arrangements and some eat...chocolate-Oh ya-I went there!  Chocolate! 
Ok...So what do you do about it?   First thing is inspect.  Everything.  It is time consuming, boring and yep tedious, but you will never get rid of the problem if you try to skim thru it.  Empty your pantry, your beloved cookie or cereal cabinet or the pet food/treat stash.  You are checking for holes in unopened packages, looking for bugs (or parts of them) in clear bags, check areas where crumbs gather-behind appliances or canned goods, look for any webbing and check the shelves-and above them in each of these areas.
Infested items need to be sealed up and removed from the home immediately.  Your other option is to throw the item into a freezer bag then in to the freezer to kill off the bugs.  Items not infested need to be sealed in an air tight container.  Thoroughly vacuum -all areas including crevices and wash cupboards, pantry shelves, floors, etc. to remove any spilled food stuff and any insect fragments.  Seal the vacuum bag in a plastic bag immediately after vacuuming and take it outside.
The bright side?  Once you locate and eliminate all infested foods, you have cleaned thoroughly, and repackaged the remaining items in sealed containers, any remaining adults (beetles or moths) will be looking for another food source to deposit their eggs.  -But you have done your job, which means they can't do theirs.  Nice.
Yeah, It's a pain in the butt to get rid of them. But... once you have eliminated your problem you can help avoid future infestations. Repackage materials in properly sealed clear containers.  Inspect new items-as soon as you bring them into the home, especially discounted or nearly expired products.  Rotate your food products to use older items first.
Now you can sit back and enjoy that bowl of cereal once again....and know -it's just a bowl of cereal.