Tricks to ward off pests in the kitchen when cooking for the holidays


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It’s almost the holidays, and we can just picture your life over the next few weeks. The lights are being untangled. The baking pans have been freed from storage. Your favorite recipes are splayed out on the counter.

And while you’re deciding whom to invite to the impending holiday extravaganzas, don’t forget to be on the lookout for some unwanted critters that may try to invade your festivities.

“Pantry pests tend to gather around food — such as flour, cereals, spices and chocolate — stored in cabinets,” said Missy Henriksen, VP public affairs for the National Pest Management Association. “They can easily contaminate stored food and become a serious problem if left unchecked.”

Thanks to the NPMA, you can ensure — or at least make a valiant effort — to keep bugs and rodents away during the holidays.

Here are their six go-to tips:


Proper storage

Invest in some heavy plastic or glass containers with airtight, secure lids.


Bay leaf

Include a bay leaf to canisters and packages of dry goods; the herb’s scent repels many pests.


Inspect groceries — before you head home

Many times, the vermin you find in your pantry were already in the items you buy at the supermarket. Make sure you check your food holes or broken seals before putting them in your grocery cart.


Check expiration dates

Check those dates on your baking ingredients — especially if they’re been sitting in your cabinets for years. In addition, take a minute to inspect them before you jump in your bake-athon.



Wipe up crumbs and spills as soon as you find them, and clean cupboards with soap and water to remove food residue.


Seal cracks

Seak cracks and holes where pests might be coming into your home.