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Bulk Bins and Pests

Bulk Bins and Pests

As specialty stores and the no waste movement take hold of the Triangle, we are seeing more and more stores with bulk bins of grains, nuts, and seeds. 

Whether you’re trying to eat clean this new year, save money, or reduce waste, bulk bins are a great option for your most commonly used pantry items. These bins enable you to purchase as much or as little product as you want, without having to pay for packaging. Items are priced by weight, and you can store the products in your own storage container at home. This type of system is a great option for shoppers, but it does carry with it the potential for some pest problems if the shopper is not informed. Here are some tips for keeping your bulk purchases pest free:

Store all bulk purchases in well-sealed glass or thick plastic jars. A sturdy, well-sealed jar will keep pantry pests from entering your bulk nuts or grains from the outside. Not only is this a physical barrier to entry, but the tight seal keeps attractive food odors from attracting pests. Some stores with bulk bins even have recommended storage jars at the end of the bin aisle. Do not use plastic baggies for long-term storage. Many common pantry pests have chewing mouthparts that easily tear through thin plastic. 

Don’t buy more than you will eat in a few months. I’ve been there. I can’t control myself around the bulk bins. Do I need 10 pounds of oatmeal? No. Have I gotten carried away and purchased 10 pounds of oatmeal? Absolutely. While it’s very tempting to stock up on grain for the year (especially when there’s a coupon!), it’s best to limit yourself to what you will eat in the next two to three months. Not only will this help ensure the grains remain fresh, but it helps reduce the amount of exposure time to potential pantry pests. As much as we don’t like to talk about it, bulk products may contain insects eggs from their time in a large silo. These eggs are so tiny that you won’t notice them and they don’t affect taste. By keeping these bulk products for an extended time in your pantry, these eggs might have time to hatch and cause a pest problem in your home. 

Don’t “top off” your containers. Finish all contents and wash jars before adding new products. Even one stray grain of rice can harbor an insect. By finishing all product before adding new, you ensure your food is fresh and reduce the chances of an infestation. 

By following these tips, you can protect your home and save money on food and pest control. If you think you have developed a pantry pest problem, call Innovative Pest Solutions today!