*My War With Bugs*
One of the first things I have learned since the battle began is that NO box, bag, or regular packaging will prevent bugs. The food we eat typically comes in thin cardboard boxes with a very thin plastic bag inside (cereals, chips, etc). There area variety of ‘pantry bugs’ that will saw right through these weak barriers and do so very quickly.
The second realization I had was that many products have insect eggs in them when we buy them. Flour, cereal, and rice usually do. I know, it doesn’t sound very appetizing, but it is a fact of life. If you leave it in the regular packaging in your pantry, and it is contaminated, you will have pests in everything else that is not sealed. If you seal it in a container, and it is contaminated, at least you can dispose of it before anything else is affected. With the proper air tight containers, you literally trap them INSIDE the food and only lose one item, instead of your entire inventory.
When I buy flour, rice, cake mixes, pasta, etc., I typically store it in my freezer for 48-72 hours before I pour it into my ‘pantry containers’. As my food ‘preps’ and bulk food levels began to grow over the years, I decided that an airtight plastic container was a *must*. I began hunting around the various kitchen and dept. stores and discovered two different brands that suited my needs in both size and quality.
and ClickClack Containers
Of the two, I am still undecided which is the better. The Oxo brand has a ‘button’ on top. When you put the lid on, it creates an air tight seal with a rubber gasket and when the button is pushed, it creates a mini-vacuum effect at the edges of the gasket, creating an even tighter seal!
The ClickClacks operate on the same principle, but with a manual ‘two-button’ push instead. I did purchase a rectangular ClickClack and I must say, I am impressed with it. Its design is a bit different, using two ‘latches’ on the lid that snap onto the container. This lid also has a gasket on the insides, creating a very solid seal. I typically store sugar, coffee, chocolate chips, etc. in these containers and use the big round ones for powders and grains.
When I tried pulling the tops off of each one after being ‘sealed’, I found that the ClickClacks are a bit harder to pull off (which means it has a greater vacuum seal) but both do a great job creating a seal.
Both brands are quite thick. I dropped one full of oatmeal a few days ago and the lid didn’t come off; and the plastic didn’t even crack. They are pretty tough, far stronger than the little ‘snap on’ plastic containers you normally use for leftovers.
Both of these brands can be found for $7.99 - $24.99 depending on size and brand.
Typically, I buy my rice and pastas, flour, etc. in bulk (as most of us do!) and store them in my secondary pantry. I currently live in a small apartment and while my kitchen pantry is of a decent size, I still needed more (much more!) room to store bulk food items.
I purchased a Black & Decker storage cabinet typically sold near the ‘hardware/garage’ items at Sam’s Club or Home Depot and it has worked out perfectly for my needs! The shelves are adjustable and can hold quite a bit of weight. The cabinet cost approximately $75.00 and was pretty easy to assemble.
NOW I had a place to store my bulk flour and rice!
And then the war began…
I had purchased several 5 gallon buckets and mylar bags, used my vacuum sealer for freezer foods, and thought I was on the right track to preserving my food items for years! But then procrastination set in. I would look at the buckets and think, “ehh…I’ll do it this weekend!”
And to make a long story short; I was rotating some food into my kitchen pantry and making a rough inventory of what I had before moving to a new house. I began to check the dates and amounts in the various bags and boxes and noticed a small black bug on the shelf.
Welllll, I live in the hot and humid South. We have some REALLY weird bugs during the summer. At first, I assumed it was one of those creepy little southern bugs…but as soon as I picked up several pounds of pasta, I realized what it was.
My pasta was having a party without me. And instead, had invited about 200 of those little black bugs! And I ….hate…. bugs. With a passion. ANY kind of bug!
Horrified, I grabbed a large sack of rice next to the pasta. Was it infested, as well? The nicest way I can put it, is simply; imagine a bag of black and white rice dancing in a miniature MargaritaVille!
It was HEAVILY infested. The bugs had invaded! I grabbed the trashcan and began heaving pounds of bulk food into it. Had the bugs infested my entire pantry!? After carefully checking all of the packaging, cans and bags and throwing away everything that was infested…
I had lost;
82 lbs of rice
43 lbs of pasta
50 lbs of flour
2 lbs of potato flakes
2 dozen or so packs of snack crackers, etc.
Luckily, I keep quite a bit of everything in my regular kitchen pantry in those air tight containers so even if it were a bad situation, I could manage for several weeks on what I had in the kitchen.
I learned 5 things during this little ‘battle with the bugs’… or rather, RE-learned 5 things;
#1. Keep your food in a cool, dry area!
#2. Keep your bulk, unused foods in airtight containers - either buckets, mylar bags, thick plastic, SOMEthing!
#3. Check your food preps monthly if not weekly!
#4. Don't waste money on items if you aren't going to use them!
#5. Don't procrastinate and say, "I'll do it tomorrow" because TOMORROW might be too late!
Had I used my 5 gallon buckets and sealed them up properly, I would still have every single pound of food lost.
I know a lot of us LOVE our guns, and check on ammo levels all the time; we check on fuel levels, battery juice; top off pandemic supplies, always looking for a good deal on first aid gear, etc etc...
but as this lesson taught me; remain vigilant in ALL areas and check regularly!
The Evil Weevil!
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