Food Storage and Bugs

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Tracy, Feb 3, 2007.

  1. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    Bugs. I don't like 'em.

    I was talking to someone who had to throw out their entire pantry full of dried goods (flour, baking mixes, etc) due to little moths (mealy moths or birdseed moths or whatever they're called). She said they were even in sealed packages and spice jars.

    Somewhere here, there was a post about bugs in beans and I don't recall the answer to what bugs get into beans.

    How can this be avoided? Can dry stuff be stored without special treatment and still avoid an infestation?
    oldman11 likes this.
  2. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    I understand if stuff is stored in a metal or plastic pail, sprinkling diatomaceous earth inside clogs an insects joints,and protects the food..there's another name for the foodgrade earth....
    oldman11 likes this.
  3. ozarkgoatman

    ozarkgoatman Resident goat herder

    Bugs are just extra protien [dunno]
    oldman11 likes this.
  4. ripsnort

    ripsnort Monkey+++

    When you first buy something put it in an insect proof container and then put that in the freezer for two weeks. I have never had to resort to diatomaceous earth using this method. I think you have to mix diatomaceous earth into the food.
    oldman11 likes this.
  5. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    <TABLE class=tborder style="BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px" cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=6 width="100%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR title="Post 47294" vAlign=top><TD class=alt1 align=middle width=125>Tango3</TD><TD class=alt2>I understand if stuff is stored in a metal or plastic pail, sprinkling diatomaceous earth inside clogs an insects joints,and protects the food..there's another name for the foodgrade earth....</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    Interesting. I'd think that earth wouldn't hurt bugs at all. Then again; if it bothers the bugs, what are the effects on people? Does it give food a gritty, "dirt" taste?

    <TABLE class=tborder style="BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px" cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=6 width="100%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR title="Post 47307" vAlign=top><TD class=alt1 align=middle width=125>ozarkgoatman</TD><TD class=alt2>Bugs are just extra protien [dunno] </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    So is peanut butter. And it's much easier to spread on toast ;)

    <TABLE class=tborder style="BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px" cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=6 width="100%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR title="Post 47310" vAlign=top><TD class=alt1 align=middle width=125>ripsnort</TD><TD class=alt2>When you first buy something put it in an insect proof container and then put that in the freezer for two weeks. I have never had to resort to diatomaceous earth using this method. I think you have to mix diatomaceous earth into the food.</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>Really? Then after 2 weeks, I can pull it and store it indefinitely without bug worries?

    Okay, so let's say I already have a bit of baking goods, in original packaging, in my cupboards. If I freeze them, will it help to keep them bug-proof until the day I use them? These are day-to-day things, not long-term storage things.

    She said she had bugs in her spice jars. Spice jars. I would consider a glass jar bug-proof. Just freeze and store?

    I've done the transfer-to-Tupperware cupboard organization thing and found a lot of unusable space, so I reversed that and now leave everything in original packaging - it just has specific areas in my cupboards, allowing for maximum use of space. Just to be safe, would I need to go back to other containers for storage?

    I just love simple solutions! Keep 'em coming!!!
    oldman11 likes this.
  6. FalconDance

    FalconDance Neighborhood Witch

    A bay leaf in flour is supposed to keep mealybugs out, so I'd think it would work for any other dried goods.

    Recently I read something else did, too, but can't seem to dredge up the info offhand. Will try and look it up.

    D-earth is actually micro-tiny shards of diatoms (an itty bitty sea creature) that acts like minute razor blades to insect 'skin'. The bugs literally dehydrate (or bleed, I guess). Works *great* in the garden, isn't dangerous to humans unless you snuff enough of it, and is about the only thing I've ever found to relieve a flea infestation both on my animals and floors/upholstery/etc.
  7. ripsnort

    ripsnort Monkey+++

  8. wildernessgal

    wildernessgal Backwoods is a callin'

    BAY LEAVES can be used, also we make our own GARLIC OIL & I will
    smear it along the seal of the containers sometimes as BUGS hate garlic!
    I will also say that I've eaten stuff with BUGS in it & IN MANY COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD BUGS ARE EATEN AS A NUTRITIOUS MEAL!
    One day many may be FORCED into eating bugs for survival purposes... NEVER say NEVER, right! lol
    :eek: b:: [applaud] [applaud] [applaud]

    oldman11 likes this.
  9. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    Do the bay leaves (add any or) change the flavor of stored items? I guess I should ask the same question on the garlic; even on the rim; does the flavor transfer?

    Gal - I'm not there yet, and will avoid 'em if I can, but you're right - I won't say that I will never eat a bug (just never right now :lol:).
    oldman11 likes this.
  10. ridgerunner58

    ridgerunner58 Monkey+++

    I've used bay leaves in the past & never noticed any difference but I would assume that garlic will leave it's flavor on the food....I've never frozen anything to kill bugs or eggs and have never had any problem with the.
    oldman11 likes this.
  11. duanet

    duanet Monkey+++

    We try to rotate a lot of the food we store and keep it in the freezer and use first in-first out schedule for Bob's Red Mill stuff. Flour, breakfast food, soup mix, dried fruit and vegatables etc. If TSHTF we will be starting with stuff just out of the freezer and with an ability to store them as dried for I expect quite a while. Have had insects in pasta that I had stored in ziplock bags. Seem to hatch and die, not totally eaten or a great number of them. Just skimmed them off the top, 5 - 6 of them, no change to the taste etc, but might be a good idea if the wife and kids don't catch you doing it. Long term storage is in plastic pails from survival stock and other people have had good luck with them.
  12. FalconDance

    FalconDance Neighborhood Witch

    I've never noticed any leftover flavor from the bay leaves as long as they are absolultely dry. But even if bugs do get into your flour, a sieve/sifter easily takes them out, so you're only left with the squeamish factor. [dunno]

    I've found dried beans of all sorts I'd stored in popcorn tins and then forgotten at the back of the closet -- still using the split peas from at least ten years ago! Perfectly fine and tasty.

    Spices and herbs can be a bit dicey, I think, to store long term due to their more fragile nature. Medicinally, they begin to lose potency and sometimes the flavor fades substantially. I need to replenish my garlic powder stock, but leaf herbs should be fine as long as stored in glass (pref. amber or other darkish color) in a dark corner away from heat. I've never had trouble with bugs.

    The only things I've had no luck storing without getting bugs of some sort was rice and sesame seeds, and those bugs are the tiny little no-seeums that leave an ultra-fine web. I still use the rice but the sesame seeds go to the birds.
    oldman11 likes this.
  13. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    pest control in stored preps and in your home. a friend of min just got back from the Arabian peninsula and she told me the women burn cumin seeds to rid the house and the bedding of pests.

    I have used boric acid and diatamacious earth but burned cumin is interesting and renewable. Anyone else ever heard of burnin cumin seeds?
    arleigh, Dunerunner and oldman11 like this.
  14. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    2L PETE bottles?
    oldman11 likes this.
  15. Oh Boy! This is going to be long! Not only am I along time prepper, But I am also an herbalist, who has around 500 digital books on the subject. ( and yes! I read every one of Got the feeling I need to watch this thread closely. And the fact that I grew up in Fla. the bug capital of world, (IMHO) do's not hurt ether.

    (goes to put on the big pot of coffee, seek relief, and get a fresh pack of smokes before the ordeal:eek:)

    Ok, lets get started shall we?
    Bugs in the pantry foods:
    All grains, beans, peas, and believe or not, even leafy vegetables that you buy from the store and farmers market (or grow in your garden). Will have insect eggs and even parts in or on them. Most of the time they are so small you do not see them with the naked eye. And the ingestion of them will not cause you any problems for the most part. Yes, there are some parasites that can tag along and be problematic . But for the most part that is VERY rare. And mainly only a rare problem outside the United States. It is also one of reasons the food and drug administration and their regulations exist. To keep it very rare. Any processed food product made from these also may contain insect eggs and parts as well. This includes but is not limited too. Cereals, flours , baking mixes, and even bread and pastries.

    There are a number of things that can be done to cut down and even eliminate bug infestations of food, And even your house. Without resorting to dangerous poisons inside your home.
    First off, you need to understand that the infestations may come from eggs that are already in the food, And also may come from outside sources as well. Since this discussion is on food, I will stick to that subject, So as to not bore you for hours on household protection. (yes, I can go on for
    Bay Leaves:
    Bay leaves placed into food containers for bugs. primarily work to drive away bugs and stop them from laying eggs. they wont stop eggs already in the food from hatching. Though they may drive away the insects that hatched from those eggs. and cut down on any further infestation. So is a very good idea to do so. I regularly place bay leaves in my containers of flours and baking mixes that don't get used up quickly. It should also be noted that I always transfer my flours and baking mixes to glass jars for storage. Yes plastic Tupperware can work, but as a southern country boy I have seen mice eat though Tupperware. So I choose to use glass.

    Freezing your grains, beans, flours and mixes. Works by killing off the viability of the eggs already present in the food so they do not hatch. Some insect eggs can handle great cold for long periods of time. Therefor it is generally recommended to freeze them for at least 2 weeks. And yes you should always place the packages into another container before putting in the freezer. Not to help kill off bugs and eggs, But to keep moisture from entering the food and causing it to spoil or mold. Even heavy zip lock freezer bags work for this. But if you are like me, You have a rather small freezer as part of your fridge. and don't have a second freezer to use..... Do you save the steak, or the baking mix?[doh]

    On to keeping bugs OUT of your pantries and food!
    Going to let you all in on a secret my mom taught me. She used it all her life, and I have used it for years. you need to do this about every 6 months in the south to always work. Clean out all your shelves. dry, and sprinkle a mixture of equal parts of cayenne pepper, black pepper, borax, and boric acid all over. Place down shelf paper over it (non sticky) and then restock your shelves. we did this for all shelving for food and dishes. We never have had a problem with bugs, ants, roaches, ect., getting into our food. granted we did the bay leaves in the glass food jars as well. as an added bonus the borax makes the next cleaning easy.

    Just a couple more points to go over, that were mentioned by others:

    Diatomaceous Earth
    Diatomaceous earth is very useful for preparing whole grains, beans, and peas, for Long Term Storage. we are talking 5 to 25 years here. It however is not IMHO worth the trouble if it is not for long term storage. Also be aware! there are 2 types of diatomaceous earth. Make sure you are using the food grade type. (Many farm supplies have, or can inform you where to get it) The OTHER type is poison and will kill you if ingested. Food grade type is however perfectly safe to eat. But also easy to remove from your grains and beans, by placing them into a pan, cover with water and stir. the earth will float to the top to be removed.

    Burning cumin seeds? I have to admit, this is totally new to me. From the description on what it is used for? I would guess it would be for insects like fleas and lice.

    Hope this helps, and feel free to ask me anything on food.. Its one of my favorite subjects [cupcake]
  16. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    I'm not sure I understand can you say more?

    She said they burned the cumin seeds and let the smoke go into bedding and in storage areas. It's a new concept to me as well but she indicated that it seem to be very effective

    Don't the bay leaves make your flour taste and smell like bay leaves? I'm a fan of air tight or vacuum containers, nothing lives without oxygen

    @Benjamin A. Wood great post looking forward to hearing more of your herbal knowledge
    oldman11 likes this.
  17. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Just a NOTE, here: The above statement is patently FALSE, ON IT’s face... All annerobic bacteria live just fine in a vacumn, or No Oxygen Enviorment, as do many Viruses....
    oldman11 likes this.
  18. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    I get your point but we were talking bugs not microbes
    3cyl likes this.
  19. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Depends on ones definition of “ Bugs” ....
  20. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    ah yes its important to ignore the whole point of the original post and make up one's own definition of a bug.
    Benjamin A. Wood likes this.
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