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Wilburn: Rid your pantry of pesky insects
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What's going on at the Hall County Farmers Market?
More choices: Last week we had the first beets, turnips, peas, green beans, berries, squash and zucchini. Also available were homemade organic breads, homemade granola and locally harvested honey.
Cooking demo on Saturday: At 9 a.m. Steve Thomas will feature fresh grilled vegetables straight from the vendors at the market. Steve presents cooking demos highlighting what is available at the market, so what he cooks is as much a surprise for him as it is for you. Last week he showed a fresh pea topping for toast, fish or pork; a unique salad made from thinly sliced slivers of yellow squash and zucchini; and a quick way to cook greens using mustard greens and turnip greens that still taste like grandma used to make.
Hours: The market is open at 6 a.m. Tuesdays and at 7 a.m. Saturdays until all produce is sold.
Location: The Hall County Farmers Market is located on the corner of East Crescent Drive and Jesse Jewell Parkway near Interstate 985 at Exit 24.

Pantry pests like packaged food.

These unwelcome guests can even be found in a home that is spotless. They can crawl through cracks, fly through open windows or enter a home by hiding in a bag of groceries.

Grain and flour beetles are slender, flat, brown bugs about 1/10-inch long. They eat foods that come from grains such as flour or cornmeal, and they also like dog and cat food, nuts, candies and dried fruit.

These pests will multiply fast. When a container is opened, they will move quickly away from the light.

Indian meal moths are about 3/8-inch long with a 3/4-inch wingspan. These brownish moths have a gray band at the base of the wings and reddish or copper markings on the outer part of the wings.

Adult females lay their eggs in or near dried food. The eggs hatch into dirty-white larvae (worms) with dark heads. Indian meal moth larvae eat the same grain-based foods that grain beetles eat. They also like rice, bird seed, pasta, cake mixes, granola and dried flower arrangements.

The larvae spin thin webs over the surface of food. When full-grown, the larvae crawl across walls and ceilings to hide in cracks and crevices. Moths come out a few days later.

Many other kinds of beetles and moths eat stored foods. You may find these little bugs in packages of food in the cupboard. Cracks and corners of cabinets, especially where we spill food, is another favorite hiding place.

Get rid of the bugs

  • Use a vacuum cleaner to clean shelves and to remove spilled food and insects
  • Clean cracks and corners well
  • Put the vacuum bag in a tightly closed container before throwing it away; this will keep the insects from coming back into your home.
  • Putting the food in the freezer can kill many bugs, but they're still there; I recommend discarding the food if possible.
  • Carefully inspect your cabinets and kill any larvae, crawling or flying insects that you see.
  • Don't buy more grain products than you can use in a short time
  • Look at food from each food package under a bright light
  • Get rid of packages that have insect webs or insect pieces
  • Place the good food in air-tight glass, plastic or metal containers, or in the refrigerator
  • Do not buy opened or crushed packages; they may already have insects or be easy for insects to get into
  • Clean up any spills in cabinets right away

Source: University of Illinois Extension

Debbie Wilburn is county extension agent in family and consumer science with the Hall County Extension. Contact: 770-535-8290.