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You should keep an eye out for pest infestations right from the time you are doing your shopping. If food is stored separately in closed containers, that will prevent any spread of pests, but packaging that consists of paper or plastic film does not offer adequate protection. Paper inserts should not be used, as pests can multiply unnoticed beneath them.

If you have a tidy and well ordered pantry this will prevent pest infestations, as will regular checking of your supplies. Therefore, your storage area should also be easy to clean; gaps and cracks must be avoided.


If a pest infestation does occur, the affected food must be thrown away. Since food pests spread extremely quickly and are then difficult to combat, fast action is called for. The pantry must be cleared out immediately and thoroughly cleaned. All other food must be checked for signs of pest infestation too. Only once the pantry has been cleaned and has dried out fully can you put your food back in.

The favoured haunts of food pests are cereal products, as they are very nutritious, but protein-rich foods such as sausage products can be affected too. Most food pests have their own particular preferences and, as such, infest different foods. Cereals and cereal products, but also other dried products, are commonly afflicted by the following pests: German cockroaches, Indian meal moths or Mediterranean flour moths, flour mites, ants or biscuit beetles. Omnivores such as mice, rats and flies are not so choosy. All three carry diseases, so must be taken very seriously. Other pests include woodlice, which get stuck into fruit, vegetables and potatoes stored in cellars, and larder beetles, which like to help themselves to ham, cheese and chocolate.


If you follow all the instructions above, i.e. check food carefully before buying it, keep storage areas clean and tidy, and carry out regular inspections on your food, the chances of you suffering a pest infestation are drastically reduced. If it does happen, however, take the countermeasures already described for any type of pest: throw away, clear out and clean. Chemical agents should not be used in private homes; if such intervention is required, it is advisable to contact a professional pest control company or the local public health and veterinary authorities.