How to prevent small worms in birdbaths

How to prevent small worms in birdbaths

Related Articles

  • How to Kill Mosquitoes in a Pond
  • What Can I Put in My Rain Barrel to Kill Insects?
  • Does Algae Treatment Hurt Pond Plants?
  • Mosquito Killer for the Yard
  • Mosquito Killer for a Pond

Birdbaths are an enjoyable addition to any landscape, attracting birds and other wildlife. They’re also a favorite spot for mosquitoes, however. Birdbaths are easily overlooked, but because they’re often placed in sunny locations with shallow water inside, they are perfect places for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. This doesn’t mean you have to remove your birdbath, though. There are several ways you can ensure that mosquitoes don’t turn your birdbath into a breeding site.

Change the Water

Eliminating the water in your birdbath completely defeats the purpose of having a birdbath in your landscape. Instead of dumping out the water, change the water and clean it frequently. Mosquitoes require seven to 10 days to mature from larvae to adult, so dumping the water at least every five days and replacing it with new water will prevent them from finishing their life cycle. Fresh water is also better for the birds visiting your yard.

Modify

Birdbaths are a popular breeding ground for mosquitoes because the water is usually still, and this is what mosquitoes require for laying their eggs. If the water is agitated or aerated, the surface tension is broken and mosquitoes aren’t able to lay eggs in it. Add an aerator or a small waterfall feature to your birdbath to keep the water moving and prevent mosquitoes from using it as a breeding site.

Water Treatment Options

Chemical insecticides are not a good control option for birdbaths because they may harm birds and other wildlife that use them. In most situations, use of chemical controls provides temporary control of mosquito populations anyway. Modifying or eliminating breeding sites provides a much more long-term and effective solution to mosquitoes. Birdbaths and other small areas around your landscape can also be treated with bacterial insecticides, which are available at most garden centers. These products are available as donuts, dunks or granules and usually contain the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, which kills mosquitoes but is not harmful to birds, fish or other wildlife. Dunks are ideal for birdbaths and can control mosquitoes for up to 30 days.

Additional Breeding Site Reduction

Keeping mosquitoes out of your birdbath is a good start to controlling the pest in your landscape, but if water is standing in another part of your yard, the populations are not likely to decrease. Clogged gutters, swimming pools, ponds and water pooling in old tires or logs provide ideal conditions for breeding. In addition to keeping your birdbath clean, throw away old tires, buckets and other materials that hold water. Empty trash cans, wheelbarrows, pet dishes and flower pots after each rain and turn them over when not in use. Keep your gutters clear of debris and remove any standing water on your roof and other structures.

  • University of Kentucky Extension: Mosquitoes: Practical Advice for Homeowners
  • Wild Birds Unlimited: Keeping Mosquitoes Out of Your Birdbath
  • North Carolina State University Extension: Mosquito Control Around the Home and In Communities

Renee Miller began writing professionally in 2008, contributing to websites and the “Community Press” newspaper. She is co-founder of On Fiction Writing, a website for writers. Miller holds a diploma in social services from Clarke College in Belleville, Ontario.

How to prevent small worms in birdbaths

Related Articles

  • How to Tell If Grubs Are Killing Your Grass
  • Will Armyworms Kill St. Augustine Grass?
  • Tree Diseases That Cause White Scales
  • How to Maintain a Lacy Leaf Japanese Maple
  • Pests on Prunus ‘Kwanzen’

Most gardeners agree that successful fruit growing comes with a host of problems in addition to the routine maintenance, management and care. In addition to fungal diseases, fruit trees attract an array of pests, notably green and speckled green fruit worms, Bertha armyworms, hornworms and spotted cutworms. Although the types of damage caused by these worms may vary, they all are susceptible to a comprehensive management approach that combines physical, chemical and cultural control methods.

Identification

Look the trees and fruit over for green worms that measure between 1 and 1 2/3 inches long, have five white stripes running along the length of their bodies and have green or brown heads to identify the green speckled fruit worm.

Check the fruit and trees for green worms 1 1/2 inches long that have five white stripes down the length of their bodies and a dorsal hump at their rear to identify pyramidal green fruit worms.

Examine the fruit and trees for cream, yellow or green worms that measure about 1 inch long to identify green fruit worms. Like the speckled and pyramidal green fruit worm, the green fruit worm has five white stripes down the length of its body, but it also has a prominent white stripe under the spiracles, or respiratory openings, unlike the other green fruit worms.

Inspect the trees and fruit for 3 1/2 to 4 inch long pale-green worms that have black or red horns emerging from their posteriors to identify the hornworm. Hornworms also have white V-shaped or white diagonal markings along their bodies.

Check the fruit and trees for greenish-gray or brownish-black worms measuring a little over 1 1/2 inches long with a marked or unmarked light brown head to detect Bertha armyworms. Bertha armyworms also have a yellow or orange stripe under their black-rimmed spiracles running the length of the body, a brown or orange upper body and a greenish or mottled-gray lower body.

Look the trees and fruit over for worms a little over 1 inch long that have reddish-brown heads marked with two black bands to identify the spotted cutworm. Spotted cutworms also have black bodies with triangle-shaped marks on the sides of the last two abdominal segments, and cohabitate with Bertha armyworms.

Chemical

Mix together an insecticide containing either bacillus thuringiensis, spinosad or acetamiprid as the active ingredient with the manufacturer’s recommended amount of water to treat the three fruitworms — speckled green, pyramidal green and green; dilute an insecticide containing carbaryl or permethrin to treat hornworms; use an insecticide containing carbaryl or imidacloprid to treat Bertha armyworms and spotted cutworms.

Pour the insecticide in a pump sprayer or backpack sprayer, depending on the area you need to cover. If you’re treating small trees, use a hand sprayer; use a pump sprayer for large trees; use a backpack sprayer for orchard applications.

Agitate the sprayer for 30 seconds to help ensure an even mixture. Saturate the trunks, stems, branches and all sides of the fruit trees’ foliage with the insecticide.

Wash and rinse the sprayer three times, releasing the soapy water and rinse water through the nozzle for 30 seconds each time.

Check the trees in one week for worms. Reapply the insecticide as needed and at intervals recommended by the manufacturer.

Physical

Hang one or two tacky red spheres coated with female maggot pheromones on each tree 4 to 6 feet above ground level to attract and kill male apple maggots.

Coat one or two spherical objects, such as bulb Christmas ornaments or foam balls, with a sticky pest barrier compound to attract and monitor the codling moths that lay apple maggot eggs.

Remove and replace the spheres traps as needed during an infestation. Depending on the degree of infestation, the traps can become covered with codling moths in a few days or a few weeks, indicating the need for spraying.

Cultural

Mow the grass 6-inches out from the drip line of the fruit tree regularly. Keeping the grass surrounding the trees trimmed promotes predation and represses egg laying.

Trim the grass 6-inches out from the trunk to 6-inches out from the drip line of the tree with a string trimmer. Like mowing, trimming with a string trimmer discourages egg laying and encourages predation, but doesn’t damage the tree’s roots.

Pull the weeds surrounding the fruit trees from the ground by hand. Like grass and other cover crops, weeds provide an ideal location for egg laying.

Remove any fallen fruit from the ground as soon as you see it. Fruit easily within the reach of worms naturally attracts them.

How to prevent small worms in birdbaths

Stop mosquitoes for good. (Photo: Getty Images / Solidago)

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

In the summer, your backyard should, ideally, feel like a place of refuge—somewhere you can lounge in the shade, kick back for a barbecue, and, most importantly, relax.

But then—smack!—there’s the biggest summer buzzkill: the fresh, itchy, welt of a mosquito bite. The mosquitoes have once again arrived and want to make your home their home.

Get expert shopping advice delivered to your phone. Sign up for text message alerts from the deal-hunting nerds at Reviewed.

Jim Fredericks, Ph.D., chief entomologist for the National Pest Management Association, explains, “Mosquitoes don’t bite out of self-defense. When they bite, they are looking for their next blood meal.”

As it turns out, mosquitoes are more than a hungry nuisance—they can also carry serious diseases, such as Zika virus, West Nile virus, Chikungunya virus, dengue and malaria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Although it may seem as if the mosquitoes have decided yours is their favorite yard on the block—and, they very well may have, if you’ve inadvertently provided them with a place to breed—you don’t have to surrender your backyard or your skin to these six-legged fliers. We talked to experts to find out the best solutions to deter mosquitoes from invading your backyard this summer.

Eliminate sources of standing water

Mosquitoes are attracted to standing bodies of water like bird baths and puddles around the backyard, and they’ll linger on the surface of the water.

The CDC recommends emptying and scrubbing vessels that collect water at least once a week. And these water collectors can be smaller than you think.

Fredericks says, “Mosquitoes only need a half-inch of water to breed, meaning they can lay their eggs in something as small as a bottle cap.”

Examine obvious places like your bird baths (unless you have a water wiggler, which agitates water in bird baths and disrupts the mosquito breeding process), baby pools, flowerpots, pet water bowls, buckets, rain barrels, and gutters. Seek out smaller, less noticeable ones like discarded tires or forgotten water bottles and, yes, caps.

You may also have standing water issues in your yard, which you’ll notice as puddles that don’t drain or dry quickly after it rains—if this is the case, you may need a professional to come in and grade your land.

Get rid of mosquito larvae

How to prevent small worms in birdbaths

Get at the mosquitoes before they reproduce by targeting the mosquitoes and their larvae. (Photo: Getty Images / Tunatura)

To kill off the mosquito larvae in standing water, mosquito dunks are an effective option. Mosquito dunks are made of Bacillus thuringiensis strain israelensis, a kind of naturally-derived soil bacteria. They’re toxic to mosquito larvae, but safe for humans and pets. If standing water has been left unattended for a while or is difficult to drain, these small, brick-like pellets kill off mosquito larvae.

With this said, depending on the brand you use, it may end up killing other non-pest insects like honey bees and butterflies. According to Pests.org, some mosquito dunks worth using are Pre-Strike Mosquito Torpedo and Summit Mosquito Dunks.

Even if you’ve done your best to prevent mosquito-breeding in your backyard, it is inevitable that some mosquitoes—hatched elsewhere, of course—will find their way to your backyard.

Block them out—or blow them away

How to prevent small worms in birdbaths

A screen patio enclosure is a great physical barrier for keeping mosquitoes and other critters out. (Photo: Getty Images / C5Media)

You just want to dine al fresco, but dozens of uninvited guests have arrived at your meal. Keeping mosquitoes out of your home space may feel difficult, but it’s surely not impossible.

Invest in some screening for your porch, and, if you already have screens, ensure they fit securely and have no holes. If you can’t install screening, this mosquito netting patio umbrella is a great option for easy and portable protection from mosquitoes while relaxing outdoors.

Another good preventative measure is outfitting your backyard dining area with a fan or two, because mosquitoes are “weak” flyers and often have difficulty navigating against an airstream, according to Joe Conlon, Technical Advisor for the American Mosquito Control Association.

Don’t rely on citronella candles and torches

While there are millions of products on the market that claim to repel mosquitoes, the fact of the matter is that some of them just won’t work as well as other strategies, like implementing physical barriers and mosquito mitigation.

You can skip the bug-“repelling” candles and torches as your main mosquito repellent strategy. Citronella candles offer a fresh lemongrass scent, but these shouldn’t be used as your sole barrier between you and the bugs.

According to the National Pesticide Information Center, citronella candles are supposed to work by covering up scents that are attractive to pests, but “no studies could be located” that prove this.

Conlon says citronella has a “mild repellent effect,” but it doesn’t offer significantly more protection than regular candles. So, for an added touch of protection, you can place some decorative citronella candles around your patio space if you want to—but make sure to implement some other protection, too.

The product experts at Reviewed have all your shopping needs covered. Follow Reviewed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest deals, reviews, and more.

Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

How to prevent small worms in birdbaths

Myths about bird baths lead to improper, unhealthy, and unsafe water that can be more dangerous than helpful to backyard birds. By understanding the facts about bird baths and other backyard water sources, it is possible to provide water to birds safely and easily, thereby attracting even more birds to enjoy.

MYTH: Only a Few Birds Use Bird Baths, so It’s Not Worth Having One

” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

On the contrary, all birds need a clean water source not just for drinking, but also for bathing and preening. Many birds that are not interested in seed, suet, or nectar may still visit yards where a good bird bath or other backyard water source is available. Hawks, warblers, owls, hummingbirds, and many other types of birds will all take advantage of clean, fresh bird baths. Furthermore, other backyard wildlife such as squirrels, butterflies, and toads may also benefit from a fresh, clean water source.

MYTH: Good Quality Bird Baths Are Too Expensive

” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

betancourt/Flickr/CC by 2.0

Bird baths come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. More elaborate, decorative models can be expensive, that’s true, but birds don’t read price tags. Hot, thirsty birds don’t mind what color, shape, or style the bath is so long as it is a good depth and filled with clean, fresh water. Even homemade DIY bird baths or simple, basic concrete bird baths can be good choices without spending a lot of money. A pie plate, plant saucer, or similar dish that is just lying around can even become a free bird bath.

MYTH: Bird Bath Fountains Are Too Awkward Because They Require Electricity

” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

While many fountain-style bird baths do require a nearby electrical outlet to keep the water circulating, there are also battery-operated designs or bath accessories that can keep the water moving without a cord. Adding a simple homemade dripper to the bath can be easy and effective, with no power source needed. Solar bird bath fountains or simple water wigglers are other easy options for moving water without needing an electrical outlet. A bird bath can also be positioned under leaves, downspouts, or other features that will naturally drip when it rains, creating an impromptu bird fountain without electricity.

MYTH: Heated Bird Baths Are Unsafe Because Wet Birds Freeze in the Winter

” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

Michael Dolan/Flickr/CC by 2.0

A heated bird bath keeps the water liquid for birds to drink so they don’t need to use precious calories melting snow and ice to stay hydrated. A healthy bird will not immerse themselves or bathe when the air temperature is cold enough to freeze. Furthermore, birds are well insulated to survive in cold weather even if their feathers are damp. After all, birds get damp in the snow and freezing rain, but do not freeze because of it.

MYTH: Deeper Baths Are Best for Birds Because They Provide More Water

” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

The optimum depth of a bird bath is 1-3 inches deep. Water that is any deeper can be too awkward for even the largest backyard birds to bathe, and very small birds wouldn’t be able to use the bath except at the very edge if the water level is high enough to reach. A very deep bath can also be hazardous, and birds may drown in a deep basin. Adding a shallow dish in the center of the bath or using rocks to adjust the depth can make a deeper bath more accessible to all backyard birds.

MYTH: Dirty Baths Are Okay Since Birds Drink From Dirty Puddles Anyway

” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

DAVID HOLT/Flickr/CC by-SA 2.0

A dirty bird bath is hazardous to any birds that drink from it. Stagnant, contaminated water can harbor unhealthy concentrations of bacteria from feces or shed feathers that cause avian diseases. Mosquitoes that may carry other diseases dangerous to both humans and birds can also breed in a dirty bird bath. A filthy bath may also smell, which could attract predators and other unwelcome guests to the yard.

MYTH: Cleaning a Bird Bath Is Too Much Trouble Because It Requires Scrubbing

” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

There are safe chemicals that can be added to a bird bath to keep it cleaner and to make regular cleaning easier. It is also possible to clean bird baths without any scrubbing at all if they are well maintained and cleaned frequently. Copper bird baths are also more resistant to algae and staining. Taking good care of a bird bath, including proper placement, means less frequent cleaning and less necessary scrubbing.

MYTH: A Bird Bath Is the Only Way to Offer Water to Backyard Birds

” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

Nick Saunders/Flickr/Used With Permission

While a bird bath is a quick, easy way to add a water feature to attract birds, there are other water sources that can be effective as well. Misters, drippers, fountains, creeks, waterfalls, and ponds are all great ways to add water to the yard. Standing water is adequate for the birds while moving water is better and flowing water is best. Birds will hear the noise of the water and come to investigate, meaning even more backyard birds to enjoy.

How to prevent small worms in birdbaths

The premise behind a bird bath is quite simple – it’s a basin that gives birds access to H2O. Birds obviously need water to drink but they also love to clean their feathers.

You’ll be surprised to find out there are many interesting facts about bird baths. Prepare to learn some really exciting new things. Let’s start the countdown of the bird bath facts that will blow your mind.

Fact #1: There are Solar Bird Baths

If you live in a cold climate, you may be wondering about what it would take to give birds access to running water in the winter. The answer is simple – a heated bird bath. Heated bird baths prevent the water from freezing, which is quite beneficial when birds can’t find another source of running H2O.

Modern technologies have transformed the traditional bird bath. In fact, the market features solar-powered basins that have panels used for environment-friendly water heating. If you’re interested in the purchase of such a bird bath, you’ll obviously have to think about proper placement. Sufficient exposure to sunlight will be required to keep the water warm throughout the day.

Fact #2: Bird Baths can Attract All Kinds of Visitors to Your Yard

Regardless of the name, a bird bath will possibly bring other types of wildlife to your yard. Many people have already captured photographs of little mammals and insects making use of the available water.

A bird bath will sometimes bring raccoon and squirrels over for a sip. There are even pictures of bears and deer quenching their thirst this way. The bird bath will also attract wasps – the number one natural enemy of cabbage worms. If you want to live in harmony with nature and observe its diversity, the installation of a bird bath is the way to go.

Fact #3: Shallow Bird Baths are Best

Many people believe mistakenly that they need a very deep fountain to attract birds to the backyard. This is a myth.

Birds aren’t going to swim in the fountain. They usually step on the bottom and submerge their bodies partially. If you want to attract smaller birds to the garden, you will need just an inch or two of water depth.

If you’ve already purchased a bird bath that is deep, you can easily rectify the situation. The placement of small rocks or gravel on the bottom will make it easier for birds to clean their feathers and make full use of the fountain.

Fact #4: Moving Water Attracts More Birds

Birds will sooner or later discover the fountain that’s located in the yard. If you want to attract a bigger number of birds, however, you should consider the addition of a dripper to your bird bath.

The sound of running water will make all kinds of local and migratory birds flock to your garden. It’s an invitation that many will accept. The market features dozens of bird baths that have a small pump for the purpose of moving water. If you’re truly interested in observing the diversity of species in your region, consider the purchase of such a bird bath.

Fact#5: Misters Attract Humming Birds

A mister isn’t a bird bath per se but it can still be used to attract certain species. Hummingbirds are the ones that will enjoy it the most.

As the name indicates, this contraption releases a fine watery mist. Often, it’s used on top of a water basin where the liquid will gather and create a bird bath. Hummingbirds love to hover around the mister, which gives them an opportunity to get their feathers wet and cool down in the hot summer weather.

Fact#6: The Market Already Features Self-Cleaning Bird Baths

Some people are hesitant about getting a bird bath because they worry about a cumbersome cleaning procedure that involves a lot of scrubbing.

Technology has once again provided a practical solution. Several companies already manufacture self-cleaning bird baths. Usually, such bird baths come with a timer and a drip tube. When the timer is set, the automatic emptying on the water will become possible a few times per day. The bath will then fill itself with clean water. That’s all it takes to maintain the cleanness of the bird bath and to attract birds to it.

Published: Jun 20, 2013 · Updated: Dec 26, 2019 by Pam Kessler | 180 words. · About 1 minute to read this article. – 18 Comments

It’s been a week and I would have to give the copper pipe in a birdbath theory a solid B.

How to prevent small worms in birdbaths

It has been keeping the algae at bay (just a little water pun), for the most part.

Now, the water is not crystal clear. I wouldn’t be throwing on my bathing suit and diving into it quite yet.

Because it seems the other half of my problem with the birdbath is the stuff the birds drag in. Worms. Poop. Other unidentifiable bird filth.

The copper won’t help you with that type of bad bird behavior. But the green gunky algae, that I used to have to clean out of here every few days, has slowed down quite a bit.

Day 1 of the Great Copper Experiment How to prevent small worms in birdbaths

Day 7 of the Great Copper Experiment

How to prevent small worms in birdbaths

I think I will still have to change the water at least once a week, but that is still better than changing it every other day and cussing at the #*$& birds as I do it.

Birds are nasty little creatures. Thank God He made them pretty.

Pantry moths and flour moths live inside most grain based food. If you eat grain based food or you have grain based pet bird food in your home, you are at risk for a pantry moth infestation. It’s unlikely that you can avoid a flour moth problem even if you buy the freshest bird food. If you see one pantry moth flying around your bird room you’ve got a pantry flour moth infestation. This particular pantry moth has moved from the egg stage, through the larvae and pupae stages to an adult. Now it is ready to lay more eggs.

Controlling a full blown pantry moth infestation is important. Since each adult pantry moth is capable of laying up to 400 eggs, it is easy to imagine how quickly the infestation can get out of hand.

If you’ve seen an adult pantry moth flying around your house or drowned in your bird’s water dish start looking for the eggs, larvae and pupae. Look in corners and crevices as well as under shelves. This particular pantry moth has moved from the egg stage, through the larvae and pupae stages to an adult. Now it is ready to lay eggs. This moth may have been only one of 400 eggs!

How to Clean to Get Rid Of Pantry Moths

The first step to getting rid of a pantry moth infestation is to find eggs, larvae and cocoons and eliminate them. Squish larvae, bag and outside trash all food with webbing in it. Wipe cocoons with vinegar and toss them in the garbage disposal or outside your hoem. Your goal is to eliminate the next wave of eggs from hatching to stop larvae and pupae from turning into adult moths and thereby laying even more eggs.

Carefully examine bird food for webbing or worm-like moth larvae. Eggs are very small and hard to see. As a pantry moth may lay up to 400 eggs at a time, you may find it causes less grief to toss the bird food and thoroughly clean your food storage container.

Eggs hatch into larvae. Larvae are little off-white worms with a brown head. Larvae eat the food prior to progressing to the cocoon stage. When you control the source of food, you control the next wave of infestation.

Cocoons tend to populate in corners, crevices in ceilings, floor boards, shelving and food storage containers. Carefully examine corners and crevices where larvae feel safe. Examine the seal of food storage containers as well inside the screw tops. Caulk around all floor boards, if possible. Any crevice is an inviting place for cocoons to develop. Be on the lookout for spider web like webbing. If spotted, wipe area with vinegar.

Once the source of the pantry moths has been located it’s time to find out if they’ve spread to other food sources in your home, such as your kitchen pantry. Once you’ve located infested food sources, just put them in a garbage bag, seal it and throw it away in an outside garbage can.


Cleaning the Pantry

  1. Inspect all package of food whether open or sealed.
  2. Examine all jars and plastic lids that provide refuge for pupae to develop. Look for webbing.
  3. Check pasta, pet treats, any source of grain.
  4. Replace all shelf lining and wipe all shelf surfaces with vinegar. Examine any shelf hardware for pupae.
  5. Vacuum baseboards, corners where carpet meets the walls, door trim, corners, corner of ceiling and wall, and any other crevice that would be inviting to pupae.
  6. Wash down all walls, floors and especially the inside of the door hinges and door jamb. Remove the vacuum bag to an outside garbage can.
  7. Install Flour Moth Traps.
  8. Use plastic food storage containers to store pet food, thereby containing pantry moths and minimizing the possibility a future infestation.

Finally, smash or trap and kill the adults so they do not reproduce. The most effective way to do this is to use pheromone based flour moth traps. These flour moth traps are designed to attract the adult males with pheromone on a glue based board. Flour Moth Traps take the male population out of the picture and the moths cannot reproduce. The free females soon die off. This process will take about 6 weeks more or less, depending on where they are in their life cycle. To speed the process, spray any live moths with Control Aviary Spray and follow the above cleaning procedures.

  1. Methods of Long-Term Food Storage for Rice and Grains
  2. Does Flour Spoil?
  3. How Long Can Flour Be Stored in Mylar Bags?
  4. Does Flour Expire?
  5. Bugs That Get Into Pantry & Food

How to prevent small worms in birdbaths

No matter how clean you keep your kitchen, pests cans still cause problems in your pantry. They enter your home in a variety of ways and seek out improperly stored foods to lay eggs in. The eggs hatch into larva that look like worms, and they can spoil your food as they grow into full-fledged insects. The key to preventing worms in your food is to be proactive and make sure your flours and grains are stored properly as soon as you get home from the store.

Store Packaging

If you are going to be using a package of flour or grains within a short amount of time, it’s unlikely you will have problems with pantry pests as long as the packaging is intact, without tears or holes. However, cardboard, paper and plastic will not keep insects out of your food, so transfer your food to a heavy-duty container if you plan to store it for longer than a few weeks. Keep your shelves dry and free of crumbs, because moisture and open food attracts insects. Use older packages of food before newer ones and don’t store new packages next to older ones; if the older packages are infested with insects they can move to the new packaging.

Containers

The best way to prevent insects from invading your flours and grains is to store them in glass or metal containers. Very heavy-duty plastic will also work. Transfer your food to containers with tight-fitting lids, such as a screw-top lid or one with a substantial seal around it. If you’re sure the original packaging is free of insect infestation you can put it directly into a container. Look for webbing or holes on the package. It might be easier to empty your flour and grains into containers and provide a scoop for usage.

Refrigerating

Flours and grains store well in a refrigerator. This is a good option if you have continual problems with insects despite your best efforts. Store flour in a container with a good lid and tight seal to prevent moisture loss, which can affect the quality of the flour. White flour will store for up to a year in the refrigerator, while whole-wheat flour stays good for six to eight months, according to the Virginia Cooperative Extension. Corn meal can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 18 months. White and brown rice also store well in the refrigerator.

Freezing

Whole-wheat flour and brown rice actually benefit from being stored in the freezer because it slows the oils in them from going rancid, as they tend to do when stored for long periods at room temperature. White flour, whole-wheat flour and corn meal will keep in the freezer for up to two years. Store rice for up to a year in the freezer. Put your flours and grains in air-tight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags to prevent moisture problems.