Defend Your Food from Pests

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

I don’t know how it is in your house, but in pretty much every house I’ve lived in, whether I’ve owned it or rented it, I’ve had a number of unplanned dependents living in it with me. These dependents, while varying in size and shape, all had one thing in common; they somehow decided that they were part of the family and therefore had a right to eat our food. Some were ants, others mice or even rats and in a few parts of the world where I lived, cockroaches were a common problem.

Most of the time, these pests are nothing more than a nuisance, but every once in a while, they get into something and ruin it, essentially stealing food that was purchased for my family. It’s bad enough when that happens to food that we’re not intending to use right away; but it becomes nearly unbearable when it happens to food that we’re about to prepare for dinner. That takes on the appearance of all-out war.

Preppers have long seen the need to properly package food for long-term storage, as it doesn’t come from the grocery store that way. If we leave canned food out of the picture, most store-bought foods are packaged to last no more than a few months. That same packaging makes it susceptible to these pests.

But the problem with the way that preppers package their foods for long-term storage is that it isn’t readily accessible for use. While it does protect from bacteria, insects and rodents, it does so at the cost of sealing the food up so well, that you don’t want to get into it, unless you’re in the midst of a serious disaster and need it to survive. That’s not the situation I’m talking about right now.

Most people try to protect their food by eliminating the insects and rodents; but that really doesn’t work. No matter how many of them we eliminate, there are always more, just waiting for their opportunity. It’s almost like they’re waiting in line for an opportunity to invade our homes.

Nor does keeping your home clean guarantee that these pests will stay out. While it is true that food will attract them, they are always looking for food. Therefore, if they can find a way into your home, they will come looking. The only real question is whether they find it. When they do, some species (especially ants) will bring others along to enjoy the plunder.

So, the real key is to keep them from finding out food. Anything that is refrigerated or frozen is fairly well protected, as the vacuum seal on the fridge and freezer doors does a good job of keeping pests out. But anything that is left in packages that they can gnaw their way through is open game, as far as they are concerned. Fortunately, they don’t have the ability to gnaw their way through metal cans.

Plastic bags of any sort might qualify as a protection against bacteria, but they are no protection against insects and rodents. It takes considerably thicker plastic to protect against them. That’s part of the reason why so many different styles of plastic containers exist.

Investing in individual plastic containers to store food in may seem like a waste of a lot of money; but in the long run, it’s a whole lot cheaper than having pests get into your food and ruin it. I made the switch long ago for common items in my kitchen and haven’t had a single problem with bugs getting into food since. Granted, the bugs still come in the house, but they don’t find their dinner waiting for them.

I avoid the “disposable” plastic containers for this, as I’ve found that the lids truly are disposable. They’ll last for a short while; but eventually they break. Even a tiny crack in one will allow some types of insects’ access, negating the purpose.

On the other hand, I have found some types of plastic containers used for packaging food products, which are great for storage as well. Jars fall into this category, whether glass or plastic. Cool Whip containers have long been a favorite, as well as margarine tubs. I still remember my grandma having tall stacks of both in her kitchen. But my favorite food container is the 35 oz. square containers that nuts come in. Being square eliminates the space that is wasted for round containers and they are readily stackable, filling cabinets. I probably have about 35 of these in my kitchen, labeled and filled with a variety of different types of food ranging from sugar and flour to breakfast cereal and crackers.

Regardless of what sort of containers you use, putting food in more secure containers will go a long way towards making sure that the food is there for your family when you need it. It may not seem like it on the surface, but this is just one more way of protecting your family, just like keeping your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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