How to Get Rid of Mealy Bugs in Food


Cookies, pies, brownies and cupcakes---they are all on your list of things to bake today. You pull out the flour, baking powder and sugar from your cupboard. When you open the container of flour, you notice small bugs moving around in the flour. You drop the container on the floor in shock. You have just discovered mealy bugs, little insects that invade your dry food and other substances. Getting rid of the mealy bugs takes patience and some cleaning.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Hot water
  • Scrub brush
  • Latex gloves
  • Clean rags or towels
  • Scoop
  • Trash bag or can
  • Large freezer bags with closing tops
  • Marker
  • Refrigerator freezer or freestanding freezer
  • Warm soapy water
  • Sponge
  • Whole bay leaves
  • Crushed bay leaves
  • Remove everything from your cupboards, pantry and other food storage areas. Place the items on a table, countertop or other clean surface.

  • In a bucket, mix ¼ cup of chlorine bleach and 1 gallon of hot water. Stir the bleach mixture with a scrub brush. Wear latex gloves to protect your hands.

  • Scrub the inside of your cupboards, pantry and other food storage areas with the bleach-soaked scrub brush. Wash the shelves, the walls, cracks and corners of the cupboards, pantry and other food storage areas.

  • Dry the cupboards, pantry and other food storage areas with a clean rag or towel.

  • Leave the doors to your cupboards, pantry and other food storage areas open overnight to reduce any humidity that might be present.

  • Open your food containers and look for mealy bugs. Dip out any visible mealy bugs and the contents around the bugs with a scoop. Discard the mealy bug-infested contents in a trash bag or can.

  • Put the remaining contents of each food container into individual large freezer bags. Label each freezer bag with the name of the food: flour, sugar, etc.

  • Place the freezer bags in your refrigerator's freezer or freestanding freezer for five days.

  • Clean the food containers with warm soapy water and a sponge. Dry the containers with a clean rag or towel.

  • Place two bay leaves in each food container, close the containers and set them to the side.

  • Place crushed bay leaves throughout your cupboards, pantry and other food storage areas. Mealy bugs and other insects don't like the bay leaves.

  • Remove the freezer bags containing your dry foods from the freezer after five days. Let the foods thaw in your refrigerator before pouring them back into each food container. Leave the bay leaf in the food container.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure each food container is closed tightly, and replace containers that have broken lids or missing lids.
  • After buying new foods, freeze them for five days before storing them in food containers. This will kill any mealy bugs, larvae and eggs that are in the food.
  • Wipe off any spills and drips from food containers immediately, to keep bugs from being attracted to the containers.

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