How to Kill Spice Bugs

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Have you ever reached for a spice jar and found small bugs inside? If so, you're not alone. A variety of bugs have the same taste for spices as humans, including dermestid beetles and cigarette beetles. Although they won't cause any ill effects if accidentally eaten, you don't want to eat bugs in your favorite spices. Keeping these tiny critters out of your spices is a matter of deterrence and prevention.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic bag or container
  • Freezer
  • Trash bag
  • Sticky or pheromone traps
  • Tightly-sealed containers
  • Spice bugs often shed their exoskeletons and leave excrement in the spices, both of which you don't want to eat. Dump the spices inside a plastic bag or container, and stick it in the freezer for three or four days. The cold temperature should kill the spice bugs. Then throw the spices and bugs in your trash can.

  • Place traps around your new spice jars. Sticky traps, which catch the bugs, and pheromone traps, which lure the bugs inside with an enticing aroma, are typically effective in keeping your spices free of bugs. Although the traps might not look too aesthetically pleasing, their presence around the spices is much better than a bug's presence in your spices.

  • Keep your spices in heavy plastic or metal containers that contain screw-top lids. Such containers are typically bug-proof and will also keep your spices fresh. Spices that are kept in boxes or packages made of thin plastic or paper aren't successful in keeping out bugs. Additionally, keep your spice area clean and free of any scattered spices or food, which will attract the small insects.

Tips & Warnings

  • Try not to purchase more spices than you can use in a month or two, since the longer they sit, the more likely they are to draw bugs.
  • Sticky traps and pheromone traps are often available at garden and home improvement stores.

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