We all go to the grocery stores with our shopping lists. Normally we find offers and deals which make a lot of sense, so we end up coming with more than we planned to. This doesn’t mean that we thought we would be carrying pests home though. Even if your house is completely pest-proof and immaculately clean, you can still find yourself with an infestation which requires pest control. How?
Many pests are expert hitchhikers and brave opportunists. If they can gain easy access to food, then they won’t wait around. And where better to do that than in a supermarket, where they’ll find a lifetime supply of everything they could ever eat? Supermarkets follow strict procedures to make sure that pests don’t end up inside their packaging, but once in awhile a pest will appear. Let’s have a look at how they end up in the supermarket, and what you can do to make sure you don’t end up taking them home.
Can You Bring Home More Than You Bargained For?
It’s easier to carry pests home from the grocery store than you might think. Food packages can become infested with insects, and even more so with insect eggs. Pests usually find their way inside food packaging in one of three ways:
- Enter through a broken seal
- A pest chews its way through the package
- Insects were already within the package when it left the building.
It becomes extremely difficult to spot an infested package when eggs have only recently been laid. As they’re transported from their source to the store, the eggs would hatch. That package will then arrive in the store with a new colony of pests ready to spread.
Spot the Signs of Pests in Your Home
So if pests can make their way home in your shopping without your knowledge, how can you tell if a package is infested? First, let’s look at the most common offenders.
Flies are one of the most common pests found within grocery stores. When fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat are on offer, flies will find their way to them. Most grocery stores have strict sanitation policies, but occasionally flies will find their way in. You’ll be able to see them and if something’s seriously infested, you may even be able to see their droppings.
Another long-time enemy of grocery stores are mice. Mice are incredibly crafty and will find their way to a food source before you know you’ve left them easy access. They’re not fussy either and will feed on just about anything they can. You’ll be able to see holes in packaging and again, may see their droppings.
Finally, you’ll need to be aware of cockroaches in the grocery store. Obviously, if you see cockroaches within the grocery store you should let the staff know and refuse to buy anything in your cart. Cockroaches are particularly dangerous in that they carry parasites and infect foods once they go near them. Like flies, they’ll target the food which is easiest to access.
So How Do You Stop This Happening?
If you can’t even see an infestation until you open the packaging, then how do you prevent a pest control problem coming home from the store? First of all, don’t take home any damaged-looking packages. If any cans are dented or if any stitching is loose, leave that product behind.
If you see any holes whatsoever in the packaging, then that’s a big nope too. Always check the sell-by date: older products are more likely to become infected. And finally, remember that canned and bottled products are almost impossible for pests to penetrate.