Reader Question – All Natural Remedy For Flour Mites

I received an email from a reader today and I thought that I’d share it with you, since this is a pretty common problem especially in our humid climate!

Hi there, I love your blog! Was wondering if you had any advice on an all-natural cleaner/pesticide for pantry pests? I’ve been invaded by tiny white mites (not termites) – I think they’re called flour mites – so I need to conduct a big clean-up and keep them away. Thanks!

Answer: Hi Jeannette! Thanks for the question! You’re right in not wanting to use chemicals, especially near your food! I had a similar experience recently and here’s what I have figured out:

Like with most things – prevention is key. The first thing to understand is how the little mites got in to begin with. A lot of times – depending on where you buy your dried goods from – food can come with larvae that we can’t see and they can hatch in your pantry. It’s always best to buy from a trusted source, make sure the shop is clean. Some shops can sometimes be a bit unclean and little bugs might be getting in from there. Also things like dog food, cat food and bird seed don’t have as strict of standards, so if you’re bringing those into your pantry – little bugs might be getting in through there as well, you definitely want to store them outside of your kitchen.

So, If you can figure out where the source came from – that might be good to help it from happening again.
Here is your action plan: 
1. Throw out all of the contaminated food and clear out your pantry
2. Vacuum inside the pantry and throw out the vacuum contents into the garbage outside your home.
3. Give your pantry a good wipe with your all-natural cleaner or make a solution: 1 part vinegar 2 parts water.
some herbs are natural bug repellents – so I like to infuse my vinegar with herbs like basil, mint & cinnamon – it makes a great cleaner! I have a workshop which teaches this!
Then you’ll be ready to re-stock your pantry
1. If you want to be extra sure, when you buy flour, you can freeze it for a week or two to kill any larvae or little mites that might be harboring inside. (Remember, I know it sounds unsavory – but they’re harmless – we just don’t want them to hatch and multiply.)
2. Keep your dried goods stored in airtight containers.
3. You can keep dried bay leaves inside, which is an old farmer’s trick for keeping their grains safe from bugs.
Hope this helps!