Foods That Attract Pests

Here are some of the foods that are most attractive to pests, from fruits and veggies to sugary drinks.

Pests are annoying enough without them getting into our food. Unfortunately, there are a lot of foods in our daily diets that can draw pests into our homes. Here are a few of the most attractive foods for pests and some tips for reducing your chance of having to deal with them. 

1. Any type of fruit and/or vegetable

You have most likely seen fruit flies hovering around the fruit bowl on your counter or a bunch of bananas you left out overnight. Fruit flies are probably the most infamous type of household pest, and also the most bothersome. However, there is a simple way to minimize your fruit fly problem: avoid leaving fruits and vegetables uncovered in your kitchen.

2. Crumbs

It’s pretty much impossible to avoid crumbs inside your home. Whether you are making dinner or grabbing a breakfast bar, there’s bound to be a few crumbs that end up on your counter and/or floor. However, these little bits of food can attract certain pests such as ants and cockroaches, so it’s important to always clean up any crumbs around your house. 

3. Sugary drinks

Juice, soda, and other types of sugary drinks are all extremely attractive to pests, specifically wasps and bees. If you are enjoying a nice day outside with a cool soda in hand, make sure to clean up any spills and be on the lookout for wasps. These stinging insects love high fructose corn syrup, the main ingredient in soda, so you’re likely to get some unwanted attention with a sugary drink by your side. 

4.  Sugary foods

Soda and juice are not the only sugary substances that attract pests. Ants love to get into all kinds of sugary foods such as candy, jam, and cookies. If you are planning an outdoor barbeque with some sweets or making s’ mores by the fire, keep an eye out for hungry ants.

5. Peanut butter

Speaking of ants, they don’t always go for the sweet snacks. In fact, some ants are more attracted to salty foods as opposed to sweet. Because it is a food high in protein and fat, peanut butter is an appealing option for ants in search of a meal. 

6. Alcohol

Alcohol is another beverage that entices pests such as fruit flies and beetles. If you are having a glass of wine, remember to put the cork back in the bottle. As with sodas and juices, make sure to clean up any spills immediately to avoid attracting any bugs.

Now that you know which foods can attract pests, you hopefully have a better idea of how to make sure your kitchen and/or outdoor space stay pest-free. For more information on dealing with pests, check out our other blogs and stay up-to-date with us!

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Ask The Entomologist: Bee and Pollinator FAQs

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Dr. Craig Stoops, our resident Entomologist, helps answer some of our commonly-asked questions about pollinators we see in our yards.

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aedes_aegypti_cdc-gathanyFifty-two billion people—almost half of the cumulative human population—are thought to have perished at the hands of a creature no bigger than a fingernail: the mosquito. In his new book The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator, historian Timothy Winegard exposes this insect as not merely an itchy pest, but a force of nature that has dictated the outcome of significant events throughout human history. From ancient Athens to World War II, Winegard highlights key moments when mosquito-borne diseases caused militaries to crumble, great leaders to fall ill, and populations to be left vulnerable to invasion.

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