Food costs always seem to be spiraling upwards, and pet food costs are no exception. So it can feel especially frustrating to open up your pet food storage container only to discover a colony of ants is having a picnic in your cat or dog chow.
Because pet foods contain a certain concentration of fats, grease and sugar, ants are attracted to pet foods. Given no resistance or obstacles, ants view every pet food storage container as a possible invitation to brunch. There are a number of simple solutions for eliminating ant problems when it comes to pet food storage.
- First of all, don't open containers of wet food until you are ready to serve your pets, and either finish them at one meal or refrigerate the leftovers in sealed containers. Don't leave open containers of pet food on counters, and quickly mop up any drippings of meaty, greasy juices sure to attract hungry ants.
- Never store dry pet food such as chow mixtures in their original bag or box, which ants can easily access. Pour them into plastic storage containers with a secure locked lid to keep out moisture, air and ants. Put plastic containers stored on the floor into a shallow dish into which you've poured salt water. Since ants can't swim, they won't be able to gain access to your containers and the salt in the water will discourage any mosquitoes from breeding.
- Placing pet feeding bowls into such a water moat also works effectively to discourage ants from invading any pet food morsels left behind after feeding.
- Choose one particular shelf or space in your pantry for storing pet food in sealed plastic containers. Wash over this area very thoroughly to remove any remnants of food or grease that might attract any ants. Investigate lining your shelf with a shelf paper especially designed to keep away all insects. Be cautious about using any commercial ant sprays or repellents if the warning label says it can harm children or pets or should not be used around food.
- Then get some Chinese chalk or a supply of baby powder and draw a line of either around each container. Ants are repelled by Chinese chalk and refuse to cross over any line drawn with baby powder, so your pet food supplies are well guarded. You can also use petroleum jelly to create this defensive line, although this can get messy if you forget it's there and slide your pet food containers across the line and through the jelly rather than picking them up and lifting them over the line.
- Place a line of clear packaging tape around the mouth of every pet food storage container to make the entry to the container too slippery for ants to gain a foothold.
Refresh your defenses against ants at least every month and you'll enjoy ant-free pet food storage.