Rats are on the rise across New York City – sightings have increased by 71% since this time in 2020, Time Out reports. The increase in outdoor dining and garbage is thought to be to blame. Whether it’s rats, cockroaches, or pantry beetles, NYC kitchens are no strangers to unwanted pests. By taking time to learn about the most common kitchen pests found in NYC, you can better keep them out of your kitchen.
Brown rats – the most common pest in NYC – are particularly attracted to leftover food and garbage waste, so make sure it’s off-limits in your home. Your trash should be put out on the curb only on the day of pick-up, so you don’t leave rats with a tempting food source overnight.
You can even make sure your trash can lid’s lockable. Similarly, you should also clean your pet food bowls every evening, and be sure not to leave pet food out overnight. Don’t leave rats with a water source, either. That means fixing leaks, as well as always draining your sink or tub after use.
Cockroaches are another common NYC pest – around 1 in every 6 New Yorkers say they’ve spotted cockroaches in their homes. Like rats, cockroaches are attracted to food – however, cockroaches will actually consider any sort of organic matter food. So, in addition to sweet, processed foods (which cockroaches love), these pests are also attracted to things like kitchen grease, paper, and cardboard.
Fortunately, you can prevent cockroaches from entering your home by sealing off access points, such as gaps or holes in your doors or walls. It’s just as important to keep your kitchen clean; don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink or crumbs on your counters or floor. Both rats and cockroaches are huge fans of peanut butter, in particular. So, be sure to keep your peanut butter jar clean and wiped free from oily residue, and store it away in a shut cupboard.
Pantry beetles are another common NYC pest. You may find these pests in your pantry, and, more specifically, in your baking flour, cereal grains, and rice. If you spot pantry beetles in your kitchen, throw out any infested food immediately and thoroughly clean your cabinets – this involves removing all the contents, vacuuming the cabinet interiors, and wiping them down with a soapy sponge.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to check for pantry beetles in your spice collection, and throw away any infected jars. You can then work to keep pantry beetles out of your kitchen by making sure you store your food correctly. Flours, grains, and rice should be stored in sealed metal, glass, or plastic containers (and not the original paper packaging) where bugs can’t get to them.
NYC and pest problems like rats, cockroaches, and beetles seemingly go hand in hand. Fortunately, you can keep your kitchen clean and pest-free by following simple hygiene best practices.
Annie is an avid nature lover from rural Australia. After some international adventures, she settled in New York City.