Monday, October 3, 2011

Got no bugs on me!

Least of all this one. Not an invited guest...EVER!
Being the Galley Queen that I am, I spent Monday hauling pantry items back aboard, continuing to re-package, label and stow. Back and forth, back and forth, toting dry goods I went...relentless! As I worked, (busy as a bee), to stow things in the galley, I got to thinking about...bugs. I need to thank Kristina, a blog follower, who emailed and raised the question of cardboard aboard and how we handle that -- a very good question indeed after all the mention of boxes we'd accumulated! While we use heavy boxes to haul all this stuff, we don't keep it aboard. For those who are uninitiated about the aversion to cardboard aboard a boat, cardboard boxes of any kinds (and even paper bags) are notorious for bringing in roaches and other pantry pests, as they often hide in the flaps or crevices, where they can also lay their eggs. Some say the glue in the flaps is an attraction as well, but I'm not particular about the cause; I don't want bugs aboard. It seems to me that in warmer climates, bugs are an issue anyway and tend to   board at will, so vigilance and prevention is key!

Knowing all this, I am pretty careful about what cardboard I bring onto the boat, and even more careful about how I store things aboard. Pastas, rices, flour and cereals come out of original cardboard boxes and get transferred to square plastic food-safe storage containers with screw-on lids. While the square containers are easier to stack and store, it's a priority that they close securely (again to deter pests). I also have a vacuum-sealer that I use to seal extra amounts in storage bags for long-term provisioning, or in containers again with seal-tight lids. I split up big amounts into more manageable units for storage and ease of use later and all those are stored with aversion to bugs in mind. However...I admit, I'm no saint. There are a few small boxes on board, like those little boxes of Good Seasons Italian Dressing mixes. They're just such tiny roaches hiding in there, are there??

I personally like to add bay leaves to my dry goods like rice, flour and sugar, since that is a natural repellent. (And, so far, so good aboard Equinox!) Some folks like to put bay leaves in the back of their cabinets or cupboards as well, and while I've never done it myself, I've heard that some folks freeze flour before long-term storage to kill any weevils that might be lurking. However, aboard a boat, where bugs like to hide in dark, damp areas, a good solution is to sprinkle boric acid under sinks, along cracks and other openings. The theory is that insects track the lethal dust back to their nests and die...all good! I've made little boric acid balls, mixed with flour, honey and water, and placed those on aluminum foil squares ("bug catering trays", I call them) and put them in dark, hard to reach places as preventative measures. So far, those seem to work too....or maybe I'm just lucky? But I'd rather be aggressive in anti-bug measures than have an infestation. Just saying.

So...despite our few run-in with bugs, (our time in Bermuda and the two palmetto bugs/roaches reveling in the fresh-water-rinsed scuba gear on the aft deck come to mind) thankfully, I've had NO bugs in my galley!! Although I'm now starting to squint at those Good Seasons boxes with a wary eye... 

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