The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Ant-free storage tips?

rmk129's picture

Ant-free storage tips?

Just when I thought I was winning the war against the Argentine ants in my apartment... Aaaargh!!! It seems that they really love Daily Bread too...and the holes in the crumb provided perfect little tunnels for them. I will spare you a photo of this sad stage of my bread's life :) I can't leave bread on the counter for this reason, so once it is cool I have been putting the loaves in a plastic bag and I hang the bag on a hook from the wall in an attempt to evade the ants. This seems to work sometimes, but every once in awhile they find it and within 2 hours the bag is completely infested (I usually immediately put the entire mess in another bag and throw it in the freezer to kill the ants and salvage whatever is left). So I have found myself hanging bread from alternating doorknobs and hooks throughout the apartment so the ants can't find it...this is CRAZY. I think most people in these apartments give up and store their bread in the fridge, but I really wish I didn't have to do that because the bread doesn't seem as good afterwards...

Any storage suggestions???? Please help!!!

Gedunkleberg's picture

I haven't experienced this problem, so I'm just guessing about what I think would work. I would try buying an airtight plastic container (like a Rubbermaid container) that is big enough to hold 2 or 3 loaves of bread. If you are storing a soft sandwich-type bread, you could wrap it in plastic and then put it in the airtight container. If you're storing a crusty bread, that's a bit trickier, because crusty bread shouldn't really be stored in plastic. I wonder if you could first put the crusty bread into a paper bag and then put it in the airtight container. If the bread loses some of its crustiness, you could reheat it in the oven when you want to eat it.

Again, I'm just guessing here! This is quite a tough problem, and I can imagine how frustrated you must be. Good luck!

qahtan's picture

This is probably no help to you, but here goes any way.
I don't know if you know that ants love to get into ripening figs while they are still on the tree, and we were told when we had this problem that the best way to stop this was to put a circle of ash round the tree, ants do not like ash and will not walk on it,,,,and I also think they don't like Bay leaves, you could put the dry leaves in any and every thing.
worth a try................qahtan

KNEADLESS's picture

We have a similar problem with ghost ants in Florida in the winter. We of course seal all items like flour in plastic containers. We put bread in the microwave overnight. You may also be able to use your oven for storage.

We also wash all counters with lysol which the ants don't seem to like

jef_lepine's picture

Sadly, the bay leaves trick doesn't work. We tried it in the kitchen at school and the ants would just walk right over them.

Forgoing the whole poison route, what works best:

Remove their food supply
keep everything spotless and shiny
(do you see a theme here?)

I'd suggest keeping the bread in some sort of airtight box. Maybe you should just make smaller loaves and eat them right away? :)

rmk129's picture

Thanks to all for the great ant-proofing tips!!!! I am going to buy a large airtight container today :) I also really like the idea of storing crusty bread in the oven...I'm not sure if ants explore that territory, but I guess I will find out soon enough! Another idea I thought of is to buy a small table and put each of the legs in containers with soapy water so the ants can't crawl onto the table top :)

I would really like avoid using poison, so I can certainly vouch for the "clean, clean, clean" theme suggested by jef-lepine :) Absolutely everything is kept in sealed jars, my bottles of oil are standing in small containers full of soapy water (ant "moats"), any baking products that I do not yet have containers for are kept in the fridge, flour and sugar spills get wiped up ASAP, and I have been busy with the silicone plugging up all the "entry holes" as I find them. It has certainly been quite a project!!!

Thanks again for all the ideas...I am baking more bread today, so I will see how the new storage methods work :)

Ricardo's picture

hey bayleaves don't stop ants and never will
laurel or bayleaves are mostly used to stop silverfish, weavils and other tiny pesky thingies but not ants
Imagine how many millionaires there would be if bayleaves stop ants

naschol's picture

I just received about a week ago, a vacuum sealed bread box I ordered. So far, it's working great! I have had fresh bread stored in it with no wrapping for 5 days and it is as soft as ever. There is no evidence of mold and it still tastes good. I store the bread cut side down on a flexible cutting mat that fits in there perfectly. I think I could fit 2 loaves and some rolls in it at the same time. It is a bit pricey for a bread box, but with just the two of us, I was tired of throwing out half of my hard work!


sphealey's picture

What is the manufacturer's name and the model number of that vacuum bread box? Thanks.


Paddyscake's picture

sp..just click on the link, written in blue in the previous post

sphealey's picture

I am not particularly fond of that vendor; I was hoping to find other sources.


Cyn's picture

I put bay leaves in all of my flours - this prevents weevils. There is another thing ants do not like, and that is baking soda. Try sprinkling a little in an area that they seem to be coming from.

The main thing I was told by an exterminator is that you really need to find out where they are getting in, i.e., a window that is not sealed well - and block their entrance source.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I brought an ant killing product made by Vandal (Google: Vandal Ameisen, that's ant in German) which was treated plastic, you put it out in the ant trail and the ants walk on it etc and drag the poison or fungus back to the nest and within 24 hours it rots out the nest. I used this in Indonesia and it was so powerful the ants didn't make it 3 meters before they dropped dead. I let the dead ants lie, and as they would gather up their own, they eventually made it back to the nest. No more ants. I would still put my cooling racks on jars with little "moats." They also make a marker pen to draw invisable lines that ants don't cross. Works great. I'm not so sure about storing things in the oven unless it has a built in mouse and rat fence or net inside. I also have had the problem of having an open rafter roof, and the rascals would invade my kitchen on a regular basis. I kept my food in the fridge or the air conditioned room, that deterred most critters, and storage cans and jars. I also made a critter proof stock room. About the oil bottles in water, try a tray with deep lip, then you can push all the bottles into the middle and don't have lots of little moats around. Change the water every day to avoid mosquitoes.

Aren't you glad you've got winter now? :) Mini Oven

whitestar042's picture

My folk's house gets ants in the kitchen sometimes, usually spring. They keep everything in sealed containers and bags too. This last time they were getting into the microwave also, so keeping bread in there might not work. It's certainly worth a try though. I find the freezer to be a good storage place for me. It keeps the bugs out, and the bread from getting moldy. Things get moldy quickly here. (I live in Southern California.)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I remembered this... Ants love yeasty things and they like sugar, a deadly combo is dried yeast and powdered sugar, stirred together and set out for them in a lid or something similar. They drag it off and as soon as they eat it and drink anything....pop! Dead ant. :) Mini Oven