If you have hungry feathery friends at home, the last thing you want is to reach for the seeds -- only to find them full of bugs. One way to avoid major losses is to buy only small bags of food. If you buy large bags, there are tricks to store them properly.
Keep the Bugs Out
First rule of thumb for storing bird seeds: Never store it in a plastic or paper bag. These are very easy for bugs to break into, and you might end up with an infestation a lot faster than you think. Instead, place the seeds in an airtight plastic container. Make sure the lid is safely closed, as tiny bugs can get through if there's even the smallest of open spaces.
Consider Freezing the Seeds
If you don't have the proper containers or weather conditions in your home, freezing your bird seeds can be a great alternative. Refrigerating your seeds is not a good idea, because it can create humidity and worsen the problem if moths or larvae are already present. However, freezing will kill any larvae present in the seeds -- plus it will prevent hatching or reproduction so the problem doesn't get worse. To freeze seeds, simply pack them into an airtight container and place it in the freezer, where it can stay for months or even years.
Bring It Inside
Even if it's more comfortable to keep large bags of bird seeds outside or in the garage or shed, it's a lot easier for the seeds to attract bugs that way. Instead, store the seeds inside in a cool, dry place. Your pantry is fine as long as you don't have any bugs there; otherwise, they are likely to head for your seeds as soon as you place them on the shelves. You could also try the kitchen cupboards or underneath the sink -- as long as you keep it dry.
If you buy large bags of food, chances are you won't be able to store them in airtight containers in your kitchen cupboards. One alternative is to repack the seeds into large zippered bags and then store those bags in a plastic container with a lid -- even if the container is not airtight. The double protection will keep bug infestations away.
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.