There Might Be Bugs In Your Paprika – But Don't Panic

Although appliances and utensils may differ, every home kitchen has spices and herbs, the bare-bones cooking essentials. You've got to have salt, pepper, cinnamon, paprika, oregano, and thyme.

However, as some have discovered the hard way, these simple ingredients also make a tasty home for bugs. Cigarette and drugstore beetles are the most common bugs to take over your spice jars simply because they see it as an ideal place to raise a family. Board-certified entomologist Jody M. Green explained to HuffPost that spices derived from peppers "contain the nutritional requirements necessary for multiple generations of stored product beetles to successfully sustain life."

Keeping that in mind, paprika – made from dried red peppers and containing potassium, calcium, and phosphorus — understandably becomes a bug hot spot. So, how do you get these pesky little beetles out of your spice cupboard, and more importantly, how do you keep them out?

How to keep spices free from bugs

Unfortunately, there's no surefire way to keep bugs from entering your home, but you can take a few precautions to decrease those chances. First, when you buy spices from the store, thoroughly examine the packaging for any damage. If you buy spices in bulk, store them in airtight containers.

If you've discovered bugs in your spices — or if you haven't yet and just want to be proactive — you can place spices into the freezer for a few days to kill any beetles that could be hiding. That said, if you have found bugs in your spices, it might be better for your peace of mind to throw the infested jars out and start anew.

Another good rule of thumb for preventing beetle problems is to rotate your spices. Whatever you buy first, use first. Though buying in bulk might seem more cost-effective, large jars will probably sit in your cupboard longer and thus have a higher risk of beetle infestation. Finally, if you notice any products in your spice cupboard that seem to have developed damage, throw them out immediately and do a deep clean to be safe.