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Pests that can ruin your dried herbs

Updated on January 11, 2012

When you are ready drying herbs and stash them in paper bags and boxes, the work is half done.

What you need to do is ... check them some time later.

There are above 300 bugs and larvae, that can damage your stash of natural healthy herbs, even if you did all precautions before you store them in closed jars, boxes and bags.

There is one casual kitchen bug, that can jump in your stash and start eating and nesting eggs. It is called Flour Bug or Grain Mite (Tyroglyphus farinae). Normally, this mite does not eat herbs, but when they are dried - it suddenly becomes interested. You can catch a "old bag of peanuts" smell from your herb stash. This is almost 100% mite infestation. Have a good look for small dark pieces on the jar bottom and webs forming around the dry leaves.

If your stash is attacked by this mite - it's probably already ruined. The only thing you can do is clean manually the herbs and salvage what you can. If the damage is already too much - better throw them away.

Furniture bug
Furniture bug | Source

The other common pests are the various Anobium species. Most common are the Bread bug (Anobium paniceum) and the Furniture beetle (Anobium punctatum). About 1/8 Inch, those bugs are easy to be missed. They attack seeds and herbs alike.

Same size is Spider Beetle (Ptinus fur L.) that eats absolutely every herb out there. Even poisonous.

Be aware of all kinds of house Moth. They are deadly to all dried plant life. Even decorative bouquets, that are not supposed to be used for healthy tea are attacked by moths. One moth pair gives birth 3 times per year. And the moth larvae eats 2 times their size per day.

If you don't want to risk infestation, there is one way to get the herbs clean. Dry them at the highest allowed temperature, so the pest larvae that you missed while gathering and checking before drying are all killed.

One way to do this if you are not having pro-equipment is to bake them to 70 degrees celsius in the oven. If the oven has fan - even better.

You don't want spoiled and eaten herbs. It took you so much work ;) better have them yourself instead giving them to some bugs.


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    • m0rd0r profile image

      Stoill Barzakov 6 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

      Thank you for the thumbs up. My English is not perfect. I am Bulgarian. So if you spot something very uninteligible or wrong - just let me know.

    • couturepopcafe profile image

      couturepopcafe 6 years ago

      This is a good article. Excellent information. Thanks. Check your first and last sentences for grammer so you don't get flagged! Keep writing more like this. Very interesting.