Just last month I walked into my stockpile storage room downstairs to find that a furry little mouse had nibbled through 2 bags of flour, a box of pasta, rice, and some liquid antacid. Besides wishing him a serious stomachache and considering buying a cat, I knew I had work to do to prevent my precious stockpile from being ravaged!

Here are tips to help you out, especially in the winter when critters move indoors to find food and stay warm.

The biggest step is to remove the food source. When pests don’t have food to eat, they’ll naturally go elsewhere. Keep stockpile areas clean and tidy and check out the suggestions below!

Always store foods off the ground on high shelves whenever possible. Not only will it keep things out of the reach of nibbling mice but off of surfaces like concrete that can potentially leach harmful chemicals into packaging. The only things left now on my shelves downstairs are canned goods and non-edibles. Not surprisingly, the mouse hasn’t opted for a diet of Ziplock bags and aluminum and has since moved out!

Mice and rodents can chew through anything from paper and cardboard to thin plastic, especially when there’s food with a scent. To counter this, try storing edibles in food-grade plastic buckets with metalized liners. The buckets will keep out the bugs, and the liners will help odors from attracting mice and rats. If you also place oxygen absorber packs in the buckets, it will extend product shelf life as a bonus!

Vacuum sealing packages, placing bay leaves or spearmint on shelves near food, and using cedar shelving are also good bug-out methods.