If you are anything like me the thought of cockroaches and weevils on the boat or in my food freaks me out. Here are some thoughts on how to avoid cockroaches and weevils. The best way to avoid cockroaches and weevils on your boat is to do your best to ensure they don’t get onto the boat in the first place.
How To Avoid Cockroaches On a Boat
The best way to keep cockroaches off the boat is don’t bring cardboard into the boat. When provisioning, remember to take reusable shopping bags with you. After you get back to the boat keep all your shopping in the cockpit, don’t move anything inside your boat. Get a garbage bag and a permanent marker. Remove all the cardboard boxes and packaging from your shopping and throw the cardboard in the garbage bag.
Next, remove all the labels from any canned goods you purchased. Place all the paper from the labels and put them in the garbage bag. Use a permanent marker to write the contents of the can and purchase date on the canned goods. I recommend writing on the top of the can, it makes it easier to see what you have when the cans are stacked on top of each other. I put the purchase date on the can so I can use the oldest items first.
The theory is that cockroaches eat the gluey paper on cans and lay their eggs in cardboard. I’m not sure how true this is, but I always remove the labels. When we were in Martinique we bought a case of beer that had cockroach eggs in the cardboard and under the plastic wrap. We washed all the cans in soapy water and made sure they were properly dry before putting them away.
Once you are finished removing all the cardboard and labels, take the garbage bag that you filled back to land and put it in the garbage. Don’t keep the garbage bag on the boat overnight as you don’t want to take the chance of getting cockroaches on the boat. The last step in the process is to give your cockpit a good wash. This is the process on our boat whenever we provision and to date, after four years and 15,000nm. Including the Caribbean, South America, Central America, and The South Pacific we have never had a cockroach problem!
Keep Your Storage Areas Clean
Another way to ensure that cockroaches stay off the boat is to make sure that there is nothing for them to eat. I regularly clean out my storage area to ensure that there are no crumbs or mess in the cabinet. I also wipe down the cupboard with vinegar with a few drops of orange essential oil mixed into it, to ensure it is properly cleaned.
How to Avoid Weevils and Rice Bugs
If you have the freezer space freeze flour overnight to kill any weevil eggs in the flour. Unfortunately, I don’t have the freezer space on my boat. As soon as I get back to the boat I remove pasta, rice, and flour from their packaging (even if they are in plastic) and store them in plastic containers. Add a hand full of bay leaves to keep the weevils away. It is important to ensure you have an airtight container. If your container isn’t airtight even the bay leaves won’t keep the weevils away.
I recommend LocknLock storage containers. These containers keep their tight seal and you can remove the seal to clean them. I have found that sticking to one brand of plastic container makes packing easier because their shapes fit together optimizing your storage space. If you have the freezer space freeze flour overnight to kill any weevil eggs in the flour. For more information on food storage with limited refrigeration see our post.
Fortunately, we’ve only had weevils in our flour once, and it was the one container that I didn’t add bay leaves to because I had run out. I generally re-use the bay leaves that are left in the container once it is empty.