Letter Re: Food Storage–of Mice and Moths

Mr. Rawles,
I’m writing both a thank you and a warning. First, thank you, thank you, for putting together the “Rawles Gets You Ready” family preparedness course. By getting almost all of our storage food at Sam’s Club and packaging it ourselves in 6-gallon “super pail” food storage buckets, we saved hundreds dollars, versus buying commercially-packed storage food. That alone made the course worthwhile. (Not to mention the ton of other useful information it includes.) I have also loaned our course binder to both my sister and to my sister-in-law, so the course has also gotten triple the mileage!

Now here is the warning part, for SurvivalBlog readers: When we bought most of our food (in the Fall of ’08), we didn’t have quite enough buckets to fit it all. So I thought, “Well, I’ll just leave out those bags of rice, spelt, beans, pasta, and use them up first, before we use what’s in the buckets.” Logical, right? Well, a couple of weeks ago, I got into the back of our pantry, and pulled out a 5-pound bag of rice, from the top of the back row [on the shelves]. It spilled all over the floor A mouse had eaten a hole in the back end of it. Then I looked more closely, and I found out that a family of mice had built their house, behind a wall of plastic-bagged and cardboard box[ed] food! They even made a bed out of food and some fluffy material (probably furniture stuffing, I haven’t located that destruction yet). And not to just be content with opening a few bags, they chewed holes in almost all of the bags! So as my kids and I were cleaning up the mess–nearly filling a plastic garbage can, I found that among the few bags and boxes that the mice hadn’t penetrated, some moths had. There were weevils! I was practically in tears, ready to scream. So I had to throw out nearly everything else that wasn’t in the thick buckets. Crumb!

The good news is that the mice and moths did not get into any of the stack of big [6-gallon] pails that we had stored with the dry ice [CO2 packing] method you taught in the course. (Which is 90 percent of the food we had stored.) So we learned a valuable lesson, and luckily not too costly a one. Mostly just a big, sickening mess. I just wish that I had taken your advice and put all of it in the pails. I have found, that just like you said, the Gamma Seal screw lids make it very easy to get into the buckets on a regular basis. If I had just bought a few more buckets and Gamma Seal lids, I could have avoided all that waste, mess, and clean-up time. Y’ all learn from my mistake, people.

Thanks again or sharing your wisdom and knowledge! – Jessica in Raleigh, North Carolina (Still Learning!)