Paper or Plastic? What Would a Bug Choose? hero image

Paper or Plastic? What Would a Bug Choose?

Paper or plastic? The choice opens up many avenues of thought for humans, but bugs might have a much easier time choosing which material they prefer. If you think about the makeup of each item, paper is made of more organic material than plastic is. This means that bugs will have more interest in paper, and likely be stumped by plastic.

Paper Eating Pests

The most common bugs you may find in your home that are dining on your paper products are silverfish, cockroaches, and termites.

Silverfish - These small, wingless bugs resemble light grey or silver fish, as you might have guessed. They like to feed on paper, wood, flour, wallpaper, glue, book bindings, and photographs. Paper with ink on it provides additional nutrition, so keep an eye out on your newspapers, printed pages, and books.

Cockroaches - Probably the most common offender of defiling your important papers. Cockroaches love to hide away in dark cluttered spaces, cracks, and crevices. These discreet locations provide a great place for laying eggs, and getting a quick snack. Roaches tend to eat paper, books, glue, garbage, and anything on your diet.

Termites - Termites are the silent killer. You may not even know you have a termite infestation for years. They are attracted to the cellulose found in wood, including the refined forms that are found in paper products. If left uncontested they could potentially eat your house and most things in it.

Paper Product Process

Most paper products are made from virgin tree pulp. However, recycled paper makes up 38% of the world's total fiber supply, and non-wood fibers from plants like hemp and kenaf make up 7%. The paper making process produces products with natural wood chemicals, like cellulose, oils and resins. It's these natural elements of the process that allow bugs to enjoy the finished products.

There are over 5,000 products made from paper and paper making by-products, and some of them may surprise you. Here are a few products you probably have lying around the house, or even use or see daily.

· Crayons
· Globes
· Stamps
· Bandages
· Gauze
· Chewing Gum
· Coffee Filters
· Fabric Softener
· Straws
· Toilet Paper
· Ice Cream Containers
· Wallpaper
· Paper Towels
· Board Games
· Photographs
· Stickers
· Books

The reason bugs love these products is because they actually provide a source of starchy nutrients to them due to the organic matter in them. Many paper products also provide a nice place for bugs to lay their eggs.

If you notice empty egg casings, shedded skin casings, dead insects, or a powdery substance near your paper products, these could be signs that bugs are feasting on your belongings.

The Power of Plastic

How can you keep bugs out of your stuff? Plastic! Since plastic is often synthetic and very difficult to break down, it deters bugs from being able to consume it. This is what makes plastic the greatest defense against bugs.

If you find yourself with any kind of bug infestation, or problem, use plastic to keep them out! Here are a few tips on how plastic can help you keep bugs under control.

1. Use plastic storage boxes to store excess items and keep bugs out.

2. Use airtight plastic containers to store food. They will keep the food odors in and keep bugs out. Put pet food in plastic containers as well, bugs will feast on any kind of food they can find.

3. Put bug infested items in a black plastic bag, and leave it out in the sun. The bag will reach such a high temperature that it will kill the bugs.

4. Place firewood, or other wood products stored outside on a plastic platform. This will prevent most bugs from entering the wood in the first place.

5. Use plastic bags in your garbage cans, and make sure they have securely sealing lids.

Hopefully this post will lead you on the right path to discarding and recycling your paper products as fast as possible. Any hoarding or cluttering of paper products can lead to an increased chance of attracting bugs into your home. Utilize durable plastic to keep bugs at bay.