Does Baby Formula Attract Ants and Roaches? [And How To Fix It!]


Baby formula contains the necessary ingredients to nurture a growing baby. While babies seem to like it, you may find pests that enjoy it as well. When opening baby formula for the first time, there is an airtight freshness seal that will prevent any pests from getting in. However, once the seal is broken, the container is no longer airtight and pests can easily get into the container. So you may be wondering if baby formula attracts ants and roaches.

Does baby formula attract ants and roaches? Baby formula is sweet and will attract ants and roaches if not properly sealed. Ants and roaches will even go after dirty formula bottles in the sink or spills of formula on the counter. To prevent ants and roaches from getting into the formula, you should store the container in an airtight zipper gallon storage bag or other containers.

Few things are as bothersome as having an ongoing pest problem in your home. You may clean up an ant mess one day to then find a new invasion the very next day. There are many things in your cabinets that can attract bugs and one of these things is baby formula. If ants or roaches catch a taste of the baby formula, they will likely swarm the formula and they can be difficult to get rid of. Luckily, there are some things you can do and we’re going to sift through them today!

Are ants attracted to baby formula?

Baby formula is a nutritious alternative to breastmilk and it gives babies the nutrients they need to grow healthy and strong. Many families have baby formula in their cabinets. Even those that exclusively breastfeed may have a container of baby formula on hand for emergencies. But the ingredients of baby formula can attract pests such as ants and roaches because they register as food to those pests. Some of the ingredients of baby formula are:

  • Nonfat milk
  • Lactose
  • Whey protein
  • Sunflower oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Corn syrup

While baby formula may appear simple in a white powder form, it is actually quite complex. As it is the alternative to breastmilk, baby formula also contains many nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Some of these are:

  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Sodium
  • Chloride

When a container of baby formula is brand new, there is an airtight factory seal, but once the seal is broken, it is no longer airtight. Some baby formula containers might also have screw-on lids that can help prevent ants but many have a simple loose-fitting plastic lid that allows pests to get in. Once ants realize there is baby formula to eat, they will often leave trails for other ants to follow and invade the area repeatedly until the baby formula is thrown out. Getting a taste of baby formula can lead to a serious ant problem and the best way to prevent ants from getting into baby formula is to use an airtight container.

Ants are also attracted to the spills and leftovers of baby formula. So dirty bottles should be rinsed immediately and any spills of powder or liquid should be cleaned up before the ants attack again. When using baby formula in your home, you should take preventative measures of keeping the baby formula airtight and cleaning up spills even if you currently don’t have a pest problem.

Do I need to throw away formula if ants get into it?

A few ants around the home are pretty normal and nothing to worry about most of the time. But you may find yourself face-to-face with a few ants that have invaded your baby formula. Baby formula is known to be very expensive so the price tag may make you hesitate to throw it all away and instead you may want to just scoop the ants out and save the remaining formula. But should you throw away baby formula if you find ants in it?

From an environmental science perspective, ants carry a wide range of bacteria. They are known to be attracted to rotten food such as spoiled meat, bacteria, and feces. While the ants themselves may appear harmless in the baby formula (especially if there are only a few) the safest and cleanest thing to do is to throw away the entire container. 

The ants carry so much bacteria and you may think scooping them out is enough, the formula itself is actually contaminated with whatever bacteria the ant is carrying. You will probably cringe when you throw away an entire container of expensive baby formula, but it is for the best because the health of your baby is the most important thing.

Are roaches attracted to baby formula?

For the same reasons that ants are attracted to formula, roaches can also find formula to be a tasty treat. Unlike ants though, roaches can find it a little more difficult to penetrate the loose seal of baby formula. However, precautions should still be taken to prevent roaches from getting into your baby formula.

Once the roaches get a taste of the delicious baby formula, they will often come back for more… with friends! This roach infestation nightmare can be an expensive and frustrating situation. If you are currently having a roach problem in your home, it is a good idea to store the baby formula in an airtight container or bag, and place it on top of your refrigerator, away from any other foods that may attract roaches.

Keeping the formula separate from your other food should help prevent roaches from getting into your baby formula container. Once you find roaches though, it is just a tip of the iceberg of a roach infestation and the home should probably be treated with pest control measures or possibly “bug bombed” if necessary.

Do I need to throw away formula if roaches get into it?

While roaches look disgusting, their filthy nature is microscopic. Everywhere they go, they leave a trail of feces, saliva, and parts of their body which shed off as they move. They are attracted to food, feces and often invade kitchens. The infestation of roaches is awful but the worst part is what diseases they are known to carry. Some of these are:

  • Salmonella
  • Typhoid Fever
  • Polio causing bacteria
  • Dysentery
  • Cholera
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Leprosy
  • Campylobacteriosis
  • Listeriosis

Roaches can make you very sick or can even lead to death in some situations. Roaches should not be tolerated and an infestation should be met immediately with pest control measures and bleach. If you find a roach in your baby formula container, it is futile that you discard all of the baby formula and even bleach the area in which the container was located. 

Even more so, if you find roaches in your cabinets where you store the baby formula, and it is unsealed, you should probably throw it away for extra precaution. Roaches can make a baby very sick and saving contaminated formula is not worth the health and life of your baby.

How to keep ants and roaches out of baby formula

When keeping baby formula in your house, you should take steps to prevent the formula from being contaminated by ants or roaches. Tossing out contaminated formula over and over can be expensive, so you will want to take preventative measures to keep your formula fresh and pest free.

Some ways to keep ants and roaches out of baby formula are:

  • Seal the opened tub of formula powder in a sealed, airtight container or gallon freezer bag with a zipper seal.
  • Clean up any spills right away.
  • Rinse out old bottles instead of just putting them in the sink.
  • Store the formula away from other food or things that may attract bugs such as fruit or houseplants.
  • Do not depend on the lid of the container to keep pests out. Bugs can easily navigate around a loose-fitting formula container lid and contaminate the contents.

Storing baby formula in sealed containers

One option of storing baby formula is using a sealed, airtight container such as a plastic or glass canister. Reusing the same container can reduce waste and save money. Also, gallon storage bags are not always airtight and pests have been known to still penetrate the barrier and invade the contents of the bag. Buying an airtight container to store baby formula is the best option to prevent contamination from ants and roaches. 

There are several products available that can store baby formula. Some baby product companies offer a container specifically made for baby formula, but you can use any high-quality container for the job. Personally, we prefer to use glass containers with safe, non-toxic lids. This is a cute option that includes a large container with an airtight lid made from bamboo cork. It’s super affordable and should last a long time while looking great!

No ants are getting in here!

Can you store formula in Ziploc bags?

Storing the formula tub in a Ziploc bag is a simple option for preventing ants or roaches from getting into the formula. However, Ziploc bags are not truly airtight and pests have been known to squeeze their way into sealed storage bags. They do provide a barrier nonetheless so it should still be an option if you are on-the-go or otherwise don’t have a canister to store baby formula.

You may be wondering if you should pour the baby formula powder into a Ziploc bag as a way to store it. This is a quick way to attract pests because the bag has microscopic pores that will release the scent which attracts pests. Also, human error of not sealing the bag properly every time can leave the field wide open to the pests. If you want to use a Ziploc bag to store baby formula, you should leave the powder in the tub and put the entire tub in a large gallon-sized sealed Ziploc bag.

Can you store formula powder in the fridge or freezer?

Powdered baby formula is found on store shelves and they should not be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. This is because the humidity can cause the formula to clump together. You may want to store baby formula in the fridge or freezer as an extra barrier to pests but this is not a good idea and is a good way to ruin an expensive tub of baby formula.

Josh

I'm the dad in charge of Natural Baby life. With 10 years of parenting experience across three children, I am constantly learning how to raise children more naturally. I'm passionate about doing whatever it takes to raise a happy and healthy baby! Find out more about me here.

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