While organic herbs and botanicals are the best to buy and use particularly for those of us who like our herbal teas pesticide free! - they do come with additional storage needs and issues like those pesky little brown bugs.
Here at the shop we regularly check all of our herb jars and often discard entire lots of herbs if they are contaminated with drugstore bugs, but they can seemingly appear out of no where and could very well be found in your pantry so I thought I'd share some information on how to deal with these little brown critters and also how to store your herbs ;)
Recently we switched over to paper bags and biodegradable cellophane to package our herbs for all online orders. While the move to eco-friendly is exactly what we have wanted for a long time (and has been a popular request), this means our herbs are no longer sealed as well as they were in the plastic ziploc bags.
All herbs should of course be stored in airtight containers (preferably glass), but sending herbs in packaging that isn't completely sealed does increase the risk of those pesky little bugs that seem to really love many herbs as much as we do!
We recommend transferring your herbs to your storage jars or containers as soon as your package arrives. This is more important for any herbs which may be consumed in herbal teas or used in tonics etc. for health benefits or simply to enjoy. Those used only for incense purposes can be relatively safe stored in their original paper bags, but I do recommend placing the bags into an air tight container anyway to keep them out of reach of little ones and pets.
On the odd occasion you find those little brown herb thieves in your herbs - whether they enjoyed a ride in the post or found their way into your stash months down the track, our suppliers along with others in the industry including naturopaths recommend placing your herbs into a freezer bag for a few days, the bugs tend to find their way to the bottom corner and can then be easily removed from the herbs.
You can find more information on these little guys and other ways of dealing with them humanely and without using chemicals online, just google "cigarette beetles" or "drugstore beetles"
Feel free to comment any other tips you have on herb storage or getting rid of beetles for others.
~ Lyllith Xx