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Old 31-10-2020, 07:31   #1
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Question Remove can labels to prevent bugs/roaches?

Hello! We're leaving soon on an ICW run south, from ANP to FL. Then, in Jan, we'll cross the Gulf Stream and cruise the Bahamas and maybe northern Caribbean thru Apr '21.

How critical is it to remove paper from the boat for this trip?

I've seen & heard folks talking about the importance of storing flour in containers and removing the labels from cans of soups, beans, vegetables, etc -- the idea being that paper (and perhaps especially WET paper?) is good food for bugs, especially cockroaches.

We're happy to remove the labels and write the contents with a Sharpie. But, by the same token, we'd certainly rather not go to the trouble, both now & later, if it's unnecessary for a cruise of this type.

So what say you? Shall we systematically remove all paper, or not worry about it so much? Many TIA for your replies!
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Old 31-10-2020, 07:57   #2
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Re: Remove can labels to prevent bugs/roaches?

It's actually the glue they like. Take some boric acid with you just in case if you bring any onboard.

Always a good idea to remove the paper so they don't deteriorate and fall into the bilge. They will quickly clog a bilge pump.

Depending how you store your cans, nice to write on the tops in sharpie to be able to see what's in the can.

Short answer, we remove the labels.
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Old 31-10-2020, 09:26   #3
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Re: Remove can labels to prevent bugs/roaches?

We too remove the paper and write on the lid. We find the labels fall off when stored for anytime in humid conditions.

We do not bring cardboard on board to minimize bug stowaways.
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Old 31-10-2020, 09:49   #4
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Re: Remove can labels to prevent bugs/roaches?

I don't remove the can labels, but I do write the contents on the top of the can due to my storage situation. I do unbox all boxed goods, and repack dry goods like flour, rice and pasta.

I have never had any bugs in my canned food storage. However, dry goods should be repacked in plastic. Several smaller containers would be better than one large one so when bugs hatch they don't ruin all your stores. I have had bugs in flour, pasta, and rice after a month in storage. ymmv. If all your stores come from the US, all of this might not be necessary. But in Indonesia bugs appeared in my dry goods very often.
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Old 31-10-2020, 11:45   #5
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Re: Remove can labels to prevent bugs/roaches?

These are great answers. Our thanks to everyone. Now I understand the other variables in the equation.
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Old 01-11-2020, 09:04   #6
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Re: Remove can labels to prevent bugs/roaches?

They eat the glue, which is quite tasty, and go through paper to get to it. My Auburn, Alabama girlfriend once commented how the humidity made the glue on her stamps disappear. She had a little tube of glue to make them stick. I simply told her "Matter cannot be created or destroyed". It didn't take her mind long to work out that roaches were eating the glue (droppings), and she barfed right there in front of me. Keeping everything in ziplock bags solved the problem. I've also used this technique (any plastic bag seems to do the trick) all over the tropical world, Brazil, Indonesia, Tanzania, Angola, etc. I'd typically take some to be sure I had them. With a packet of water/oxygen absorbent inside, this also keeps items from corroding. Be aware that customs people sometime look skeptically at those packets.
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Old 01-11-2020, 09:05   #7
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Re: Remove can labels to prevent bugs/roaches?

Absolutely, put canned food on dock take off labels, using ever sharp sharpie mark on can what it is, give quick coat of shellac. will save you a lot of "creepy crawlers" de Susan W7KFI and 7Q7M
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Old 01-11-2020, 09:19   #8
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Re: Remove can labels to prevent bugs/roaches?

Forget removing labels. They are too tight for bugs and if the bugs do like glue, they are already on your boat. Food just doesn't last that long aboard because you use it up not to mention that can or two that stays around for a year you become suspect about eating it anyway. 50 years ago someone wrote a cruising book about cans and labels. "Remove them and varnish your cans!" We did it once back then.... What a joke!
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Old 01-11-2020, 09:39   #9
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Re: Remove can labels to prevent bugs/roaches?

After 10 years of cruising in the Keys and Bahamas for 4-5 months a year, I offer the following:
Never let cardboard on board including 6 pack can/bottle carriers.
Put pasta, cereal, etc into ziplock bags.
Don't bother taking labels off unless 1) they will get wet or 2) you already have bugs onboard.
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Old 01-11-2020, 10:14   #10
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Re: Remove can labels to prevent bugs/roaches?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bargain Bill View Post
After 10 years of cruising in the Keys and Bahamas for 4-5 months a year, I offer the following:
Never let cardboard on board including 6 pack can/bottle carriers.
Put pasta, cereal, etc into ziplock bags.
Don't bother taking labels off unless 1) they will get wet or 2) you already have bugs onboard.
Agree with Bargain Bill. And probably when and not if a few visitors show up, highly recommend Advion cockroach. Comes in preloaded syringes making application easy. Very effective.
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Old 01-11-2020, 11:14   #11
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Re: Remove can labels to prevent bugs/roaches?

Most current cans use plastic glue. The bugs wonít eat that. I take labels off because they make an awful mess if they get wet. And get rid of all the paper packing immediately. Even if thereís no bugs involved, it means only one trash run.
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Old 01-11-2020, 11:23   #12
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Re: Remove can labels to prevent bugs/roaches?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaintedKite View Post
Hello! We're leaving soon on an ICW run south, from ANP to FL. Then, in Jan, we'll cross the Gulf Stream and cruise the Bahamas and maybe northern Caribbean thru Apr '21.

How critical is it to remove paper from the boat for this trip?

I've seen & heard folks talking about the importance of storing flour in containers and removing the labels from cans of soups, beans, vegetables, etc -- the idea being that paper (and perhaps especially WET paper?) is good food for bugs, especially cockroaches.

We're happy to remove the labels and write the contents with a Sharpie. But, by the same token, we'd certainly rather not go to the trouble, both now & later, if it's unnecessary for a cruise of this type.

So what say you? Shall we systematically remove all paper, or not worry about it so much? Many TIA for your replies!
I am aware of this practice and did so initially but think "it all depends". If you are going on a very long cruise, particularly in hot humid bug infested areas, then you might go through the trouble. There are always those cans that you somehow never get to using.

I keep a selection of canned goods on the boat, never remove the labels, and have not had any infestation here in the northwest or on my roundtrip to Hawaii over a couple months.

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Old 01-11-2020, 11:30   #13
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Re: Remove can labels to prevent bugs/roaches?

I’m happy that I have never had a big problem. Yet. Since my home food has not been a problem I tend to leave labels on from items that I buy at home. But when traveling I do remove them since I don’t know how big the problem might be at different locations. I hope I don’t regret this method.
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Old 01-11-2020, 12:07   #14
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Re: Remove can labels to prevent bugs/roaches?

I never have removed labels or taken things out of the cardboard (other to save space) and haven't had any roaches.
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Old 01-11-2020, 12:26   #15
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Re: Remove can labels to prevent bugs/roaches?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaintedKite View Post
Hello! We're leaving soon on an ICW run south, from ANP to FL. Then, in Jan, we'll cross the Gulf Stream and cruise the Bahamas and maybe northern Caribbean thru Apr '21.

How critical is it to remove paper from the boat for this trip?

I've seen & heard folks talking about the importance of storing flour in containers and removing the labels from cans of soups, beans, vegetables, etc -- the idea being that paper (and perhaps especially WET paper?) is good food for bugs, especially cockroaches.

We're happy to remove the labels and write the contents with a Sharpie. But, by the same token, we'd certainly rather not go to the trouble, both now & later, if it's unnecessary for a cruise of this type.

So what say you? Shall we systematically remove all paper, or not worry about it so much? Many TIA for your replies!
If you anchor out, bugs and rodents should not be a problem. Caution, in the tropics some of the roaches can fly. The number one thing to do is freeze any rice and flour before you store it. The labels on cans will make a mess if they get wet in the bilge. If you store your cans in bilge bags(like the reusable grocery bags you get at Trader Joes) it makes cleaning the bilge much easier.
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