A bowl of bay leaves on a black counter
Don't Just Cook With Bay Leaves — Use Them To Protect Your Pantry
Bay leaves offer a subtly fresh flavor to dishes like stews and braises, while also acting as a natural repellent for pantry pests due to their essential oils.
For best results, tuck the leaves directly into packages of foods like rice and beans. They will deter pests including cockroaches, mosquitos, and silverfish.
Some even say they repel insects active in the summer such as weevils and red flour beetles, which enjoy gnawing on flour, legumes, nuts, and fruit.
This is because bay leaves contain the essential oil eucalyptol. While researchers don't fully understand eucalyptol's efficacy in repelling pests, many claim that they dislike it.