Whether Indianmeal or North American High-flyer moths have invaded your kitchen, they can be a persistent pest. This guide is about getting rid of pantry moths.
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I had a bad case of moths a few years ago. I finally found that my problem was a bag of pecans in the shell that we had stored in the laundry room until we could get them all shelled out, and the moths started there and migrated to my pantry. I bought moth traps that can be ordered from this link: www.gardensalive.com
They worked very well for me, and I now transfer all packaged goods into glass jars with screw down lids. This works in two ways. It keeps the moths in if you should happen to get a product that in infested. And it keeps them out of a product that is not infested. They don't always show up right away. Some just hatch out in time.
Another thing that helps to keep them out is to freeze products like oatmeal, flour, pasta, etc for a week or so before putting them in the sealed jars. I label my jars with masking tape. Many things are obvious, but I have regular flour and self rising flour, and it needs to be labeled. Hope this is helpful to many, as this is a terrible problem to tackle.
By Harlean from Hot Springs, AR
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Here are questions related to Getting Rid of Pantry Moths.
Can pantry moths get into the cupboard shelving material itself?
By Jeff from Sacramento, CA
I have adjustable shelves in my pantry and found out that the moths are nesting in the small holes running up the sides of the cabinet. I used tweezers to pull out the webbing from each hole and am going to use a q-tip to coat each hole with peppermint oil. I'm not sure if it will work yet but I wanted to let everyone know about their hiding spot since I have been fighting them for so long and never thought about those little holes in the cabinet.
After having seen these pesky moths around my kitchen area I finally decided to clear out the cabinets to check and see where they are coming from and sure enough, I discovered that my kitchen cabinets were infested with moths and worms mostly in the back in the corners where you normally can't see easily and in most of my opened and unopened bags and boxes.
I cleaned all shelves down with bleach and of course discarded and threw in outside garbage the contents of the cabinets. Now they have nothing to feed on, so why am I still seeing some later on that same day that I just did a thorough extermination of these annoying pests? Should I stop seeing these pests immediately or does it usually take a few days to stop seeing them completely or could I have possibly missed something or maybe they are harboring somewhere else in my home?
By susan 06/13/2012
If you are still seeing them, they are still laying eggs and you will have more. They can have nested underneath the rims of still unopened jars. I even found some nesting in a book of matches, underneath canned goods, between nesting bowls, in cracks of woodwork around doors, in my living room drapery folds, behind picture frames, in my dog treats, in my cat's litter, between magazine pages, and more places than I care to remember.
Like other moths, they are extremely resilient. Getting rid of the food is just the first step in a long battle, one I never hope to fight again. I went through cupboards sometimes 3-4x/day and kept finding them--I'm not sure if I missed them or if they re-migrated there. They seemed to get smarter about their hiding places too. I found that they flew around very early in the morning and late at night, which were prime times to kill them. I hunted them for months, and when I thought I finally got them all, a few weeks later, the ones I missed were flying around.
Now, absolutely no food comes into my house before going through it and placing it in a sealed, thick plastic bag. The funny thing is, I was always a very clean, thorough housekeeper. If it can come down on me with that vengeance, anyone can have problems. I think it all started when I brought home infested cat litter. Good luck.
I am having a problem getting rid of meal moths. I have emptied the cabinets and washed them. I have opened packages of products to check for them and thrown away things that they were in and put the remaining items in the freezer but I am still seeing them.
Margie from New Haven WV
By KS Granny 05/11/2011
It's weird how bay leaves work for some, but not for others, I don't know whether it's the variety of moths, or where you live, or some difference in the bay leaves. They don't work for me, so I'm going to go try the minty gum. At least the pantry will smell nice!
Cleaning is definitely the key, and sealing everything. Canning jars are better than popcorn tins, tightly-sealed tins are better than plastic containers, and plastic bags are strictly temporary, they will chew through them. The Pantry Moth traps do some good. I've caught a lot when I had a heavy infestation, and surely that reduced the next generation some, but they're not going to get every last one, so don't expect them to. If you've got larvae in furniture and crevices of your cabinets, maybe an insecticide fogger will take care of them; it's an extreme measure, but probably better than moving!
We are trying to stay clothes/pantry moth-free since an infestation in September of last year. We are really scared of finding holes in our clothes again. Is it true that spray starch attracts and nourishes larvae? Can we use spray sizing on our clothes instead? Any cleaning secrets that moth-infestation survivors have to share?
We will not breathe a sigh of relief until we have one pest-free year. So far, so good. Any additional assistance is most appreciated. Also, is it safe to put whole cloves in the pockets of clothes? Is is truly safe to use lavender to repel moths? We've read that moths like herbs, spices and plants, too.
NewYorkParis from NYC
By Red Neck (Guest Post)10/22/2008
An idea - make an insecticidal bait by mixing flour and borax and leaving it in an open container in the pantry. The moths will go first for the easy to get at stuff, eat it, be poisoned and die. Mark it WELL so that nobody will use it as food by mistake.
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How on earth do I rid my cupboards of kitchen moths? I live in a rather humid climate and in summer we have no AC and so flies, moths, and critters find their way into my house, as well as others. I do not like using harsh chemicals, like Raid and those aerosol things as they are highly toxic. Are there home tips for this? I know yes, I clean the place often, it has nothing to do with that. It is the climate and the humidity. Also silverfish, the little buggers keep coming back, I have even replaced all carpets and put in Pergo flooring, yet I have still spotted a few. Help.
By Antique Lady
Hate to break this to you but Pantry Moths are really extremely hard to get rid of. I also use and swear by Hot Shot Flying Insect Killer (blue top can) from WalMart. It is cheap and it works. In the beginning you will have to get rid of anything that isn't well covered and that has larva in it. The larva can even get into bags of cereal so check everything! Put everything good in tight One Zip bags or Tupperware containers.
Spray your cabinets well on the inside and shut the doors. Spray your entire kitchen and keep doors and windows closed for an hour or so. Pay extra attention to the woodwork and trim of cabinets. They like to lay eggs there. The smell from Hot Shot dissipates quickly.
Do this once a week until you see no more moths, or for at least 2 months. Then spray every 2 weeks or every month. My sister was so infested with these nasty and persistent moths that they were all through the house. It took 6 months of weekly spraying to kill them all and they have not been back for a year.
Check out "pantry moth" in any Search Engine for more info. Unfortunately spraying chemicals is the only way to get rid of them. Lehmans has Pantry Moth sex lure traps, but they really don't work well enough if you have an infestation. The moths hatch like every 2 weeks and if you aren't spraying every week you will miss some, and they will lay more eggs and multiply like crazy. I speak from experience. The best thing about Hot Shot spray is that the odor does not linger. It is about the best I have found and it is not as expensive as the name brand bug sprays. Best of luck to you---just remember to spray consistently every week until they are gone. (04/27/2005)
By Susan from Hamilton
I was wondering where to get those foggers, Walmart, huh. I need to get some replacements, as we are moving again. Hope Walmart in Canada carries them. As for moths, I freeze all nuts so that the oils in the nuts don't go rancid. Anything that has cereal grains in it, I freeze for 3 days. This prevents any eggs from being able to hatch. I do this with all flour coming into my home and I don't get any moths, beetles or whatever hatching later. Often these little bugs may crawl in at the warehouse or anytime during the trip from field to your cupboard.
As a Home Economics teacher I teach my students this method to help keep their homes bug-free. There are usually a few "uuugghhhs!" about unhatched eggs. I also store any left-over cereal products in the freezer over the summer to prevent critters in September. I learned these things my second year of teaching because of tiny beetles in some pasta that was lurking in an undiscovered cupboard. (06/20/2005)
To the person who ask about the uncooked rice--the moths love uncooked rice! In fact mine came in a large bag of Jasmine rice from Sam's Club. The apartment complex has bombed the kitchen for me, but it doesn't touch them. I was using a hanging closet treatment designed for storing clothes, but people tell me they are actually dangerous to our health, and they aren't working anyway.
I'm going to try the basil, bay leaves, and boric acid mixture. My mom used to use 1/3 boric acid, 1/3 confectioners sugar, and 1/3 cornmeal for roaches and it worked, so maybe it will help with the moths. Thanks guys. (11/24/2008)
By mothed up
By Dave C
Does anyone have a tried and true, natural form of pest control for pantry moths (other than pheromone traps and storing everything below 50 degrees)?
I am having a problem with pantry moths. I looked for traps for them at the store, but couldn't find them. Is there anyone who has fought this battle and won?