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Getting Rid of Pantry Moths

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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January 14, 2016 Flag
0 found this helpful

There are little moth looking flies in my pantry. How can I get rid of them without using toxic poison?

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    January 14, 20160 found this helpful

    the only thing that ever killed them for me, especially when they were bad is this >>>Prozap Insect Guard-- made by:Chem-Tech Ltd bar code is 9845314006

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    January 15, 20160 found this helpful

    Is there any other way to get rid of these bugs? Without using chemicals? I have one curious bunny and two snooping dogs that love to open doors and sniff stuff around the house.

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    January 15, 20160 found this helpful

    I had this same problem....little moths flying all over the place. I found the source though and eliminated it. I had bird seed stored in an open container. The farm store told me they had similar problems with moths from the bird seed. So, I put the bird seed in an air tight container, but a problem still existed in my pantry. The little creatures had gotten into my flour, cereal, crackers and anything else grain related. I eliminated all that infected stuff and literally starved the critters to death. Check your pantry items and get rid of anything that they may have entered and put the remainder in air-tight containers....they will all eventually go to moth heaven and you wont have to (or shouldn't ever have to) use chemicals. Good Luck

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    April 5, 2006 Flag
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    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

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    August 5, 20100 found this helpful

    Our moth journey is similar to other posters. Began to see them flying around 4 years (!) ago. Repeated cleanings - turfing out all pantry food, scrubbing down cabinets and drawers - unfortunately didn't solve our problem. We'd appear to be moth free for a time, and then gradually, we'd start to see them again. Is there anything more disheartening? It's an enormous undertaking to get rid of these things. Well, long story short, and realizing that we'd clearly never found the source, I went crazy in the kitchen, using bright lights and probing every crevice and hole - and that's the answer! In every food cabinet, the pre-drilled holes that allow you to adjust the shelves was full of webbed material - the tell tale sign of moth life - and the larvae themselves. Ugh. We've plastered over them all, and then went further to pitch most of my baking pans (spring form pans, loaf pans, etc.) that had rolled edges and the potential for harbouring larvae in hard to reach spots. By golly, I think we may be on top of it this time. Good luck to everyone else in this predicament. Be ruthless!

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    November 14, 20100 found this helpful

    No joke. Check your furniture.

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    May 11, 20110 found this helpful

    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!

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    June 29, 2014 Flag
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    I had a pantry moth infestation. I threw 3 trash cans full out because of them. I put basil leaves in the panty after washing everything down. I put basil leaves throughout the pantry, but 2 days later I had 3 moths that I killed with a fly squatter. I bought traps from Home Depot and haven't seen any in the traps, but neither have I seen any moths. Coming to my front door I saw 2 moths flying around. I tried waving them away, but how can I keep them from coming in when I open the door?

    By Dotty

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    September 1, 20140 found this helpful

    Pantry moths and the moths that come in from the outside are two different things. Pantry moths usually come from food that was stored in a warehouse--pet food, cereal, flour, etc. First I sprayed bug killer into all the cracks and crevices of the cabinets then I used traps with sticky surfaces inside them to get rid of mine. It has been a few years, but I still remember that they came in a bag of cat food. I suppose it would be a good idea to put all of these dry items into plastic containers rather than leaving them in the boxes. (As you probably found out, plastic bags won't keep them away) The moths you see flying outside your door can be kept away with a yellow light bulb.

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    December 27, 20140 found this helpful

    A friend of mine uses this and says it kills them off. She also uses Bay leaves in every crack and crevice, even behind her stove. (Get them at the health food store) She also puts peppermint oil on cotton balls and leaves them in the corners of her cabinets and pantry and under her house too. (Spider and mice also hate peppermint) She also has Zero problems with roaches.

    Anti-bug Cleaner

    1/2 cup Vinegar

    1/2 cup Water

    15 drops Eucalyptus essential oil

    5 drops Peppermint essential oil

    10 drops Lavender essential oil

    8 oz Spray Bottle

    Pour the vinegar and essential oils into the spray bottle.

    Fill the rest of the bottle with water. You may need slightly less than 1/2 cup.

    Shake vigorously before each use.

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    March 29, 2014 Flag
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    What can be done about little moths that seem to be taking over our house, kitchen and upstairs too! I think they started in the bird seed or pasta.

    By Rob R

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    March 31, 20140 found this helpful

    Perhaps if you put those items in a ziploc bag and keep them closed as much as possible, that wouldn't happen. I had a similar experience with a large bag of cedar bedding I use for our hamster cages. I had brought it inside, and within a day or two our house was teeming with horseflies! Now whenever I buy a package, I cut a small opening on the top and leave the bag outside on the porch for 3-4 days before I bring it in (haven't had any problems since). Good luck to you!

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    April 1, 20140 found this helpful

    Oh man, those things are pesky! I don't know any other way to get rid of them except to cut off their source of food. Put all pasta, flour, cereal & anything that is in an open package in airtight plastic or glass containers. Check everything for little cobwebs & worms before you put it in your pantry. Throw away anything that has these in them because you'll just re contaminate anything else if you don't. Clean your cabinet with good old soapy water, rinse & let it dry before putting your stuff back in. It's a pain in the tail when you get those things! I don't bring any birdseed in the house anymore I opened a bag & those things flew out!

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    May 29, 2010 Flag
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    Can pantry moths get into the cupboard shelving material itself?

    By Jeff from Sacramento, CA

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    September 13, 20100 found this helpful

    We have what look like pantry moths (according to all of the images I have looked at online they look like pantry moths to me). However these moths are not interested in our food, nor do they seem to be interested in our linens! I saw one solitary moth in the dog food and there are none in the linen closet. However, they are all over the upper cupboard (right above the linen cupboard) where we store holiday decorations, tents and sleeping bags, even some of my husband's tools! I cannot for the life of me figure why they seem to love this one spot so much and I am having an extremely hard time getting rid of them. I took everything out of the cupboard and sprayed the whole thing with a bleach/water mixture, which seemed to kill the adult moths flying around in there for the time being. However, it took only hours before I saw a few hanging out in there again!

    I smash every single moth I see and the worms as well. Today I bought moth balls and dumped the entire box in there along the three shelves, taped the whole thing up around the edges of the cupboard doors with duct tape to make a semi-air tight seal and we will see if this works. I must say though I checked the ceiling of the area right outside of the cabinet a mere 5 hours later and had to smash about 8 of them hanging out up there so my hopes are not very high. I will be trying essence of peppermint next if the moth balls do not work. If anyone knows what type of moths look like pantry moths yet do not eat food or linens and how to get rid of them please please please let me know as these things are driving me insane!

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    October 16, 20100 found this helpful

    I tried washing everything, bay leaves, threw away everything but canned food, and even used the traps. I can hear them laughing at me. Today, I took almost everything out of my kitchen and and am using a bug bomb. They are in places I can't even get to, between the wall and cupboards, between the back splash and the wall, didn't want it to come to this but, bug bomb it is!

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    February 28, 20110 found this helpful

    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.

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    June 10, 2012 Flag
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    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 F.E.

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    June 12, 20120 found this helpful

    They find places to hide we would never think of. But with the food gone you won't see them for too much longer.

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    June 13, 20120 found this helpful

    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.

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    March 5, 2006 Flag
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    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

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    March 6, 20060 found this helpful

    Back in the 1960s moths got into my sweater drawer and ruined some of my favorites; i learned this while at a party at college; had to duck into the House Mother's apt to sew up all the holes. Since then, i've made doubly sure clothes are always completely clean b4 storing them in the closet or chest of drawers. They are drawn by the teeniest speck of food.

    Moths are repelled by cedar. Get some blocks of cedar to hang up in your closet and place inside your drawers. You can get cedar chips, sold for gerbil bedding, to use inside sachet bags; if you don't sew, use glue. Be creative. My grandmother kept clothing that attracted moths in her cedar chest. Nowadays you can line your entire closet in cedar if you choose.

    Make sure you never put your clothes away dirty.

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    January 31, 20080 found this helpful

    Lavander also help to keep them away both before or after.

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    October 22, 20080 found this helpful

    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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    June 14, 2012 Flag
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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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    May 29, 2010 Flag
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    I've been getting moths in my pantry, best way to get rid of them is? I know I have to remove everything and wipe down cabinet and foodies, and store food back in plastic or glass.

    But what I need to know is what bug killer type product do I get to be rid of them completely? I will be putting the food back in the cabinet. I'm just tired of catching and killing those little white caterpillars. Thanks for any help.

    By Bridget from Orland, FL

    Answers:

    Getting Rid of Pantry Moths

    You betcha there's a safe home remedy for pantry moths; and I'm about to share my secret. It will not kill the pests; but they'll sure disappear in a hurry, forever gone!

    1. Remove all grocery products (boxes and bags) from cabinet shelves. Check thoroughly and throw away any and all containers that have telltale signs of bugs, and wipe down all shelves with warm soapy water.

    2. Then mix a 1 oz. bottle of pure peppermint oil (sold in drug stores or health food stores for approximately $8) with 2 quarts of distilled water. Note: This is not the peppermint flavoring sold in grocery stores, for candy and cake making.)

    3. Pour mixture into a pump spray bottle; and store the remainder in a sealed glass jar for later usage, as it will keep indefinitely.

    4. Spray each shelf or drawer lightly with the mixture, as it is quite strong, but with a refreshing scent. Matter of fact, you might want to leave home for a few hours.

    5. After shelves have completely dried, put unaffected groceries back into cabinets. Oh, by the way, other areas of the house can be sprayed at any time, for any type of critters, as insects absolutely hate the smell of peppermint. This is non-toxic, and will not bother or harm humans or pets, other than perhaps clearing up your sinuses.

    Another remedy to keep insects out of cabinets is to place whole bay leaves on the shelves and leave them there. Another scent that bugs don't like. I'm delighted to be of assistance to you. Good luck!
    (03/07/2010)

    By Earthly Angel Mom

    Getting Rid of Pantry Moths

    The lady is right about the peppermint oil. My sis in law puts peppermint sticks in all bulk stored goods and there are never any bugs. (03/08/2010)

    By PIKKA

    Getting Rid of Pantry Moths

    I had weevils, too. I could not get rid of them in my small pantry. I got them from a bag of flour at the store that had a hole in it. I finally discovered they were living in the seams of the wood inside the pantry. I sprayed them with ant poison at the seams since I was so tired of throwing everything out, and it worked. I found them dead all over the pantry floor. Then I got the toxic spray off as best I could and I never had another problem.That was 20 years ago and I haven't been sick from the poison. (03/11/2010)

    By Rae Ann

    Getting Rid of Pantry Moths

    I also have had the problem and found that it had started in a bag of rice. I read somewhere that freezing kills any eggs that might be in dry goods. Now when I bring home a bag of rice, it goes into the freezer for a few days before I put it in the pantry. And I haven't had the problem since. Good luck. (03/12/2010)

    By Goldie2

    Getting Rid of Pantry Moths

    I have been doing pest control for 22 years and I don't spray pantries for moths, no need to. Just a thorough cleaning and removal of all contaminated and possibly contaminated items. Open up even unopened boxes, not so much that the caterpillar is eating the food inside, but it will get under the flaps of the box and pupate to the moth, so if these are not removed your problem will continue. (03/22/2010)

    By larflu

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    March 7, 2010 Flag
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    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?

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    December 29, 2009 Flag
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    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)?

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