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Getting Rid of Pantry Moths

Category 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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0 found this helpful
June 14, 2012

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:

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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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

0 found this helpful
January 14, 2016

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 recently had the same problem.....little moths flying all over. I found the source of their reproduction antics. I had various flour products in a pantry area. They were feasting on the flour, grains, bird seed that I stored there. I believe I brought them into the household from the bird seed I bought at my farm store. They told me that they have the same problem with moths from the bird seed. Anyway, I got rid of all the old flour, cereal, crackers, bird seed, etc., etc. and literally starved the creatures to death. Check your stored pantry items and see if any are feeding the flock. Once you get rid of the food source for them, they will go to moth heaven. Store remainder of these type (especially grain based items) in air tight containers and you shall be free of these things without using chemicals. Spraying chemicals doesn't kill the things it only slowly kills you. Good Luck. Love, Grandma

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0 found this helpful
April 5, 2006

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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February 9, 20090 found this helpful

I have thrown out EVERYTHING in my kitchen cabinet. It all started when my husband & I were killing moths flying around every day! We cleaned out the kitchen cabinet and threw out all the open stuff. Still no luck. Then I decided to go in heavy duty style and opened jars of my dry fruit.

My cashews had moths flying in it and there was larva in my rice - absolutely disgusting! I was shocked especially since I am such a clean freak. I threw out everything in my cabinet and lysol'ed it down. Bought new shelf liner and placed it in with some bay leaves. No luck again. We found 2 moths flying about and 2 moths in the empty cabinet. Very upset and angry, my husband & I checked the cabinet once more and found a "baby" moth which looked like it had just matured flying and we also found a bigger one right by the ceiling. We figured there are some remaining eggs and cocoons somewhere in the cabinet - a spot we have missed.

It was the upper corner of my cabinet where we found a cocoon and eggs. We took lysol with bleach and cleaned every corner and crevice. We also noticed that our cabinet had some crevices. Without taking any chances, I am going to caulk it down today! I am so sick of moths. I was considering pesticides but not sure if they are safe for places where ill be storing food. So I believe cleaning is the key! I read a lot of articles that say that these traps do not work and pesticides are not recommended.

Best thing is to CLEAN THOROUGHLY and store everything in New Air Tight Containers, do not buy in bulk, and caulk up all the crevices. Hope this helps and please let me know if there is something else i should be doing. Good luck

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August 5, 20101 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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June 29, 20140 found this helpful

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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0 found this helpful
May 29, 2010

Can pantry moths get into the cupboard shelving material itself?

By Jeff from Sacramento, CA

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June 2, 20100 found this helpful

You can't use Moth Balls or bug sprays in the house, esp around food. You cannot get that chemical smell out again. You have pests laying eggs. Scrub your shelves, if you use contact paper, replace. Scrubbing with a Mr Clean, etc, get a brush into the corners.Then, go to a food coop and get fresh bay leaves. Leave a couple on each shelf. The pesties do not like them. I have used this for years, once ridding our house of the bugs.

Do not put food items in the cupboard without being in a container. Anything grain can have them in. The boxes the food comes in can carry the eggs. Switching out to tupperware, etc is what all my food, cereal, pasta, etc go in. Anything made with grain will be suspect to harboring the pests. Also. don't forget to re-contain your pets food. They also are a source for these bugs.

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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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March 29, 20140 found this helpful

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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0 found this helpful
March 5, 2006

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 10, 20120 found this helpful

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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April 5, 20090 found this helpful

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.



Kitchen Moths

I use Hot Shot Kitchen Bug Killer, once a month. It is especially made for food preparation areas. Follow the directions on the can for different types of insects. Works for me! Get it at your local Wal-mart store. (04/27/2005)

By Antique Lady

Kitchen Moths (aka Pantry Moths)

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 Peach

Kitchen Moths (Pantry Moths)

I have just read that insects and mice do not like bay leaf, so put a few in the cupboard and in your flour and cereal and it should keep them away. (04/27/2005)

By Susan from Hamilton

Kitchen Moths (Pantry Moths)

There is a moth trap that they sell at hardware stores, like Big R or Home Depot, its a small cardboard box that you fold out (it comes packaged flat). It has a glue inside that attracts the moth. Its a lot better than spraying stinky bug spray around. I hope this helps! (04/27/2005)

By pakjc

Kitchen Moths (Pantry Moths)

Well, you have enough advice on moths.The herbal way to get rid of silverfish is to put costmary (herb) around your linen and paper areas, especially books. Silverfish like moist areas, so just having a fan circulating the air is a bonus. I once bought a bag of dog bones and it was infested with moths, check everything that is has grain in it, pasta, cereal, and flour. Clean down surface with lavender cleaner, that should help. (04/27/2005)

By Diamondee

Kitchen Moths (Pantry Moths)

The product Pakjc mentioned is called Pantry Pest and it does work in an enclosed area like a pantry. But I've had them flying all over the house for the past few months. Think I brought them in with birdseed. (04/28/2005)

By Deb

Kitchen Moths (Pantry Moths)

Try Lysol Disinfectant Spray! It isn't toxic to you but will kill all kinds of buggers (like 'flies' in-flight!). Try it, you'll never use poisons again! (04/28/2005)

By darween

Kitchen Moths (Pantry Moths)

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)

By Rivka

Kitchen Moths (Pantry Moths)

I have used the Pantry Pest for my kitchen with great success in the past. They were in everything flour, pasta, rice, cereal, even unopened boxes/bags. I got the Pantry Pest and put everything in plastic sealed containers and in no time they were gone. Its not expensive and works wonders. (01/05/2006)

By Shelly

Kitchen Moths (Pantry Moths)

I am battling these again myself. One thing that was successful for me before was to paint the pantry completely, remove shelves and paint all surfaces with a fairly thick coat. That was after throwing out everything and washing the surfaces down. The paint sealed up any tiny crevices in the shelves and killed any residual eggs. My kitchen linens are stored there too, and they liked to nest in the folds of items not used frequently. Wash in hot water and dry in dryer to destroy any eggs or larva. I also used the traps. (07/25/2007)

By Pat

Kitchen Moths (Pantry Moths)

I read elsewhere to clean first then put out in lids (up high if you have small children...I have placed mine on a ledge above the cabinets), a mixture of one part boric acid to three parts corn meal. Straight boric acid is not obtainable anymore, but Roach Proof and other brands of roach killer will have 99% boric acid in it. Check the label for content as some have less percentage. This takes a while since there will be hatchlings coming along. This may be just an additional method. As the rest of you I am desperate. (12/12/2007)

By Kerry

Kitchen Moths (Pantry Moths)

Pennyroyal oil is an excellent insect repellent, and is used in many commercial preparations. Just remember that a few drops will go a long way. The oil is extremely potent, and extremely toxic if taken internally. (06/01/2008)

Kitchen Moths (Pantry Moths)

I would be interested in knowing anyone's results in using bay leaves as a kitchen moth deterrent, as has been mentioned at this site by several feedback posters. Just last night, on my umpteenth round of cleaning moth larvae from my cupboard, I found them nesting in my box of bay leaves. Now what? (10/08/2008)

By Moth-Hater

Kitchen Moths (Pantry Moths)

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

Kitchen Moths (Pantry Moths)

Chemical-FREE solution...
We ended up buying Tupperware-like containers for all our food. Foil and plastic bags were no match for these critters. The biggest culprit was rice, granola bar boxes, and the sugar-based cooking supplies (chocolate chips, cookie sprinkles, etc). But after we thought we put all our food in containers, we still saw the moths. We searched the pantry again, and found an open granola bar wrapper full of larvae. Once those were destroyed, we haven't seen another moth for over a month. (01/08/2009)

By Dave C

Kitchen Moths (Pantry Moths)

I lived in a house years ago and got these in my pantry. I had taken everything out of the pantry, cleaned shelves, walls, and looked up at the ceiling. It had a texture called "popcorn" on it and looking close, I could see the larvae in between the texture. I took my vacuum with the brush attachment and thoroughly vacuumed the ceiling, not caring if I took the texture, also. Then I also vacuumed everything I could see. When finished I put the non-disposable vacuum bag outside after dumping it in the outdoor trash. It was winter in Missouri, so after a few days, I felt safe in bringing the vacuum bag back in. I never saw another moth the whole time we lived there. Also never bring bird seed inside, store in a metal container outside. (02/20/2009)

By Toebeanie

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January 30, 20170 found this helpful

I too have been looking for those kitchen moths. After washing out the pantry and putting all food items in plastic jars with screw on lids, my husband and I were still seeing moths flying about. It finally dawned on me what was going on. Since I had shut down their food source, they decided to eat the paste on the back of the border in the kitchen. I saw larvae crawling out from under there. Taking down border next week!

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May 29, 20100 found this helpful

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.

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March 7, 20100 found this helpful

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, 20090 found this helpful

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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