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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
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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 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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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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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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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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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?

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 ..

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