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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June 14, 2012 Flag

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.

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By Harlean from Hot Springs, AR

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January 14, 2016 Flag

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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April 5, 2006 Flag

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, 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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June 29, 2014 Flag

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

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, 2014 Flag

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

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, 2012 Flag

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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May 29, 2010 Flag

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

I am having a problem with pantry moths. I looked for traps for them at the store, but couldn't find them. I have seen them online but would rather not buy that way. Is there anyone who has fought this battle and won? Do you have any home remedy that would get rid of these pantry moths? I am sick of throwing out all the baking goods and cereals they seem to enjoy. Thank you.

By AmberDawn from Toronto, Ontario

Answers:

Getting Rid of Pantry Moths

You'll have to throw out everything they love again, and start with new. Once they are inside whatever item, they can lay eggs. Then you need to go and purchase plastic containers with airtight lids. Look for containers made by OXO or have the Snap Tight feature. Clean the pantry with bleach water, put everything back making sure that all your baking goods are inside the containers. My mom did this for my grandmother's things and the moths were gone within a few days. (12/29/2009)

By ScottishYankee

Getting Rid of Pantry Moths

You need to get rid of anything they are in or could get in. Thoroughly wipe clean the pantry area, concentrate under shelving and in any crevices. Also check other sources that may be around the home; pet foods, snacks, potpourri, dried flora arrangements, and wild bird seed. Also watch where you shop, if you buy in bulk or at "organic" type stores you are probably bringing them in. (12/30/2009)

By larflu

Getting Rid of Pantry Moths

Use Ziploc bags, jars, and close the lids tightly, and Tupperware, which is airtight. Freeze everything for at least a week or two, then keep in the airtight containers. Life requires oxygen, no oxygen, no bugs. (12/31/2009)

By dollyslaffn

Getting Rid of Pantry Moths

Dried bay leaves will keep them out. You can drop them right into your storage containers on top of foods like pasta and rice. Also place them around the cabinets. (01/01/2010)

By happymom613

Getting Rid of Pantry Moths

You can buy moth traps from the King Arthur flour website among others online, but I trust King Arthur flour website.
Try here: kingarthurflour.com (01/01/2010)

By Indianone

Getting Rid of Pantry Moths

Pantry pests by Safer brand. I buy these at Lowe's. Once you get rid of the moths I suggest that you continue putting these Safer sticky pest traps out so you don't get them again. It seems they can live in almost any dry product you can buy at the grocery store.

Sandy (01/02/2010)

By Greenacres5015

Getting Rid of Pantry Moths

I have had great success using a combination of baby oil and pure peppermint oil. I wipe down the shelves in the pantry first and then spray the shelves with the oil mixture, then wipe with a clean cloth. The peppermint oil repels the moths and also ants. There will be a little residue, but this doesn't bother me, and it fades in time. I'm fighting the moths now, after being given pantry items by a friend and forgetting to put them in the freezer first.
Good luck. (01/05/2010)

By ChristinaP

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December 29, 2009 Flag

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)?

By Bprince from California

Answers:

Kitchen Moths (Pantry Moths)

I bought a trap from www.stirtsystems.com. It does not use toxic chemicals, but uses bio-pesticides instead. It works well in capturing pests and is good for the environment. Best of luck! (04/06/2009)

By dunno

Kitchen Moths (Pantry Moths)

These things are nasty aren't they? Unfortunately they lay eggs that turn into yucky little worms in things like flour, cereals, anything they can get into. I don't use chemicals, but either refrigerate my boxed items, or enclose almost everything in containers with tight fitting lids, or use good quality zip lock bags to put all my baking products in. It's a lot of work but that's the only way I have gotten rid of these nasty buggers without using chemicals, which I won't do. Good luck to you. (04/07/2009)

By kghornsten

Kitchen Moths (Pantry Moths)

I had a mess with those nasty things. They came in stuff that was not even opened. I put LOTS of bay leaves all over and in everything after scrubbing the cupboards out with very hot water and bleach. I have opened factory sealed packages that had them in the food. Anyway, the bay leaves and bleach water did it for me. (04/08/2009)

By joycehorner

Kitchen Moths (Pantry Moths)

We just purchased Hot Shot Fogger (it's new) and followed the directions, and it really worked! There were dead moths all over the two areas they had taken over (not our kitchen, they went for clothing). It works to keep on killing for weeks, and penetrates into cracks and crevices where the larva etc. are maturing. It suggested leaving the room closed up for at least 2 hours; we did the garage overnight, and one bedroom for 6 hours. Good luck. I found it in Wal-Mart (blue box, and has 3 containers inside). About $9.00. (06/26/2009)

By newenglander

Kitchen Moths (Pantry Moths)

Our pantry moths were getting pretty bad. So I cleaned out the cabinets where we store food. I went through all the open containers and found the telltale webbing and dead moths in some baking chocolate, tapioca flour, powdered sugar and mung beans. (Quite an adventurous palate those buggers have!) I threw all the infested stuff away, and cleaned the cabinets with hot water and dish soap. My husband brought home some pheromone-baited moth traps (pantry pests by Safer brand) which he found in the super market. Since those are non-toxic, I put the traps out - but so far so good: no moths. (06/29/2009)

By oohyou

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April 5, 2009 Flag

How on earth do I rid my cupboards of Kitchen moth, I live in a rather humid climate and in summer we have NO AC and so flies, moths and critters find their way in my house as well as others. I do not like using harsh chemicals like Raid and those aresol things as they are highly toxic, are there home tips for this?

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