Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!
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
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.
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.
Try putting bay leaves in your containers with meal, flour, etc. I have been doing this for years and I have no moths.
I have had that problem in the past, and they are hard to get rid of. I finally had to throw pretty much everything in my pantry out and start over. When I started over I put all grains, and anything else the moths or larvae could be in, in the freezer for 24 hours or so. When the food comes out, I transfer it to a clear plastic, airtight container. This way, you can see if anything should appear. We have never again had a problem. The large Gatorade bottles are what we primarily use. I also put a coffee filter over the top before screwing the top on. This helps to keep any bugs out or, if they do survive, in.
Here in the desert we have a lot of problems out of bugs and weavils in the summertime because it's so hot.I keep everything,Rice,Macaroni,Flour,Meal,cake mixes etc in my freezer.I take everything out of my cabinets and spray with Raid.I let it air out for a day,then place contac paper on them.no more bugs for a long long time.you have to check the packages when you get them home from the store because we've bought toilet paper and paper towels and paper plates that were LOADED with those little black
bugs.I took them back to the store.and wouldn't buy from that store anymore.
We got Indian meal moths from a bag of dog treats that apparently had them when we bought it. I threw out everything grain based and had Wal Mart (where we got the treats) pay for an exterminator. Took a while, def. a pain in the neck. The FDA says it's okay for a certain percentage of our food to have insects/ insect parts in it. Disturbing, but it makes sense.
There is a product called the Pantry Pest Trap made by Gardens Alive that is pesticide free and non-toxic, to trap grain moths, flour moths, meal moths, and seed moths. It comes in packages of two and works well. I purchase it over the internet once yearly.
Just put some bay leaves loose on the shelves.....
I live in the South, and trust me, bay leaves--which I have tried--do not work in the area that I live in. I've found bugs in sealed jars that held bay leaves. I've found that checking everything you bring in is a priority. All you have to do is let one thing get by, and you are infested. I recently had an infestation when I failed to check an all-natural cat litter that was made from corn. I'd used it for years with no problems, felt safe buying it, then this. From now on, I'll check everything.
No one has mentioned pepermint or spearmint gum. We moved to Al. 11 years ago. I soon got indoctrinated!!! Friends told me about bay leaves. Didn't work. Others told me about the gum. Of cource, you need to get rid of everything containing the bugs and clean your cupboards good. Next buy the gum. Leave each stick in it's wrapper and tear it in half. Spread these throughout the cupboards, especially the ones with cereals and grains etc. I change mine out about every 6 months. You only need 3 or 4 pr cupboard. Good luck Judy
Does anyone know if these methods (gum/sealed containers/freezer) will get rid of a severe infestation, or should I just throw everything away? These guys are EVERYHWERE!!! And I have already had to throw out my blender and hand mixer because the made cocoons way up in them.
i have a guinea pig and the moths started showing up in the food i put it in a container and the moths don't get in there but they still get in the food the guinea pig eats!
I work in a warehouse that stores beans and freeze dried items. We use to have a problem with moths in things but we put bay leaves up and it did miracles. We also put our beans in the freezer for 72 hrs. when they first come in, simply because who knows where the bags were stored before they came to us.
What advice do you have for finally getting rid of these meal moths. They are everywhere. Just when I think I have conquered them, I find more. I had taken everything out of the cupboard and thrown away anything they might infect. I've washed down the cupboards with vinegar, bleach & hot soapy water and nothing keeps them from coming back. I've even tried the gum and bay leaves. I am almost ready to move and leave them behind. Any help?
I have had this problem for 5 years! Finally someone told me they might be in heating pads (those made with beans, corn, rice) and they are almost gone!
Like most of you I have tried all of the suggestions you all have to offer. Believe me nothing has worked, Just when you think you have gotten it under control, along comes a moths flying by the TV set. I did purchase the meal traps.I have even seen them fly right by them as if laughing hahaha do you think this fools me.
Like most of you I have thrown away every piece of food and I mean everything. I placed all new food in seal tight containers with a rubber seal, bleached the cabinets floors, and scrubbed the walls. Still I see these creature flying by at night..I have decided to name them, Henry came by last night looking for Ann, but Like Henry I had him beheaded, and so it goes on the battle. I will continue to read these blogs in hope one may find the answer. Until then I need to go catch. Jack who is now looking for Jill Good luck to you all.
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
I can't get rid of pantry moths that came home from the grocery store in some flour. I have chemically sprayed, bombed, cleaned, re-cleaned, and peppermint oiled everything. They have no food source (I keep everything in glass) and no trash to munch on. Yet I keep finding them. I have had them a time or two before throughout the years, but I easily got rid of them. This gang, refuses to die or leave. Any suggestions?
Can pantry moths get into the cupboard shelving material itself?
By Jeff from Sacramento, CA
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
I don't know if they are the same, but we had a moth infestation in our kitchen awhile back. I had to get rid of all grain foods. What an expense! Anyhow, after that, I now freeze all flours, rice, pasta, grain stuffs, etc.. before opening. I also store most of these foods in heavy duty plastic containers with screw on lids. You have to make sure there is a true seal, so what I do is put a coffee filter on before the lid. If it appears to have any holes, I throw the contents away, wash in hot water, and restock, although it has only happened once.
I think these are India Moth's,but whatever they are, the only way I got rid of them was to smash them and watch food storage. Poison and foggers did not work.
I wish you well,
The moth parts are edible and won't hurt you. Remember that for hundreds of years, generations merely sifted out or picked out the insect parts. The food is edible and is still eaten this way, world-wide. Keeping the dry food stuffs in the referator, or first freeze 24-48 hours, kills most (dormant) eggs.
One way to deter insects from your food stuffs is to place bay leaves inside each container of rice, flour, sugar, etc. This has worked here over 30 yrs.
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.
Lavander also help to keep them away both before or after.
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.
There are little moth looking flies in my pantry. How can I get rid of them without using toxic poison?
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?
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
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?
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
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
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)
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
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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
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
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)
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
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!
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!
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)
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
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)
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)
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?
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)?