how to get rid of pantry moths
Animals, Life Tips

How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths: 6 Safe Ideas

Pantry moths are considered to be one of the most common pests found in kitchens and (of course) pantries. These insects aren’t poisonous, however, they will eat anything they come across. So if you’re currently dealing with an infestation, this article will teach you how to get rid of pantry moths.

What Are Pantry Moths?

Pantry Moths

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Before you read about how to get rid of pantry moths, it’s important to learn a bit about these pests.

Pantry moths, also known as P. Inerpentella are flying insects that feed on dry foods. These insects are also called Indianmeal moths, grain moths, flour moths, and weevil moths.

The size of a pantry moth can vary, however, they are typically very small. Adult moths grow up to 3/8 inches in length, with their wingspan being from 1/2 to 3/4 inches. Thanks to their size, it’s quite easy to overlook these insects until you have a full-blown infestation on your hands.

Pantry moths can be found all across the U.S. and are easy to identify. Adult moths have bronze wings with or without a pattern (for example, a black horizontal line). Their colors can vary, from light to dark brown.

Are Pantry Moths Harmful?

Harmful

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Pantry moths are not harmful to people. However, these insects feed on basically any type of dry food. With that in mind, your pantry is the first place they will infest, since that’s where people tend to store dried goods such as raw and processed grains, pasta, cereal, dog food, cat food, etc.

Also, contrary to what you may think, having pantry moths isn’t a sign of poor housekeeping. You can keep your pantry as clean as a whistle, and still have an infestation.

What’s more, most infestations occur within commercial food processing facilities. Then, when you open your food, the moths will eventually fly out and move into your home.

Worst of all, one pantry moth can lay an average of 300 eggs. However, it’s not uncommon for them to lay up to 500 eggs at a time. Once they lay their eggs, it will take up to 18 days for them to hatch. In some cases, the eggs will hatch all at once, but it’s possible for them to hatch in intervals as well.

Once hatched, you’ll have hundreds of white caterpillar larvae in your pantry. These are typically up to 1/2 inches long. While moth eggs are difficult to detect, the larvae are hard to miss considering they bear a strong resemblance to maggots.

The larvae will spin webs and consume your dry food during the course of several weeks before they form pupae. The pupae then hatch into adult moths. This process usually takes up to 10 months.

Why Are They Infesting Your Pantry?

Pantry

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Pantry moths can enter your home in a variety of different ways. For example, they can simply fly in through an open door or window. In some cases, pantry moths will make their way through openings around your vents, cables that run through your walls, and plumbing lines.

But even if you’re careful to shut all your windows and doors, and you made sure to plug up any holes in your walls, there’s still a good chance that these pantry moths can stow away inside packaged food.

The problem is that once a pantry moth makes its way into your home unnoticed, there’s a good chance you’ll soon have a full-blown infestation on your hands.

A pantry moth only has one mission: to find an area with plenty of food. Once it does, it can safely lay its eggs.

Why Do They Keep Coming Back?

Back

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Pantry moths keep coming back into your home for one simple reason: you have plenty of open food lying around. If you’re not careful to keep everything in air-tight containers, or you regularly leave pet food out, then it’s no wonder pantry moths are turning your pantry into their home.

What’s more, if you’re not careful to check your food once you bring it home from the store, there’s always a chance that a moth or two could be hiding inside your food.

So ultimately, if you want to keep the moths away, you will need to start inspecting your food more thoroughly.

How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths: 6 Ways

Get Rid of

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Namely, dealing with a pantry moth infestation isn’t difficult. However, it will involve a lot of work on your part. So without further ado, here’s how to get rid of pantry moths.

1. Clean Your Pantry Regularly

Cleaning your pantry once a week is a good way to prevent a moth infestation. However, you should be thorough when cleaning, making sure to vacuum every nook and cranny in your pantry.

Furthermore, you should make sure to use a safe cleaning liquid when you wipe down your counters. For extra protection, there are a few natural moth repellents you can place inside your pantry.

2. Inspect Your Dried Goods

The next tip for how to get rid of pantry moths involves thoroughly inspecting your food. This means opening and checking every dry food item.

Overall, you will need to look for moth larvae in your food, and on the food packaging itself. Also, check for messy webs, since these will belong to moths (spiders make neat webs).

Keep in mind that moths love to infest all of your grain-based products such as pasta, flour, and cereal, so check those first. Then, move on to nuts and sweets.

Once you’re done inspecting these products, you can move on to canned products and spice jars. For unopened cans and jars, you will only need to check the packaging for moth larvae.

Equally important, if you keep any pet food in your pantry, make sure to check it as well.

3. Discard Your Dried Foods

Dried Foods

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Whatever food you find that has moths or larvae, you will need to throw away. However, it’s important that you place these items in an outdoor trash can. If you throw them away in your kitchen trash, all your hard work will have been for nothing.

If you have some unopened nuts or grains that you would like to keep, but you’re afraid they may be infested, place them in the freezer for a few weeks. This will kill any moths or larvae that may be lurking inside.

Once you’ve dealt with the infested products, you will need to completely empty out your pantry. Make sure you pull out all of your shelf liners to give them a good wash. Vacuum the corners of your shelves, as well as the shelf brackets, undersides, hardware.

Also, don’t forget to vacuum the baseboards, walls, floor, trim, ceiling, and even your pantry door.

Then, you will need to use something strong to clean the pantry. Keep in mind that you won’t be allowed to use any pesticides to get rid of these pests, considering they’re located around your food products.

Instead, you should make a safe, homemade spray. You will need:

• A spray bottle

• Some water

• White vinegar

• Essential oils (peppermint, eucalyptus, and cedarwood)

Mix equal parts vinegar and water, and pour the mixture into your spray bottle. Add approximately 5 drops of peppermint, 15 drops of eucalyptus, and 10 drops of cedarwood essential oil.

Give the mixture a good shake, and then spray the solution onto all the surfaces in your pantry, giving them a thorough wipe-down.

The main thing to remember is that you will need to clean every area from top to bottom before you even consider putting all your items back in place.

4. Restock Your Dried Foods

Only when you’re 100% certain that you’ve gotten rid of your moth infestation can you start to restock your pantry. The best thing to do is to leave it bare for a day or two just to see if any moths appear again. If they do, you will need to give your pantry another scrub-down.

But, even before you begin the restocking process, you should first check all your products. As mentioned, it’s quite common for moths to enter your food while it’s being packed. So, when you gather all your products, make sure to open them and check for any moths and larvae. If you do find any, discard the infested items.

5. Freeze Your Dried Goods

One scary thing about math larvae is that they can eat through paper and plastic. That means that any food packed in paper or plastic containers is up for grabs. So what can you do?
Your best option is to freeze your dried goods. These include:

• Flour

• Cereal

• Nuts

• Seeds

• Bulk grains

• Dried fruit

• Crackers

• Chips

• Baking soda

• Baking powder

• Sugar

• Pet food

Basically, anything that doesn’t come in a can or jar should be frozen.

6. Seal Any Gaps in Your Wall

Make sure to seal any cracks in your walls or even the smallest of openings. Moths are incredibly small, so it’s easy for them to enter through tiny spaces.

Check the space between your cupboards and walls and behind your appliances. If you find any cracks, seal them with caulk.

Pantry moths are pretty annoying when they show up in your home. They’re difficult to spot because they’re so small, and once they start to multiply you’ll wonder how in the world could this have happened to you. But luckily, there are effective ways to get rid of them, and keep them out of your pantry for good!


Featured image source: Pinterest.com

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