I really never thought I would write a post about how to get rid of pantry moths in your kitchen. I had never heard of pantry moths or the Indian meal moth until about a month ago. I was at a friends house and she mentioned, “I am so sick of these tiny moths in my kitchen!” They did not look like typical moths like the ones you see flying around outside light bulbs on your home. Well, of course, I had to look really close at the moths. I am not sure why I did, but I always like learning new things. The thing that’s different about these moths is the fact they are only about 1/2 an inch in length. I have only seen larger moths. I had my iPhone with me and we both decided to look up why these tiny moths could possibly be hanging out here. Lo and behold, they are called pantry moths.
I started laughing because I remember having mice in my house when I lived in Riverton, Utah. Before you scream out loud about anyone having mice in their home, I must tell you a funny story. I had the perfect neighborhood and to this day I wish I had not sold that home. The whole neighborhood would bring chairs outside with our lunch and laugh for hours. I mentioned one day that I caught six mice in one hour in my kitchen. I had to throw out so many things. Plus I had to disinfect everything. I must say, I am the expert on what kind of mouse trap to buy. Yes, indeed I am. My cute neighbors started laughing because I said “I had a family reunion this morning of mice in the kitchen”! I’m losing it! We all laughed.
We found the hole where those rascals were coming in, and with the new mouse traps I stopped the party. The girls all said, “why would the mice go to Lindas house when we have all the crumbs from kids under our kitchen tables”. We had a good laugh. It doesn’t matter how clean you are, the mice love to party. This is my favorite mouse trap: Intruder 16000 Better Mouse Trap 2 per Package So, my friend having pantry moths just made me laugh in a good way. I told her we would tackle it together. And we did. I store all my food products in hard commercial plastic containers like these: Rubbermaid Commercial FG630600CLR Space-Saving Container, 6-Quart Capacity with these lids: Rubbermaid Commercial 6509 8-3/4″ Length x 8.3″ Width, White Color, Linear Low Density Polyethylene Lid for Space Saving Container They are air-tight and I store everything in them. I still buy some OXO containers, but these Rubbermaid ones are my favorite.
How Do Pantry Moths Come Into My House:
Pantry moths will come into your house via a package of flour, rice, beans, cracker or cereal, chips or most any food item from the supermarket. They are teeny tiny, almost invisible eggs that are in food packages and hatch larvae that turns into moths. You may see these tiny black/brown beetles that are very tiny bugs in corn meal, bird seed, flour, cereal, etc. You may see these cream colored worm-like critters climbing on your walls. The first thing you need to do is look for the oldest packages of food or spices you have. Yep, they love all the unopened packages as well. Oh, and those partially closed spice containers are a dream come true for these babies.
Places To Look For Pantry Moths:
- unopened packages, check the cereal boxes, the unopened bags, check the creases of the bags inside all boxes
- cracks in your cupboards
- spice containers
- breadcrumbs, even if unopened
- boxes with baggies-they love to hide
- check dried flowers
- check under lids, they can hide anywhere
- cupboard hinges
- vacuum all floor moldings, empty the bag and take the dust out to the trash
- they hide in the cupboard pin holes, its a perfect place to lay eggs
- use a pantry moth trap like this one: Pro-Pest Pantry Moth Traps – 6 Ready to Use Pre-baited Traps (3 Packs of 2 Traps) The female emits a similar pheromone substance as these traps when she is ready to mate. The male panty moths will follow the scent to the traps. The male critters will flock to the sticky mat looking for the female pantry moths. This should hopefully stop the pantry moth life cycle
- some people think if they put their food in the freezer it will kill the pantry moths. They actually go into a dormant stage sometimes and wake up when back in the warm comfort of a cupboard.
- pet treats and dog food are a delicacy to these critters
- children’s macaroni artwork is tasty, throw out the artwork when possible
- dried fruit, they will chew right through those bags or cardboard containers
- remove all cupboard liners, they hide underneath, vacuum everywhere
- chocolate as in chocolate chips
- never buy a damaged box of food at the store because they may have some eggs hiding inside
- Jello gelatin boxes
- they chew through baggies
How To Clean The Pantry Moth Hiding Places:
I helped my friend by totally taking EVERYTHING out of the cupboards. We inspected for webs, larvae, egg and moths. We both washed down the top and underneath the shelves in each cabinet. Yep, they hide in crevices and corners.
Things you will need:
- bleach/Clorox spray
- garbage bags
- paper towels to dispose of the webs, beetles, larvae, and moths
- hot soapy water with rags you can throw out
- wash all cupboards with hot soapy water. I went one step further, I brought out the BIG guns (bleach mixture): Clorox Clean-up Disinfectant Spray Cleaner with Bleach Value Pack (2-32ounce bottles) w- 4 SOS Sponge I picked it up at the local supermarket. We sprayed, wiped and sprayed again all the cupboards, baseboards, countertops and window seals. We wiped down everything we thought a moth family might use to hide. She has not seen ANY pantry moths for a month now. Hopefully, we got the infestation under control and eradicated.
Comments from readers:
Mom called them millers and we taped whole bay leaves to the bottom of the shelves. Just bought a bottle of the whole leaves in the spice isle, works like a charm. Change ’em every spring since it’s not generally a problem in winter.