Because of the small flying moths in your kitchen and the rapidly expanding presence of pantry moths in our homes, there is a major risk of food contamination. As a result, there is a general concern for kitchen hygiene results from this.
People regularly inquire, “How do I get rid of pantry moths in my house?” Therefore, we’ve put together a list of 9 steps you can take to help you get rid of the pantry moths!
What Are Pantry Moths?
These little gray, tan, or brown flying pantry moths, also called “Indian meal moths,” are among the most prevalent household pests in the United States. You might have discovered moths in your food or noticed them fluttering around in your kitchen or even bedroom.
The silky webs that pantry moths leave behind on food packaging and other adjoining surfaces are one of the most obvious symptoms of an infestation.
Where Do Pantry Moths Come From?
Pantry moths are not a result of poor housekeeping; however, you may need to clean your pantry to get rid of them. They typically enter your home through the packaging of dry food or after creating a cocoon out of cans or jars. When they find food, they may occasionally fly inside your house through cracks in the window screens or open doors.
Identifying Pantry Moths
There are four different kinds of pantry or food moths to watch out for in your kitchen. The Mediterranean flour moth, Brown House Moth, and White Shouldered House Moth are some species of pantry moths you could encounter. Indian meal moths are the most frequent species.
All will settle where there is a food source, causing an infestation where larvae can quickly turn into a major issue. With a single female having the capacity to produce up to 600 eggs, an infestation can result in food waste costs and hygienic problems for your family if left untreated.
Pantry Moth Infestations
The majority of people are unaware that food packaging may actually be chewed through by pantry moth larvae. They will weave webs into your food items and can easily fit inside paper and plastic cartons.
Cereal or flour crumbs become grouped together. Sometimes their eggs emit an odd fragrance, making foods they’ve infected may smell strange to you, but not always. There may or may not still be larvae present.
Additionally, their larvae scurry into fissures and holes. In the cracks surrounding your cabinets, under light or electrical switch panels, or even in the spaces between your cabinets and wall, you might find these dust-looking webs.
You’ll then notice tiny brown moths flying over your home at that point. Because despite what their name implies, pantry moths do not always hang out in the kitchen. Wherever they can find sanctuary, they will reproduce.
When treating an area where food moths are visible, proceed with caution. Kitchens should only be equipped with items from our Food Moth Treatments category.
Are Pantry Moths Harmful?
The good news is that Indian meal moths pose no health risks at any point in their life cycles. They don’t bite people, and they don’t spread illness. Although eating food contaminated by these moths’ eggs or larvae won’t get you sick, if you’re apprehensive about it, it could make your stomach turn.
Pantry moths should be eliminated from your home since they are ugly and can cause some foods to smell “off.” Therefore, it’s time to get serious about getting rid of them if you’re sick of watching moths fluttering around your kitchen and cupboards or discovering their traces in your food.
The presence of pantry or kitchen moths in food cabinets increases the risk of eating microscopic moth larvae, which are frequently found in open packets of birdseed, rice, or flour. Although pantry moths are not known to sting or bite, they are nevertheless an annoyance.
You may now be wondering are moths edible?! This isn’t something we’d advise and all the more reason to get to your pantry moths treatment plan – killing pantry moths, pantry moth eggs, and the pantry moths larvae.
How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths: Our 9 Top Tips
1. Regularly Check Your Pantry
The likelihood is that if you’re reading this, you’ve already noticed pantry moth indications and are wondering, “Why do I have moths in my pantry?” What about the origin of pantry moths? We have a tendency to keep expired food in the back of packed shelves and leave it there for extended periods of time.
Moving pantry contents around and checking what you have will quickly ensure that you are not creating a secure, undisturbed home for bugs that leads to moths in the pantry and kitchen cupboards.
2. Check All Food Stored in Your Pantry for Moths
You can check each food container or bag in your pantry separately to see whether it has a use-by date and to see if it has any “unwanted visitors” living inside. What are you trying to find? The earliest stages of the pantry moth life cycle or the flying adult form of pantry moths may be present: eggs and larvae.
Which meals are most dangerous? Pay close attention to products made from grains and cereals. Breakfast cereals, oats, flour, pasta, lentils, popcorn, rice, and nuts are a few examples.
Dry pet food, like biscuits, is especially vulnerable since it is frequently kept in sizable bags that are difficult to reseal and keep out moths. Don’t forget to check the bags of seed, grain, and nuts you may have kept in your garage or garden shed if you feed the wild birds in your garden!
Another reason why pantry moths go by other names like bird seed moths, flour moths, grain moths, wheat moths, food moths, cereal moths, or even rice moths, is because they feed on stored food. Despite being smaller than food moth eggs, pantry moth larvae are much simpler to spot because they are between ¼ and ½ of an inch long and may cause some food to shift.
The presence of open food containers in which they might lay their eggs is what draws pantry moths. The flying pantry moth may go unnoticed if food isn’t frequently disturbed and moved about, which would allow for effective breeding, resulting in eggs growing into pantry moth pupa or larvae and then onto their adult flying form.
3. Dispose of All Pantry Moth-Infested Foods
Foods that are past their expiration dates and/or are infested should be thrown away in their original container. This step of the procedure involves getting rid of pantry moths. Similar meals in reusable containers should be safely disposed of, but the container should be kept so it can be cleaned.
Even if you’ve kept your food in Mason jars or Kilner jars, it’s still a good idea to check in case those pesky cupboard moths managed to get inside after they were put back in the pantry or cupboard with the lid partially off. If this was the case, you might have left a possible source for future meal moth infestations!
To reduce the chance of spills and possible re-infestation, dispose of contaminated food outside the house by placing it in bags that are then tightly knotted. We’re just halfway through our quest to permanently get rid of pantry moths, but getting rid of contaminated food puts you on the road to getting rid of meal moths.
4. Clean Your Containers
Reusable food storage containers should be properly washed by hand or in your dishwasher in a hot setting after being rinsed, disinfected, and completely cleaned. If you’ve been wondering how to get rid of pantry moth larvae and eggs, thoroughly cleaning your containers with hot, soapy water will get rid of any pests that escaped disposal with the contaminated food.
This is a crucial stage that cannot be skipped in the fight against pantry moths. The tiny eggs of pantry moths are simple to overlook with the naked eye.
5. Clean Out Your Pantry & Kitchen Cupboards
Start by vacuuming all surfaces after clearing all shelving of food and containers. Pay close attention to any moth traces in the crevices and corners of cabinets. Please remember to look behind shelves, baseboards, and flooring.
In kitchen cupboards, it is simple to see adult flying pantry moths, but more difficult to see the eggs. Moths in kitchen cabinets must be removed in order to remove their eggs as well.
Similar to how you would with food, empty your vacuum outdoors and put the contents into a bag that you then wrap or knot tightly. Keep in mind that amid the dust there may be microscopic pantry moth eggs, as well as possibly moth webbing, shed skins, and cocoon carcasses.
Keep in mind that if your vacuum is a bagless model, you should wash out the dust canister before emptying it. If you have used any smaller attachments, you may wish to clean those as well to make sure that there are no leftover sticky pantry moth eggs.
After that, use a disinfectant or diluted bleach to clean your shelf and all other surfaces, and let everything air dry. A lack of comprehensive cleaning at this stage is frequently what makes pantry moths reappear, so invest time in conducting this thoroughly, and you’ll probably just need to do it once—as opposed to wondering a few weeks later why there are moths in my pantry again.
6. Deal With Shelf Liners
Throw away paper-based shelf liners because they might contain pantry moth larvae and/or eggs and function as an ongoing pantry moth nest. If they are plastic, you can give them a good wash and scrub them in soapy water.
It’s recommended to either hold off on replacing your shelf liners until you are certain that your pantry moth elimination is successful or to think about forgoing their use altogether.
7. Use a Natural Residual Pesticide for Ongoing Protection
The two main types of residual pesticides are chemical and natural; for pantry moths in kitchens, only natural residual sprays should be taken into consideration.
In order to get rid of pantry moths organically while protecting your family from chemicals, natural sprays to deal with pantry moths and pantry moth larvae or maggots will be effective for 2 weeks after application.
Make sure to evenly cover every surface, then let it air dry. Despite being harmless for humans, it will dry clear and offer continued protection against any leftover pantry moths coming into contact with it at any point in their life cycle.
Never put unprotected food on surfaces that have been treated with pantry moth spray, and avoid using the spray on surfaces used for food preparation or drawers containing utensils or silverware.
The seams and joints surrounding the baseboards of kitchen cabinets can also be treated with the pantry moth spray. It is a good idea to vacuum under baseboards that can be removed (under standing units) and then apply the spray as the baseboards are put back in place.
The best way to get rid of pantry moths and make sure they don’t come back is to be as thorough as possible.
8. Replace Non-Infested Food
All non-infested food that is still fresh should be put into airtight, sealed containers, such as glass jars like Mason jars or Kilner jars, or plastic food storage containers.
This is an efficient long-term method of preventing moths from entering food. This is crucial for all items that aren’t already in sealed tins or containers, but it’s especially crucial for cereals, grains, flour, dried fruits, nuts, and rice.
9. Set Up Pantry Moth Traps to Defend and Monitor
There are two primary uses for pantry moth traps. To begin with, they will offer efficient monitoring to check for pantry moth presence in the future. Keep in mind that they need to be replaced every 8 weeks.
After that, they lure the male pantry moths into the trap with a female pantry moth scent and capture them there on the glue board.
There isn’t really such a thing as a tiny moth infestation, therefore, when the adult male moths are imprisoned, it lessens the level of reproduction and lowers the chance of another full-blown invasion in the future. The Indian meal moth is the species of pantry moth that is most frequently encountered, but you may also run into the Mediterranean flour moth.
Pheromone traps are used to catch and kill pantry moths and are essential, but on their own, they might only be able to alert you to the fact that a moth infestation in your kitchen cabinets is just getting started.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is the fastest way to get rid of pantry moths?
Use white vinegar, warm water, and then eucalyptus or peppermint oil to clean every shelf, wall, and door (which helps to repel them).
What is a home remedy to get rid of pantry moths?
Use white vinegar to clean shelves, food containers, and other surfaces. Use a few drops of essential oil like peppermint, citronella, eucalyptus, or tea tree to provide further protection. Foods should be kept in airtight glass, metal, or plastic containers to avoid infestation. Bay leaves deter pests from the pantry.