Pantry moths, also known as Indian meal moths, are tiny little pests that find their way into kitchens that cause major problems. You may find them as tiny worms or little flying moths. Either one means you have an infestation in your pantry. Even if you take tedious care of your kitchen, these unwanted pests sneak into your home in food packages as nearly invisible eggs. Once they hatch, they can infiltrate anything they come across, including cereals, flour, sugar, dried fruit, candy, pasta, pet food or nuts. If the months or worms can access it, it is considered fair game. Here are some tips on identifying pantry moths, how to control them and how to prevent future infestations.
How Did I Get Pantry Moths?
Unfortunately, all pantry moths can be found in almost every single stage of food productions and sale, from a grain silo to packaging centers and distribution warehouses and grocery stores, right to the pantry in your home. Pantry moths also seem to enjoy home decoration items such as wreaths and flowers, where the infestation will then spread to tantalizing food items. Some believe moths can only be grains like rice and flour however, moths can come in food products like loose leaf tea or powdered stock. Open food packages in your pantry become a perfect breeding ground for pantry moths.
Pantry Moth Fact #1: A single female moth can lay 400 eggs
Pantry Moth Fact #2: The life span of a pantry moth is between 30- 300 days
How to Rid of Pantry Moths?
- Remove everything from your pantry (YES, everything!)
- Wipe down cabinets and shelves with a disinfectant. Be sure to check all corners and crevices for any cocoons. (Reference image below)
- Peppermint oil is a moth deterrent so spray down your cabinet with a mixture of water and peppermint essential oils.
- Dispose of foods that show any signs of pantry moths. Larvae can chew through plastic bags and thin cardboard, so even unopened packages
- Dispose of food that has expired
- Check unexpected places that moths can reside. Example: underneath canned foods, under the lid of a spice jar
- Open packages of food should go into airtight resealable containers
- It is also recommended that you keep all your grain and nut products in the freezer. We suggest using mason jars, or other tight-sealing containers to keep any potential infestation in one location and keep it from spreading.
Prevent Pantry Moths in Future
- Always maintain a clean kitchen. It’s good for your health and it gives insect pests a lesser chance of surviving under your vigilant eyes.
- Inspect packaged foods for signs of infestation before you buy them. Shop at grocery stores with a high turnover, where you’re likely to be getting fresh stock.
- Kill moths and moth larvae that may come into your home with your groceries by storing grain-based food items in the freezer for the first four days after purchasing. Moths can’t survive at freezing temperatures.
- Store your grain-based items in airtight containers (preferably glass, hard plastic, or metal) once you remove them from the freezer. Keep the storage area dry, using a dehumidifier if necessary.
- Place a few bay leaves in the containers with your grains to keep kitchen moths away, since they are averse to the smell of these leaves. Alternatively, leave a few cotton balls soaked with essential eucalyptus oil in the corners of your pantry.
When Should I Call A Professional?
Once you have taken all the precautionary steps, yet still see pantry moths, it may be time to call a professional pest control company to help you eliminate your pantry moth problem. Our team of pest control technicians will conduct a thorough inspection and give you confidence that the core of the infestation has been eliminated. A trained technician can evaluate the problem and customize a prevention and control plan that best fits your needs and help ensure you do not have to deal with another pantry moth infestation.
AANTEX Pest Control offers a variety of free inspections and services to the entire Bay Area. 1-800-471-5555