What Do You Do If You Have Pantry Moths?
Most of us can share the frustrating experience of opening a canister of flour or even in un-opened boxes of cake mix, only to find an infestation of pantry moths. Pantry moths can find their way into
- rice and other grains
- dried fruit
- nuts and seeds
- powdered milk
- pet food
Whether it is an Indian Meal Moth or a Mediterranean Flour Moth, female pantry moths can lay hundreds of eggs in food materials throughout their lifespans. This can cause major infestations in short periods of time. This short article will outline the most commonly asked questions we get about pantry moths.
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. This means you most likely brought food items into your home without realizing it.
How to Rid of Pantry Moths?
- The first step you should take is to find and dispose of all the infested foods and decorations in the outside garbage can. Larvae can chew through plastic bags and thin cardboard, so even unopened packages may become infected. (Eggs can take anywhere from 30 to 275 days to hatch, depending on environmental conditions.)
- Take the time to thoroughly clean your pantry. Since moth larvae can be found in shelf liners and corners of the pantry unit, throw away the liners and vacuum the shelves.
- Wipe down the entire unit, including the sides, corners, and underside of shelves and the brackets, hinges, and knobs, with soapy water or vinegar.
- 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.