How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths

Pantry Moths

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Everything You Need to Know to Eliminate Moths from Your Pantry

A small gray or brown moth that appears in your pantry or kitchen cupboard may seem easy to unwrap, but it is not easy to pick up.

This little moth is probably the adult stage of the insect species Plodia interpunctella and, where there are adult moths, your pantry or closet probably also contains eggs, pupae (caterpillars), and pupal shells.

With a single female moth capable of laying 100 to 300 eggs, each of which can go through the entire life cycle in about 50 days, she may already be experiencing a severe infestation.

Biology of the Pantry Moth

P. inerpentella is one of several insects known to feed on canned cereals and other dry foods. It is known by several common names, including pantry moth, Indian moth, flour moth, wheat moth, and weevil moth.

The adult moth is quite small, 1/4 to 3/8 inch long, with a wingspan of 1/2 to 3/4 inch, so it's easy to ignore it until kitchen storage is dominated by insects.

The insect is found almost everywhere in the United States. These parasites feed on almost all dry foods, especially raw and processed cereal products, cereals, pasta, and dog and cat food.

An infestation is not a sign that you are not taking care of the home because, in most cases, the initial infestation occurs in a commercial food processing or packaging plant and reaches your home due to packaged food.

The 100-300 small white eggs laid by adult female moths hatch within a few days into tiny white caterpillar larvae, less than 1/2 inch long, which will spend the next several weeks weaving webs and eating stored food before pupating. they hatch into more moths.

The whole process can take anywhere from 1 to 10 months, so when you find visible moths, there is a good chance of a serious infestation in any dry food container that is not airtight.

It's often the nets in the corners of pantries and cupboards that are the first signs of moths in the pantry, but at least that's better than pouring a floured cup full of wriggling white worms.

Pantry Moths

3 Ways to Get Rid of Pantry Moths

Getting rid of an infestation of pantry moths is not difficult, but it takes a lot of work. Most of the time, this involves carefully inspecting each dry food in your storage area, discarding any affected items, and thoroughly cleaning the area before refueling.

And since these pests are found in food storage areas, pesticides are not an option when it comes to getting rid of pantry moths.

Remove, Inspect, Discard

Inspect all the food in your pantry for signs of infestation. Look for larvae inside and on food containers. Also look for cobwebs (they may belong to moths and not spiders).

Cereal-based products, such as flour, cereals, pasta, and cake mixes, are favorites of moths, along with nuts and sweets. But don't limit your search to these items. You can find larvae tucked into the rims of cans, spice jars, or even in closed packages and sealed jars.

If you have pets, check their food too. Discard any infested food you find and clean the affected cans with undiluted vinegar to kill the larvae. Infested items should go directly to the outdoor trash can. Putting them in the kitchen trash will only spread the problem.

With the grain and nut products, you plan to store, put them in the freezer for a long time if you have space. Wait to make sure you have eliminated the problem before returning them to the closet or pantry.

Pantry Moths

Clean Everything

Thoroughly clean your pantry or closet. Remove shelf covers and wash or replace. Vacuum shelves, paying particular attention to corners, bottoms, shelf brackets, and mounting tools.

Vacuum walls, baseboards, trim, floor, ceiling, and door (including inside trim, hinges, and door handle). Next, clean your pantry shelves with warm soapy water or vinegar; and clean the floor.

After cleaning, remove the bag from the vacuum cleaner and take it to the outer container (wash the dust compartment if you used a bagless vacuum). You don't want to harbor moth larvae in your vacuum cleaner.

Change Storage Methods

If you have space, store lots of grain or nut products permanently in the freezer or refrigerator, rather than in the pantry or cupboards.

Also consider storing the new foods in a different location (that is, a good distance from the pantry). This may be a lifelong strategy, or you may want to do it until you have a chance to control the affected pantry and make sure the problem is completely eliminated.

Also, consider transferring your grains and other dry foods to jars, cans, or other airtight containers.

That way, if you inadvertently bring in food from the supermarket that contains eggs, the moths won't be able to get out of the jar when they hatch, so you'll only have that jar of food to throw away.

Pantry Moths

What Causes Pantry Moths?

Pantry moths almost always enter your home through purchased dried food that has been contaminated at the food processing or packaging factory.

Once home, they can spread if the products are stored in a cardboard or thin plastic containers that allow the larvae to feed and spread to other containers.

This insect feeds exclusively on dry food, especially cereals, and requires high temperatures to reproduce and develop.

The temporary storage of items in the freezer will also kill the bugs in the container. In regions where pantry moths predominate, cold storage is a common strategy.

How to Prevent Pantry Moths

To avoid future infestations, consider storing flour, baking mixes, oatmeal, and nuts in the freezer or freezing these foods for a week before taking them to the pantry.

This will kill any larvae that may be present in the food you bring home from the store, so do not put it in the pantry.

Bay leaves, lavender, cedar, and mint are known to repel moths. Fill the envelopes with one of these and place them in the pantry as a deterrent. Replace them from time to time to keep them effective.

Clean food dirt in your pantry as soon as this happens and scrub the pantry thoroughly several times a year. This will help you avoid infestations and alert you to any potential problems before things get out of hand.

If you maintain a food supply, be sure to inspect it regularly for moth activity and follow the same food storage practices that you follow in your kitchen.

You probably don't visit your store every time you visit your pantry, so it would be easy for a problem to go unnoticed.

Pantry Moths

Pantry Moths vs. Clothes Moths

Pantry moths are a different species from common moths that cause tissue damage in cabinets and cabinets. The two most common moths are Tinea pellionella and Tineola biselliell.

They look a lot like pantry moths, with the same shape and size, but these insects do not infect food storage areas. Pantry moths generally have more distinctive reddish-brown hues on the outer wings, while clothes moths are a more uniform gray.

However, in a house with severe moth infestation, insects sometimes use nearby tissue as a spawning site. You can find signs of pantry moths and even tiny caterpillar larvae in clothing storage areas located near pantries and other food storage areas.

The pantry moth, however, does not consume fabrics. If you also notice holes in your clothing, the infestation is likely due to clothes moths, not pantry moths.


Do Pantry Moths Spread Disease?

Although the presence of pantry moths (and especially their writhing larvae) can cause disgust when you find them in stored food, there are no signs that these insects spread disease in the same way as common house flies.

Do Pantry Moths Bite?

Very few moths are known to bite people, and the ones in the pantry are no exception. These insects simply eat dry food and never bite.

Where Do Pantry Moths Come From?

In virtually any case, pantry moths enter your home from purchased dry food that has been contaminated at food processing or packaging centers. However, once at home, they can spread throughout the home.

Will Pantry Moths Go Away on Their Own?

Pantry moths are not seasonal visitors, such as flies, elderflower stink bugs, or other pests. They will stay in your house and spread as long as there is some dry food to eat or until you make efforts to eradicate them.

We hope you enjoy watching this video about How to get rid of PANTRY WEEVILS & MOTHS

Source: HomeHandyHints

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Pantry Moths

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