Pantry Moth Infestations – What You Need to Know
By: Rita Stadler
Pantry moths are stealth masters. They are silent, secretive and sneaky. Moths will hide in dark corners and undisturbed areas so that you almost never notice them. Then they’ll lay their miniscule eggs along the seams where a piece of trim or mop board meets the wall, in high or hard to reach corners, or underneath the bottom of a shelf. You may not notice them for some time, but eventually you’ll end up opening a package from the pantry and notice disgusting little worms wriggling around inside.
This is how pantry moths have survived and thrived, quietly alongside people for centuries. But you don’t have to just deal with it. You can easily get rid of moths and make sure they never come back. Here’s how…
Know How to Identify Pantry Moths
Pantry moths are not the only pests that infest dry goods and stored food. A variety of beetles, weevils, mealworms and moths can all infest stored goods and contaminate food. The Indian Meal Moth, Angoumois Grain Moth and Mediterranean Flour Moth are common household pests.
Keep in mind that the moth life cycle goes through multiple stages. First, moths start as eggs, then transform into worm-like larvae, and eventually reach maturity as the winged insects you’ve seen flying around. Getting rid of adult moths might make you feel better, but it’s actually the larvae that are responsible for damaging your pantry items. You might be surprised to find out that many types of mature moths don’t even have working mouthparts; they only live for a brief time with the sole purpose of laying eggs.
Once you’ve determined what type of pest you are dealing with, then you can take steps to get rid of them and prevent reinfestation. Many of these tips will help with any type of infestation but check with a pest prevention expert if the problem persists.
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Discard Moth Infested Goods
No one likes waste, but food and any other items infested by pantry moths should be thrown out. As mentioned above, moth eggs are extremely small and hard to detect. They can remain dormant for weeks or even months at a time, waiting for the right conditions to hatch and repeat their destructive cycle.
While moths aren’t known for spreading diseases that are threatening to humans, contaminated food needs to be disposed of. This contributes to significant economic loss, waste and inconvenience.
Once all contaminated food has been removed, you’ll need to thoroughly clean affected areas. Wash all your shelves with warm, soapy water – don’t forget to wash the undersides of the shelves and surrounding walls as well. Vacuum and mop the space carefully. Throw away your vacuum bag. If you’re using a bagless vacuum, wash out the container too. This will prevent moth larvae from making a home in your vacuum.
Prevent Pantry Moth Infestations
After dealing with pantry moths, one thing is for certain – you don’t want to go through that again!
The first step in preventing infestations is making sure moths don’t get into your home in the first place. Make a point to inspect packages and items in the store, before you bring them into your home. When you bring dry food home, take it out of the original package and place it in an airtight container in your pantry or cupboards. Doing this will eliminate the risk of any hidden moth eggs that might escape your notice along the seams of cardboard boxes or other packaging.
For proven protection and peace of mind, place a few pouches of botanical moth repellent in the area to make sure moths Stay Away®.