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How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths Naturally – Tips & Advice

EARTH_003946_02_Moth-Flour.jpgPantry moths are winged insects that cause problems for homeowners and food storage facilities. Indian meal moths are the most common type of pantry moth. Other pest moths include:  Angoumois grain moths, Mediterranean flour moths, almond moths, tobacco moths, raisin moths, meal moths, rice moths, and miscellaneous house moths.

Pantry moths usually enter a home by hitchhiking in food or packaging. Bringing something that is already contaminated with moths or moth larva into a home can cause an infestation. Find out what types of food attracts moths and how to get rid of pantry moths naturally in your home.

What do Pantry Moths Like to Eat?

First, it should be noted that the damage done by a pantry moth infestation comes from the larvae of a moth, not the adult moth. Seeing a mature moth flying around is a sign of an infestation, but swatting it with a fly swatter, or just getting rid of the moth will not solve the problem.

Indian meal moths will attack all cereal products, flour, whole grains, pet foods, bird seed, dried milk, dried fruits, spices, nuts and even chocolate. Larvae can chew through plastic bags and thin cardboard. Infestations can spread from contaminated products to unopened packages this way.

Aside from seeing adult moths flying around, you may also notice clumps in any of the above-mentioned foods. When moth larvae are feeding, they spin silken threads that web food particles together, causing visible damage to food products.

How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths Naturally

The best way to get rid of moths in the kitchen or pantry is to dispose of all infested items. Contaminated food should be completely discarded and removed from your home. Once you have removed all food and packaging containing obvious moth damage, you will need to thoroughly clean the area to make sure no moth larva remains.

Moth larva looks like very small caterpillars, and can survive on minuscule amounts of food, hiding in corners and crevices. When cleaning after a moth infestation, you’ll need to empty out the pantry, cabinet, or affected area to vacuum shelves and floors. Use a small attachment to really clean out corners, along trim and mop boards. Remember to change the vacuum bag or empty the canister promptly to prevent reinfestation. Then wash all surfaces with warm, soapy water.

Beautiful brunette woman cleaning a cupboard in the kitchen.jpeg

Prevent Pantry Moths from Coming Back

After getting rid of a kitchen moth infestation, you’ll never want to deal with a mess like that again! Following these pantry moth prevention tips will make it easy to keep your home safe from moths:

  • Moths cannot survive extreme cold, so you can place items in the freezer for one week to ensure no surviving larva remain.
  • Inspect new food and items before bringing them into your home.
  • Remove new food items from their original packaging and store in glass, metal, or plastic containers. Make sure they have an airtight seal!
  • Use a natural scent to repel moths by placing bay leaves on pantry shelves, or setting out a pouch of Stay Away®.

Lastly, please remember to never use toxic mothballs, especially around food. Mothballs, which may look like candy or treats to small children and pets, contain harmful chemicals that can result in serious illness and even death. Always check the safety of the ingredients on labels and buy from an EPA licensed pesticide maker.

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5 responses to “How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths Naturally – Tips & Advice”

  1. After reading numerous stories from comments on this site, it seems that once a moth infestation occurs it’s not possible to eliminate it from continuing or reoccurring. I wonder if the paper moth traps that attract male moths from many meters await apparently actually does that and by using them as a prevention tool we actually attract moths to come back even from outside? I noticed that the more I clean and use traps the more moths I get. I am thinking of moving the trap towards the door and then eventually outside to see if the moths will follow. I am making no progress with using all of the recommended ideas to stop the pantry moth infestation I first experienced last fall, and is here again starting in June.

    • Hi Joan,

      I’m sorry to hear about your moth situation! It is possible to eliminate moths from your pantry, but it may take a little extra work. To get started, please reconsider the use of traps, they are baited with pheromones that attract moths. Attracting and trapping the moths in a current infestation may be necessary to get rid of them, but traps are often counterproductive when trying to prevent a pest problem. If you currently have moths, you will need thoroughly clean the affected area — moths eggs are very small and hard to find, but you need to remove them all to prevent re-infestation. After you’ve cleaned the shelves, floor, and mop boards in the affected area, inspect all food and items in the pantry to make sure no moths are hiding in the packaging. If possible, take items out of their original packaging and use air tight containers instead. You will want to carefully inspect any new items before adding them to the pantry in the future as well. If you follow all of these steps, and keep a few pouches of Stay Away Moths nearby, your pantry should stay moth free. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to help.

      Thanks for reading!

      • I have pantry moth in my boiler room in basement. There is no food storage in there or in basement anymore. I found a few worms crawling in the ceiling fluorescent light. Please help.Thanks

        • Hi Theresa,

          If you have removed all food from the area, these moths will probably be the last. Remember that they can eat dog food, or other animal feed as well, so make sure to store anything of the sort in airtight containers. Keep an eye out so the moths don’t move to another area of the house, and prevent future infestations by keeping a few pouches of Stay Away Moths in the area.

          Thanks for reading!

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