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5-Minute Crafts

How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths

The pantry moth is an insect that belongs to the pyraloid moths. Their eggs and larvae get into your house by way of grains, spices, flour, dried fruits, and other dry foods. Later, they turn into moths, and their appearance indicates that your foods have been contaminated and that your pantry and kitchen need a serious clean-up.

5-Minute Crafts would like to share a guide with you that will help you get rid of these unpleasant neighbors known as pantry moths.

What pantry moths are

There are different species of pantry moths, like the meal moth, the Indianmeal moth, and the cacao moth. Many of them resemble the common clothes moth.

The life cycle of different species of moths belonging to this family is similar. For example, adult females of the Indianmeal moth group lay hundreds of eggs next to dry foods or directly on them. After 2 weeks, the larvae appear and begin to feed on your foods. As they move, they leave silk threads behind, which is how you can learn of their presence. A couple of weeks later, the larvae will grow enough to find a secluded place in a crevice, hole, or crack to weave a cocoon. A month later, the nymph turns into an adult insect, which reproduces again. Thus, several generations of pantry moths can appear in the pantry or kitchen cabinet over the course of a year.

Therefore, it’s important not just to get rid of moths and the foods you found traces of their presence in, but also to ensure that moths don’t reappear from eggs, larvae, and nymphs, which aren’t so easy to spot.

How to get rid of pantry moths

Step 1. When cleaning the kitchen or pantry, pay special attention to cabinets and shelves where groceries are stored. You need to remove all items and foods, including those in sealed packaging, along with dishes, kitchen utensils, cooking equipment, appliances, and accessories.

Step 2. If there are moths inside packages of food, throw the packages away together with all their contents. If you plan to use the container where the food was stored in the future, thoroughly rinse it under hot water with a dishwashing detergent. Pour the remaining dry foods into jars with tight-fitting lids, preferably made of glass or metal, and put them into the freezer for a week. Low temperatures are detrimental to these insects and they’ll destroy any eggs and moth larvae.

Important: When pouring flour, semolina, and other similar foods, it’s better to use a fine sieve, which will help keep the larvae away.

Step 3. Use a vacuum cleaner to thoroughly clean the surface of the shelves in the cabinet and pantry. Pay attention to the corners. To do this, special nozzles with narrow spouts are convenient, and they can be attached to the vacuum cleaner hose. If the vacuum cleaner uses a dust bag, discard it immediately after cleaning. The water filter must also be cleaned, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Otherwise, the larvae and eggs of the moth can survive inside the vacuum cleaner and subsequently get free.

Step 4. Move on to wet cleaning. Take a spray bottle, fill it with hot water, and add some dishwashing liquid. Shake the container gently to mix the liquids and evenly spray its contents over all surfaces of the cabinet, shelves, or pantry. Treat the walls, doors, and floor the same way. Next, wipe everything down with a cloth or sponge first, then dry with a paper towel.

You can spray the surface with peppermint oil too, which is a natural repellent for these insects. Mix 1 cup of water and the same amount of white vinegar, add a few drops of peppermint oil, and pour everything into a spray bottle. Close it and shake well to mix the liquids. Spray the product through your pantry, shelves, or cabinet surfaces, as well as walls, floors, and ceilings. Then wipe everything with a sponge. If you want to store the repellent away, pour it into a glass container because the oil corrodes plastic.

Step 5. Put sachets with bay leaves in places where dry foods are stored. This simple remedy will scare away insects because the pantry moth can’t stand the smell of bay leaves.

How to prevent the pantry moth from appearing in your home

  • Please check all foods before buying them. If you find holes or webbing on or inside the packaging, it’s better to look for a replacement.
  • Store dry foods that can attract pantry moths in tightly closed containers. Keep in mind that moth larvae can easily eat through cardboard and plastic bags, leaving holes, so it’s better to opt for glass and metal.
  • Place sachets filled with bay leaves on pantry shelves to repel moths.
  • Store dry pet food or bird food in a tightly closed container outside the pantry where your food is.
  • Spice packets are best kept in the refrigerator or freezer.
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