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Old 05-01-2010, 08:46 PM
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Yuck, we've got pantry moths - any solutions for getting rid of them?


Last night I discovered that the harmless (or so I thought) moths which I had sometimes seen in our pantry recently are actually pantry moths - I'd never heard of them before. Their larvae have now infested our pantry (shudder), and I've found them inside boxes of cereal and soup, inside chocolate and muesli bars and anything involving nuts or raisins. While much of our pantry goods are stored inside solid plastic containers with tight lids, I'm sure they are in most of the other things, so I'm chucking pretty much everything else out besides spices.

The plan is then to vacuum thoroughly, wash all shelves and walls, and restock - is there anything else I should be doing? From the sites I've read they can be pretty hard to eradicate.
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Old 05-01-2010, 08:49 PM
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You have to work at it. Clean the shelves, throw out anything that might have a chance of harboring them (they seem to prefer grains). If the food is open, you should toss it.

Keep things clean and look for any moths hatching out (they tend to hide on the ceiling). Kill any you find. Keep it up until you no longer see any of them.
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Old 05-01-2010, 08:57 PM
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Put your stuff in sealed containers, like tupperware. If you have open sacks of flour or meal, keep them in ziplock bags.

They will get into most any food, such as pasta, flour, meal, nuts. They seem to love almonds.

I agree with Chuck, keep a check on the pantry and drawers regularly. Kill any you find.

I had a bad infestation of them years ago, and to this day, if I see a moth flying through the kitchen I grab it. I hate those things.

Good luck.
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Old 05-01-2010, 09:43 PM
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Once you've battened down the edible hatches because the stuff leaves a residue that is best not consumed, flea bombs - the newer high tech ones whose main ingredients are pyrethroids such as Tetramethrin or Cypermethrin, common active ingredients found in Raid flea bombs and flying insect killers.
Avoid Raid fumigators that contain Permethrins which are more stable, (slower to breakdown in the environment) and significantly more toxic to mammals, (esp cats, according to the wiki article)

If you're hesitant to use these chemicals, simply getting rid of all larval food sources should do the trick.. and at least for a while, keep all foodstuffs in tupperware-like containers.
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Old 05-01-2010, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by NinetyWt View Post
They will get into most any food, such as pasta, flour, meal, nuts. They seem to love almonds.
God, yes they do. I thought it was confined to the packaged food as luckily most of our bulk goods are stored in these, but I found heaps of the larvae in the almond container. The one I leave the lid cracked on to grab a couple when I go past. The ones I eat without looking... shudder....

The epicentre seems to be the gap at the back of the pantry combined with the rye flour. Apparently the buggers can actually get into and out of the sealed plastic containers.
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Old 05-01-2010, 10:59 PM
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They can burrow through plastic bags but not through tupperware or similar containers - can only sneak in when the lid is removed. I had a problem with oatmeal containers, they can burrow through these, quaker oats type cardboard/paper cylinders, ruined my stash.
Tupperware (or similar - can be an off brand) and you'll be fine, just don't let moths sneak in when lid is removed.
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Old 05-01-2010, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by NinetyWt View Post
If you have open sacks of flour or meal, keep them in ziplock bags.
Sorry, just saw this. Ziplock bags can be burrowed though, are not safe. You'll need glass, metal or tupperware-type plastics for flour as well. Unopened sacks of flour are also unsafe, can be easily burrowed through. It has happened in my own cupboard - I went through a bread-making phase for a year or two and found out the difficult way that even sealed (that is, factory sealed - which are only paper) bags of flour are at risk.

Last edited by Ostrya; 05-01-2010 at 11:25 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 05-01-2010, 11:31 PM
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I keep a lot of my staples in the freezer. Sugar, flour, rice, hot cereal mixes like Cream of Wheat and oatmeal, instant mashed potatoes, corn meal, anything like that is in the fridge freezer. I also put boxes of cold cereal in the deep freeze for a couple of days when I first bring them home, in case they have eggs or actual insects in them.

And, in fact, I might bugbomb the house again this year. I do this every few years, because our house is old and has any number of small openings where bugs can and do enter.
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Old 05-01-2010, 11:40 PM
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Sorry, just saw this. Ziplock bags can be burrowed though, are not safe.
I think I must use mine up quickly enough that it's not a problem, since I've been doing this I haven't had any more infestations. I do use flour a lot though. I agree that it's not as well protected as canisters with seals or tupperware.
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Old 05-01-2010, 11:43 PM
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In addition to the tossing of infested food products, securing of new food products in impenetrable containers, and vacuuming all of the crevices in your cabinets where eggs might be lurking, I would also recommend getting some pantry moth traps (which can be found relatively inexpensively on ebay, see here for an example). I've used the type I linked to. It attracts the male moths using a pheromone and they get stuck to the glue on the trap. With no males to breed with, they should die out. It might take a few cycles before they clear up, so get a few traps so you can change them out after a few weeks.
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Old 05-02-2010, 10:47 AM
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Gah, I hate those things. It took quite some time to get rid of them, as I recall. I hope the OP can find a solution that works quickly.
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Old 05-02-2010, 10:59 AM
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Moth traps work pretty well.
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Old 05-02-2010, 11:10 AM
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I'd go with pantry lizards. Pantry spiders are too messy.
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Old 05-02-2010, 11:43 AM
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I've read lots of times that these pests seem repelled by dried bay leaves. A jar of bay leaves is cheap enough. So if something isn't going to be sealed in an air-tight plastic or glass container, drop a bay leaf in top.
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Old 05-02-2010, 12:23 PM
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My brother used some type of wasp to solve the issue. It was an index card of eggs that hatch into tiny wasps that you can barely see with your eyes. They flew around his house for a week on a seek and destroy mission. That was the end of his moth problem.
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Old 05-02-2010, 02:11 PM
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I used Diatamatous (sp?) Earth, food grade, in a ketchup squeeze bottle, a little squeeze into every nook and cranny and they were done. My pantry is made of tongue and groove so there were thousands of gaps and cracks to cover. But it worked.
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Old 05-02-2010, 03:11 PM
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agree the larvae will eat through plastic and paper bags.

if you want to keep food and accept that eating some insects are part of life then you could place a food stock in the freezer every two weeks for a few days, this gives the eggs time to hatch. freezing doesn't kill eggs just larvae and adults.

moths can also live elsewhere in the house in pet food and dried flowers.
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Old 05-02-2010, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elbows View Post
I used Diatamatous (sp?) Earth, food grade, in a ketchup squeeze bottle, a little squeeze into every nook and cranny and they were done. My pantry is made of tongue and groove so there were thousands of gaps and cracks to cover. But it worked.
Not sure where I'll find DE, appears to be mail order in Australia only. But seems like Boric Acid in borax has the same effect - good suggestion. I have both borax and bay leaves in the cupboard so will deploy both today, and I'm also going out to find traps too. eHow suggests mixing 1 part borax with 3 parts cornmeal and leaving that out in the pantry.

Last edited by Girl From Mars; 05-02-2010 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 05-02-2010, 05:23 PM
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Not sure where I'll find DE, appears to be mail order in Australia only. But seems like Boric Acid in borax has the same effect - good suggestion. I have both borax and bay leaves in the cupboard so will deploy both today, and I'm also going out to find traps too. eHow suggests mixing 1 part borax with 3 parts cornmeal and leaving that out in the pantry.
I'm not quite sure (and especially don't know about in Oz), but you could look in a hardware super-store type place (here in the US, we have Lowe's and Home Depot). This is because diotomatious earth is sometimes used in in-ground swimming pool filters. I know the swimming pool I grew up with used it, and we always got it at Home Depot. . .
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Old 05-02-2010, 05:52 PM
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I had an infestation a few years ago and so removed EVERYTHING in the food cupboard, chucked anything that had weevils or their larvae, and put everything else in containers. Before re-stocking the pantry, I just got a can of Mortein and sprayed every nook and cranny and left it overnight.

Voila'.....problem solved.
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Old 05-02-2010, 07:51 PM
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Invest in a boatload of those plastic vacuum sealed storage containers to put cereal, pasta, flour, sugar, pasta, nuts, etc. You can either throw most of your non-canned goods away (as the buggers can get into anything) or, if you have a big enough freezer, you can put everything in the freezer for a few days as the larvae cannot survive being frozen.

I also had very good success with the Pantry Pest sticky traps. They sell them in hardward stores. They have moth pheromones that trap the males onto their sticky surface. It's kind of gross to open up your pantry and see wriggling moths, but a lot more palatable than seeing moths and those horrible larvae climbing everywhere.
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Old 05-02-2010, 08:46 PM
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if you freeze any food it will kill adults and larvae. eggs will survive and hatch after two weeks back at room temperature. you can refreeze again to kill larvae after two weeks but before adults can form and lay new eggs. enough freeze and room temperature cycles and you might kill off the population.
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Old 05-03-2010, 06:57 AM
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I got my DE from a brewer at a brew pub. Used in the filtration.

And thanks for the spelling lesson!
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:05 PM
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Am I the only one that read this title as "We've got panty moths"?

I had a WHOLE different picture in my mind...
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:26 PM
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Am I the only one that read this title as "We've got panty moths"?

I had a WHOLE different picture in my mind...
Yep, that was just you!
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:43 PM
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Oh boy, I'm crossing my fingers that I've finally eradicated those beasts from my pantry. I tried the sticky card style trap but it didn't get rid of the problem.

Here's what I did that seems to have worked:

I emptied my pantry, searched everything and threw away infested items. Then, thoroughly cleaned inside and out with diluted bleach water and filled any crevices in the shelves with silicone caulking. I also sprayed Ortho Home Defense inside the cabinet, along all the shelves and joints and let it air out for a day before putting anything back in the cabinet. I'm not sure if Home Defense is supposed to kill moths but I use it around the rest of the house so it couldn't hurt to keep other bugs out of my cabinets.

Excluding cans and jars, I put nearly everything in air-tight bowls and bins. When I buy cereal, I empty it immediately into Snap-ware cereal containers (keeps it fresher anyway) and all individually wrapped snacks (granola bars, etc.) are taken out of the cardboard boxes and placed are in one big air-tight snap-ware bin.

Half of my freezer is occupied with ziplock bags of pasta, rice, oatmeal, popcorn, and other dry goods that I didn't have enough containers for.

It seems like it has worked. I've only seen 3 or 4 moths this Spring. I don't think they have any food available to survive.
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Old 05-03-2010, 03:13 PM
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Am I the only one that read this title as "We've got panty moths"?

I had a WHOLE different picture in my mind...
I'll admit it. Visions of little bugs munching on some poor girl's cotton.
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Old 05-03-2010, 03:34 PM
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Am I the only one that read this title as "We've got panty moths"?
Am I the only one who read it as "We've got potty mouths"?
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Old 05-03-2010, 04:00 PM
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Yup.
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Old 05-03-2010, 04:40 PM
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Place bay leaves in your pantry/cabinets and also in open containers of meal/flour/etc. Growing up, we used to get annual infestations of mealworms until mom started doing this. After that, none.
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Old 05-03-2010, 06:54 PM
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Ugh! I came home from work today and spotted one of those damn moths flying around my kitchen. They must all die!
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Old 05-04-2010, 07:24 AM
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Wow, you have some really old flour/oatmeal in your pantry. Reminds me of grade school science class. We all had meal worms that we raised in oatmeal. One day they were all little moths flying about. Metamorphosis!

If you don't want this to happen again keep your flour in a zip lock bag in your freezer. The zip lock bag will keep the flour from picking up odors and moisture and the frigid temperature will keep any eggs in the flour from hatching. Someone told me to freeze all flour for three days after bringing it home.

I keep my baking stuff in large zip lock bags. Hope this helps.
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Old 05-16-2019, 08:32 AM
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Yuck, we've got pantry moths - any solutions for getting rid of them?


Try a very strongly-worded eviction notice.
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Old 05-16-2019, 08:45 AM
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I don't think I've ever seen a pantry moth, but now I'm worried! I've got unprotected bags of flour, cardboard containers of oatmeal, and granola bars and pasta in my pantry. And I'm at work now and can't do anything about it! Am I doomed?

Last edited by bobot; 05-16-2019 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 05-16-2019, 09:58 AM
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I don't think I've ever seen a pantry moth, but now I'm worried! I've got unprotected bags of flour, cardboard containers of oatmeal, and granola bars and pasta in my pantry. And I'm at work now and can't do anything about it! Am I doomed?
Don't even go home. It belongs to the moths now...
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Old 05-16-2019, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by NinetyWt View Post
Put your stuff in sealed containers, like tupperware. If you have open sacks of flour or meal, keep them in ziplock bags.

They will get into most any food, such as pasta, flour, meal, nuts. They seem to love almonds.
This. We got rid of ours for good but it meant living with everything sealed for about 6 months.
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Old 05-16-2019, 02:12 PM
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Was this thread bumped by a now removed spammer?
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Old 05-16-2019, 02:24 PM
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Yes.
(He had a moth removal solution!)

Last edited by bobot; 05-16-2019 at 02:24 PM.
  #39  
Old 05-16-2019, 04:13 PM
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I think they must be what we were told were called nut-moths. Everything in our pantry is now either in a sealed plastic or glass container. We no longer have any.
  #40  
Old 05-16-2019, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Girl From Mars View Post
While much of our pantry goods are stored inside solid plastic containers with tight lids, I'm sure they are in most of the other things, so I'm chucking pretty much everything else out besides spices.
Throw out everything that isn't in a sealed jar or can. Wash every surface with the hottest water you can stand. Never again store an open container of anything that isn't inside a sealed container.

If you want to nuke the pests from orbit, put mothballs in the pantry, seal the doors for a week or so, then wash it thoroughly again, let it air out for a few days and hope you don't get cancer.
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Old 05-17-2019, 10:26 PM
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I had those probably close to 10 years ago and it's awful! At first I didn't equate the tiny little moths with anything but them getting in from outside. Then I started seeing these little worms crawling on my free-standing pantry and I freaked! I took everything out, threw most of it away and bleached the heck out of the shelves, the back, the cracks, etc. To this day, I either put stuff in the fridge or it's in a sealed container. Thankfully, I've never had them again!
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Old 05-18-2019, 08:04 AM
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We are currently fighting an infestation of these little buggers. Fortunately (?) they are in the garage, not in the house. (Yet.) It appears that they were either already in, or got into, some bird seed we had stored in a plastic tub over the winter. We've got traps out, been hunting down the larva, and have spent the week moving shelving units around and cleaning out all the corners and crevices. They are everywhere! I had to throw out my lawn mowing shoes, gardening hats and gloves, a couple of bike helmets... even found some grubs in the treads of our bicycle tires!

My wife says she'd almost rather have them in the pantry... It would be easier to clean everything out all at once.
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Old 05-19-2019, 05:20 PM
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Yes, they are damned hard to get rid of. You have to eliminate every possible food source for months. So no leaving food out for your pets.

I had a couple of nasty infestations and finally realized the source: store-bought shelled roasted sunflower seeds in plastic jars with screw-on metal lids. So it's not enough to get rid of stuff that's not sealed, if the sealed stuff is the source.
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Old 05-19-2019, 07:18 PM
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I should really wear my reading glasses when looking at thread titles.
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Old 05-20-2019, 11:30 AM
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Put out a bowl of soapy water with a sweet smelling soap. They will be attracted to the bowl, land on the water and then drown. I have seen only a couple of infestations in my home over about 30 years, and this method has worked every time.
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Old 05-20-2019, 12:04 PM
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Try acquiring some new pet spiders.
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