How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths

How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths

Grocery shopping is one of those things in life that has to happen.


     If you want food, you have to go to the store and get it. You spend time making a list, driving to the store, finding everything, driving back home, and putting all your groceries away. A few days later, you are craving cereal, so you grab your favorite box, opening the packaging for the first time, and pour it in the bowl. Along with the cereal, you notice something unexpected. There are tiny moths flying out and their larva and cocoons are now in your bowl! You look into the box and see this silky webbing covering some of the cereal in the cellophane bag. Not only is your appetite gone, but you also have pantry moths. Pantry moths, or Indian Meal Moths, though mostly harmless, are unsanitary and unwelcome invaders. They infest your food with their cocoons, larva and webbing.

     Pantry moths easiest spot once they are adults, they have wings that are two colors, the top is tan and the bottom half has a rust-bronze color. When flying around your kitchen, they are looking for a mate so they can reproduce. They have the ability to lay up to 400 eggs at a time, which can quickly lead to an infestation. Even if you’ve only seen one moth, you will want to take action, because there are definitely more of them hiding out of sight.


Getting rid of pantry moths takes a bit of work.

     Pantry moths usually stow away in products you bring home from the grocery store and are often found in different grains, flours and cereals.  They can easily penetrate through cardboard or plastic bags and will lay their eggs and webbing in those foods. The cardboard or paper containers that the food normally comes in can be infested even if it never has been opened. We here at Joshua’s can treat for pantry moths, but there’s a few steps you should take in order to make the treatment effective.


How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths

Step 1: Remove contaminated food.

Step 2: Put non-contaminated food in air-tight containers.

Step 3: Clean out cupboards with soapy water.

     All contaminated food needs to be removed for the treatment to have any lasting effect. This is the step that’s really hard to do, because you have all of this food stored in your cupboards or pantry and the food that you just bought, or were planning on using and you now have to get rid of it.

     It’s important to remember that these pantry pests can infest a wide variety of products such as rice, grains, legumes, flour, cereal, couscous, bread, candy, chocolates, cookies, crackers, chips, dried fruit, tea, coffee,  coffee substitute, dried drink mix, powdered milk, spices, cake mix, pudding mix, dried sauce mix, pancake mix, nuts, oatmeal, breakfast bars, granola, and dried pet food.

     We’ve seen cases where people have had to throw entire spice racks away, which can be extremely frustrating and costly. This is why it’s important not to wait when you start seeing pantry moths. The earlier you catch the infestation, the less food you will have to discard. If you don’t get rid of all the food that has been contaminated, they will continue to re-infest the new food. Once you’ve got rid of all the contaminated food, put the non-contaminated food in air-tight, hard plastic or glass containers. Pantry moths cannot penetrate air-tight heavy containers, and they will help prevent re-infestation. You will want to clean out your cupboards, vacuum them and scrub them with hot soapy water.

Your final step, is to call Joshua’s. We will come out, inspect and treat for the adult, flying pantry moths. We want to make sure we treat the areas in the cupboards with a residual spray so that it’s long lasting. Our goal is to get them under control, not just eradicate the ones you see.  One important thing we do is place pheromone traps. These traps are primarily used for monitoring the infestation. They will be drawn to the traps and it will help us see if the infestation is getting better or staying the same.

After removing contaminated food, cleaning, and treating, you should see significantly fewer pantry moths, and if after a few weeks, the traps are full and you’re still noticing them, something was overlooked—Just give us a call so we can come back out for free and re-assess the area. You’ll be enjoying your cereal, pest-free, in no time!