What Are Pantry Moths?
The Indian Meal Moth or weevil moth is a winged insect that feeds off grains, dried fruits, spices, and other pantry staples, which earned it the common name pantry moth. Pantry moths come in hues of tan, gray, and brown, which can make them difficult to spot factoring in their miniscule size.
Pantry moth eggs and larvae feed off dry goods, but you won't usually notice the wrigglers until the infestation is already overwhelming. These pests also feed on bird seed, dog food, and other pet food. While infestations often start off in the corners of your cupboard, Indian meal moths can quickly overtake flours and dry goods in a matter of weeks.
Are Pantry Moths Harmful?
Pantry moths do not bite or sting, nor do they typically pose a danger to humans or pets. However, they can be particularly damaging to food storage areas, as they feast off foodstuffs, and lay eggs within food. Pantry moth larvae can be off-putting to see in your flours as you bake with them, so they are more of a nuisance than a threat.
Pantry moths can be harmful only when they contaminate the food in your pantry, which is why getting rid of pantry moths is a must for any homeowner. You wouldn't want to forfeit your groceries to pantry moths, and you would probably prefer egg, larvae, and pupa-free meals! Here's how to get rid of pantry moths naturally:
How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths
Check and Inspect
First, check all the food items you have in your pantry for any sign of pantry moths. You will know if you have a pantry moth infestation when you see adult moths flying around the house, and silky pupae threads around the corners of your cupboard or in your grains.
Check each of your dry goods for any signs of contamination. In grains, you would most likely find grain moth pupae that causes grains to clump together. You can sift your flour and spices with a fine mesh sieve to expose larvae, and check dry pasta for small holes where the moths feed from. Check pet food for wriggling larvae.
Discard and Sort
Discard any infested food packages, as these are no longer salvageable. Contaminated food products have no place in your cupboard, and be sure to check all the food products around the house as well. Sort out food items that are free from pantry moths, and categorize them by how secure their packaging is.
Food items with sealed or secure packaging can be placed back into the cleaned cupboard, but foodstuffs with open or weak packaging should be placed in an air-tight container before storing.
Clean Your Cupboard
Using a vinegar spray, which is made with pure vinegar, give your cupboard a good spritz of the solution to kill pantry moths, and repel them from infecting your food later on. Use a clean cloth to wipe the vinegar spray around the cupboard, and let the solution dry before placing food inside. Use the same solution to clean old food containers from infested foods.
Use Secure Food Containers
You can test out the security of food containers by placing water inside them. Water-tight containers should be able to keep the liquid inside, which makes these containers ideal for storing grains and other dry foods. A vacuum bag works well to seal food, and prevent moths from contaminating them.
Purchase silica gel packets in bulk, and place them in and around your cupboard. Place food-safe silica gel packets with your dry foods, sealing them in their containers with the desiccant. This will help keep your dry goods dry, and prevent moisture from creating mold as well.
Use Pantry Moth Traps and Repellents
Lastly, while you may assume you've gotten rid of the infestation, there may be remaining pantry moths scattered around that you've missed. In any case, traps and natural repellents will keep your food safe from future infestation, while leaving the quality of your food unchanged.
You can purchase pheromone traps that contain sticky residue to trap male moths. The pheromone trap attracts pantry moths, specifically male pantry moths, and disrupts the mating process. Eventually, female moths can no longer produce viable eggs, and the colony would die off.
Repellents like bay leaves, green tea, peppermint oil, and the like keep moths at bay, preventing them from entering your pantry in the first place. Though they may produce a different smell, they shouldn't contaminate your food. Place a cotton ball with peppermint, eucalyptus, tea tree, or citronella oil in the corners of your pantry, or place bay leaves around to repel moths.
Preventing Pantry Moth Infestations
The best way to control pantry moth infestations is to keep your kitchen clean. Regular wiping and vacuuming does wonders to stop an infestation before it happens, and keeping your food in secure containers cuts off these moths from their food sources.
For a thorough cleaning, contact us at Luce Home as we can surely clean your pantry from top to bottom! Trust us to get rid of those pantry moths once and for all, and let us clean the rest of your home as well to keep everything pristine.
Contact us today, and we'll get to the bottom of your pantry moth problem!