How to Get Rid of Pesky Pantry Moths

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Found bugs in your bag of flour or rice? Seen small moths flying around in your cupboard? You’ve got pantry moths! But, wait — don’t freak out. Here’s what you can do to get rid of them.

How Did I Get Pantry Moths?

Pantry moths are small moths that feed on grains, nuts, pasta, dog food, rice and any other dry food found in your kitchen cupboard. They lay eggs in the food which creates small webs in corners or sticky clumps in your food. They can also lay eggs in small crevices, such as door hinges. They most likely get into your house through the food you purchase, usually through eggs which are hard to spot.

Throw Away Infested Foods

If you see one, there’s likely to be more. You’ll need to throw away all food stored in bags or boxes since pantry moths can easily get into a dry bag of rice, cereal, corn meal and even candy. Throw the infested food away outside. Any canned food should be rinsed because the edges may contain eggs. When you buy new food and aren’t sure if you’ve gotten rid of the moths yet, keep the new food in the fridge so it won’t get infested.

Vacuum Infested Areas

It’s time to get out those vacuum attachments! Thoroughly vacuum out all cupboards and pantry areas that you suspect are infested. Pay special attention to cupboard corners and the edges between the ceiling and wall.

Wash with Soap and Water

Then, scrub all shelves and corners with soapy water. No need to use harsh pesticides or other chemicals, especially since you store all your food there. Use a cotton swab to clean small crevices, like cupboard door hinges. Make sure to dry out the areas thoroughly.

Wait

Wait to restock your cupboards, even if you think you’ve gotten rid of the pantry moths. They can quickly reappear. It’s recommended to wait a couple of weeks, since the life cycle of a pantry moth can be anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks.

Prevention

There’s no surefire way to prevent pantry moths altogether, but there are some steps you could take to lessen the chances of infestation. Store dog food away from your other food — in the garage or outside shed, if possible. When you purchase new dry foods, you can store them in the freezer for a few days to kill any moths or eggs that you may have brought home with you. Store food properly — clean containers with hot, soapy water and dry thoroughly before refilling. Keep old and new food separate — don’t mix old and new grains or flour. Finish using the old, wash the containers, then refill with the new food. Use tightly sealed metal, glass or hard plastic containers to store food — pantry moths can easily infiltrate plastic bags.

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