Pantry moths are winged insects that cause problems for homeowners and food storage facilities. Indian meal moths are the most common type of pantry moths. Pantry moths usually enter a home by hitchhiking in food. Sometimes, the packaging is already contaminated with moth larva. Find out what types of food moths are attracted to, and how to get rid of pantry moths naturally in your home.
1. Inspect all food in your pantry
Look for larvae in and on food packaging. Also look for webs (as these may belong to moths and not spiders). Grain-based products like flour, cereal, pasta and baking mixes are a moth favorite, ditto for nuts and sweets. But don’t limit your search to these items. You may find larvae tucked into the edges of cans, on spice jars or even in unopened packages and sealed canisters. If you have pets, check their food, too. Toss any infested foods that you find, and wipe down any affected cans with undiluted vinegar.
2. Give your pantry a thorough cleaning
Pull out your shelf liners and wash or replace them. Vacuum the shelves, paying special attention to the corners, undersides, shelf brackets and mounting hardware. Vacuum the walls, baseboards, trim, floor, ceiling and door (including the inside edge, hinges, and knob). Then, wipe down your pantry shelves with hot, soapy water or vinegar; and mop the floor. When you’re done with your clean up, remove the vacuum bag, and take it out to your outside trash bin (wash out the dust compartment, if you used a bagless vacuum).
3. Dispose of infested items
The best way to get rid of moths in the kitchen or pantry is to dispose of all infested items. Contaminated food should be completely discarded and removed from your home. Once you have removed all food and packaging containing obvious moth damage, you will need to thoroughly clean the area to make sure no moth larva remains.
4. Replace the food in the freezer
If you have space, place your grain and nut products in the freezer until you’re confident that you’ve eliminated the problem. This will prevent further contamination. Also, consider storing new groceries in a different spot (a good distance from the pantry) until you’ve had time to monitor things for a few weeks. This simple move will keep you from having to throw out more food.
5. Store your grains
storing your grains in mason jars or other tight-sealing containers. If you bring something home from the grocery store that contains eggs, the moths won’t be able to get out of the jar when they hatch.
6. Use repellents
Bay leaves, lavender, cedar, and mint are known to repel moths. Fill sachets with one of these, and tuck them inside your pantry as a deterrent.