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All About Pantry Moths
Discovering pantry moths in your kitchen can bring any home cook’s blood to a boil. Considered to be the most troubling food-infesting pest in the nation, these small creatures can create a lot of extra work for you, as well as result in the costly loss of food. You’ll have to take pest control action as soon as you discover them to keep the problem from spreading.
What Are Pantry Moths?
Pantry moths, or Indian Meal Moths, have a pale gray appearance with an approximate ½ inch wingspan. Fully grown larvae measure about ½ inch in length and look whitish with a brown head. When the tiny, nearly invisible eggs hatch, the larvae have a plentiful supply of food they can eat continuously. The larvae spin threads as they feed, creating webbing that holds the food together. Their favorite foods include the following:
- Flours and meals
- Dried fruit
- Pet food
- Dried herbs
- Powdered milk
Where Do They Come From?
Pantry moth infestations are quite common. They most likely enter your home from purchasing an infested product in your supermarket. They are also attracted to light and can fly into your home through gaps in screens.
How to Get Rid of Them
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to notice the problem until you have moths flying around. By then, pest control is work-intensive, as females can lay up to 400 eggs in just two weeks. These moths can easily work their way into cardboard boxes at the seams, and larvae can chew through plastic bags and cardboard. Once the larvae are ready to turn into moths, they’ll create cocoons in the corners and crevices of your shelving and cabinet hardware.
Pest control for pantry moths includes these steps:
- Removing everything from your pantry.
- Removing and throwing away shelf liners.
- Wiping down all walls, shelves, doors, and hinges with white vinegar and water.
- Adding peppermint oil to your pantry as a repellent.
- Inspecting all food for moths or worms. Infested foods have to be thrown away. Immediately tie the garbage bag tight and bring it outside to your garbage can.
- For all grains that have no visible signs of moths or larvae, there are two common approaches. Some people prefer to throw away all grains and foods that are in packages that cannot be washed, while others put this food in the freezer for several days, as this will stop any eggs from hatching.
- Washing all jars and cans in hot, soapy water, carefully getting into the cracks around the lids of the jars, as pantry moths can lay eggs everywhere.
- Placing moth traps to capture and dispose of adult moths.
How To Keep Pantry Moths from Returning
While there’s no guarantee that you’ll never bring home another package infested with pantry moths from your supermarket, there are some measures you can take to diminish another infestation:
- When buying anything in a clear package, carefully inspect it for moving larvae or their web-like creations.
- Never keep items like birdseed or dog food in a hot car.
- Store susceptible foods in tight-lidded plastic containers.
- Wash all jars and cans before storing them in your pantry.
- Freeze all grains for several days before adding them to your pantry.
Call a Pest Control Specialist
Pantry moths can be hard to remote, taking months of work and several rounds of DIY efforts. Never hesitate to call a pest control specialist such as Ecola for best results. No infestation is worth suffering through, especially one that causes the loss of costly food. Call Ecola at 1 (800) 332-BUGS (2847).