What to do when you find pantry moths

August 9, 2015

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The Bug Doctor: Adam Villareal, owner and president of Insight Pest Solutions, entomology nerd, and family man. To help demystify the world of bugs, the Bug Doctor answers your questions during our weekly “Ask the Bug Dr.” blog feature. You can submit your bug and pest control inquiries for him on our Facebook page, by tweeting @insightpest, or commenting below.

The best way to control pantry moths is to prevent them in the first place. Inspection is a must. Make these few suggestions part of your regular shopping experience.

  • When purchasing any bagged or boxed food, check for damage or for evidence of pests. Make sure the seals are intact. Pay particular attention to packages of pet food and birdseed.

  • If you feel unsure, open the package outside or store in the freezer for 3 or 4 days before opening. Purchase smaller packages of flour and milled products instead of stocking up with larger ones.

If you suspect that you have a pantry moth infestation there are a few steps that you will need to follow to ensure that the problem is controlled.

Indian mealmoth. Photo credit: Melissa Doroquez

First, go through all foods that could potentially be infested. The areas that you will pay attention to are rice, flours, cereals, and other grains. You should also check pet food, or any other dry food products that you may have stored. Some signs beyond the obvious adult moths flying around are cocoon-like webbing along the ceilings, cracks of the pantry, etc. and webbing/worm-like larvae in bags or boxes of food.

Second, go through and inspect every single dry food you may have in your home, even if it hasn’t been opened. Any items found to be infested should be placed in a garbage bag, sealed up, and discarded outside.

Finally, after removing all infested boxes/bags of food be sure to clean/vacuum these areas to remove any spilled dry food.

Follow these tips and you should have a kitchen free of pantry moths.

Be cautious, and again, if the task seems intimidating, reconsider hiring a pest professional.

If the information and tips provided helped, share with us in the comment section below. For more expert pest control tips, check out our guide.

For more information:

How to prevent and get rid of pantry moths,” Apartment Therapy

Pantry Pests,” University of California Integrated Pest Management

How to get rid of pantry moths and larvae in your kitchen,” Today’s Homeowner

Do you have a question about bugs or pest control? We’d love to hear from you. Let us know on our Facebook page, in the comment section below, or by tweeting @insightpest. You may see the Bug Doctor’s answer to your question in a future post.

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