How to Get Rid of Moths in the Pantry
Thorough cleaning will get rid of moths in the pantry; pantry moths or Indian meal moths, commonly infest grain products, including flours, cornmeal, dry cereal and whole grains such as rice, barley or oats. Moths may also infest other starchy pantry staples like instant potato flakes, and sweet items like chocolates, candies or dried fruit. Keeping potential food sources sealed and using natural insect repellents can rid your pantry of these annoying pests and their larvae without using toxic bug spray near food.
Step 1 - Remove All Infested Foods
Look for the adult form of the moth and the larvae, which are about the size and color of a grain of brown rice, with a dark spot on one end. Webbing, particularly around jar tops and bag openings, also indicates an infested product. Remove all infested items from the house immediately. Just throwing them in the kitchen trash isn’t enough. For a severe infestation, consider discarding all non-canned foods, both opened and sealed packages, from the pantry and starting over fresh.
Step 2 - Scrub the Pantry
Moths may pupate under shelf paper, in shelf brackets and in the cracks in cupboards. Remove anything that can be removed from the pantry and wipe down thoroughly with a sponge and hot water.
Step 3 - Seal Potential Food Sources
Moths are only a problem in a pantry if they have access to a food source. Isolate the food source, and the infestation dies out. Keep all grain products, starches and sticky sweet items in rigid, airtight containers and check periodically for 2-3 weeks for signs of re-infestation.
Step 4 - Prevent Re-Infestation
Meal moths often enter a pantry through infested food brought home from the store. To prevent re-infestation, store flour and grain products in the freezer for 1-2 weeks after purchase to kill off any eggs or larvae. Commercial pantry insect traps and natural insect repellent blocks are also available for pantry pest control.