How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths (aka Indianmeal Moths): 3 Steps
They hitch a ride into your home hidden inside dry goods like rice, flour, pasta, seeds, nuts, dog food, cereal and grains. You might not notice them at first, but slowly webs, eggs, and worm-like caterpillars will start showing up in your pantry. Disgustingly, you’ll probably first find them when you go to serve yourself a bowl of cereal or oatmeal, maybe right as you scoop out some rice for cooking. Because they can easily chew through paper and thin plastics, once you see a single caterpillar, egg or web, they’ve most likely infested the majority of your pantry foods.
Eventually, you’ll encounter little gray and brown moths fluttering about, especially near sources of light. By this time, you’ve got yourself a real pantry moth (aka Indianmeal moth) problem on your hands. A single female can lay upwards of 400 eggs in a single day, meaning if you wait much longer after noticing them, it could take thousands of dollars and months of concerted effort to finally get them out of your home. Not only is the Indianmeal moth arguably the most common bug you’ll find in your pantry or kitchen, it’s also the most destructive and difficult to tackle if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Whether you want to learn how to prevent pantry moths in the first place or you desperately need help getting rid of an ongoing problem and fast, we have your back. Here’s how to get rid of and prevent Indianmeal moths in just 3 easy steps.
1. EMPTY AND CLEAN YOUR PANTRY
First thing’s first, every dry good not stored in airtight hard plastic, glass, or metal containers needs to go. It might seem like an extreme measure, but it’s going to save you money and time in the long run. Missing even a single egg, caterpillar, or adult buried deep inside one of your food items is going to allow the entire problem to simply resurface again in a few weeks. If you’re unsure whether an item has pantry moths inside and you don’t see any holes indicating they’ve chewed through the packaging, you can place it in the freezer for 1 week to kill any hidden adults, eggs, or caterpillars. Unfortunately, this won’t save you from accidentally eating a pantry moth should there be any present.
After tossing out potentially infested goods, place them in a tightly sealed bag in a trash can outside. Do not simply toss them in an indoor trash can, doing so will only lead to additional pantry moth issues in the future. Then, empty out the rest of your pantry until it’s completely bare, including cans, cooking equipment, etc.
Now it’s time for a deep clean. Start by vacuuming the area followed up by a non-toxic All-Purpose Cleaner (a half-and-half vinegar and water solution also works). Be careful and thorough, vacuum and scrub every nook and cranny in the pantry, including the floor, shelf liners, and the door’s hinges. Pantry moths are known to hide and lay eggs in the smallest of crevices. We suggest using a flashlight during this process. Lastly, make sure to thoroughly clean all items you removed from the pantry but did not throw away, scrubbing and rinsing canned goods, food storage containers, crockery, etc (pantry moths commonly lay eggs along the edges of these items).
2. TREAT AND MONITOR
Now that you’ve removed the pantry moths by emptying and deep cleaning your pantry, it’s time to make sure they don’t return. Once your pantry has air dried from cleaning, we’re going to use cedar, a known moth deterrent, to protect the area from future infestation.
Using family-safe Cedarcide All-Purpose Bug Spray, lightly mist all surfaces and flooring within your pantry. Wait 5–7 days before replacing food or containers back into your pantry so that you can monitor the area for signs of pantry moths you might have missed. If you see that any have returned, simply re-spray the area as before and monitor the situation for another 5–7 days. At this point, we also recommend closely examining surrounding areas for additional moth hiding spots that might be the cause of their return, and then cleaning and spraying them with Cedarcide All-Purpose Bug Spray as outlined above.
Once you’re in the clear, place everything back into your pantry. But keep an eye out for signs of moth activity for the next several months—such as webbing, eggs, or adults—just in case. Remember, the earlier you spot them and start treating, the more quickly and easily you can nip the problem in the bud. After all, it’s no fun having to toss out all your food, so let’s make sure you never have to do that again.
Now that you know how to solve a moth problem quickly, easily, and safely, it’s time to make sure you never have to deal with them again.
3. HOW TO PREVENT PANTRY MOTHS
While not entirely foolproof, the following measures and precautions will effectively prevent most pantry moth issues, potentially saving you thousands of dollars and dozens of man-hours.
After bringing home dry goods such as spices, herbs, grains, cereals, dog food, flour, etc, consider placing them in your freezer for 1 week to kill any moths that could be hiding inside. Additionally, check the packaging of dry goods before buying them; if you see any holes or anything else indicating bug activity, leave them on the shelf and notify an employee.
From here on out, avoid storing dry goods in anything but airtight hard plastic, metal, or glass containers.
As you periodically clean your home, check your pantry and surrounding areas for signs of pantry moths and treat the areas as needed. We suggest doing a thorough check like this every 3–4 months.
It’s a well known fact that cedar (think cedar closets, for instance) helps repel moths. Thankfully, you can take advantage of this feature to help keep your pantry and closets moth free. Simply fill a small sachet or stocking with 100% natural Cedarwood Granules and hang them in your pantry, storage spaces, or wherever else you're worried about moths. Replace the granules every 6–8 weeks.