I have been having trouble with moths in the pantry, I have sprayed and
cleaned out the pantry, but they keep coming back in large numbers. I
would like to know if anyone has had a similar problem and how to fix
this. I don't know if they are breeding in the flour, but it is in a
closed tupperware container, and just last night I noticed little grubs
and specks of black int the flour. ANY SUGGESTIONS PLEASE I am stumped
:( ! Thank you in advance.
Often the insect eggs come packaged with the flour. Once they hatch you
have a big problem as they are very difficult to get rig of. The larvae
seem to be able to eat though a lot of packaging. When it happened to me, I
removed everything from the pantry. I washed every square inch with a good
detergent and then wiped it all down with a 1:10 bleach solution. I put
everything that wasn't in a can, bottle, or jar into a large garbage can
linger and sealed it. I put that in the trash. The larva will turn into
moths and they will lay eggs in all the boxes of grain products like
breakfast cereal, flour, cornstarch, oats, etc. If you don't pitch
everything, then you will just perpetuate the problem. Before putting the
cans, jars, and bottles back, you should wash them well with detergent and
then dry them. In the future, you can store your flour in the refrigerator
For other ideas, look here:
I've learned to keep beans, rice, and pasta in airtight jars, but I
leave flour out in paper packages. I haven't had any trouble in
I just checked my old flour bin with a sifter in the bottom.
There's flour and weevil trash in the bowl underneath, but I guess
the flour is too old for them. I'll bet that bin was the source of
my moths in the past.
If sealed jars don't have eggs and the food that's added to them
doesn't have eggs and the kitchen continues to have moths, they
could be coming from forgotten food storage like my flour bin, or
from paper or textiles somewhere in the house, or from outside.
Borax is a long-lasting insecticide that seems to stop most insects
and, like table salt, poses little risk to humans.
I store my flour, grain, and cornmeal in glass jars which works well.
Products which are labeled "organically grown" will likely contain
insect eggs. My mother used to keep a whole bay leaf in the flour
which is a natural insect repellant.
Two hours at 120-130 F will kill the eggs. With food, you have to
get the center that hot, keep it that hot, and not damage it with
heat. Three weeks below 5 F will also kill the eggs.
The usual kitchen moths are Indian Meal Moths. They eat various
foods found in a kitchen but may pupate in other parts of the
house. If that's why the OP keeps finding moths in the kitchen,
they should be gone before long.
If you seen any after you clean, throw out and then seal any new products
that may mean they are hiding behind your wallpaper. I was living in a
house a few years ago that had intermittant bursts of moths even though we
were pretty aggressive about sealing. When we renovated the pantry and
pulled down the wallpaper it was hiding a huge amount of dead moths. I
think they can eat the paste that sticks the wallpaper to the walls. We
scrubbed and then never had a problem again. I hate wallpaper.
Silverfish eat wallpaper paste, but I don't think the larvae of
moths do. It doesn't take much spilled food to support them. When
you renovated the pantry, I'll bet you removed their food supply
without noticing it.
(I found an obvious food source, a forgotten bowl of flour. I
wonder why I haven't seen any moths in a long time. I think the
flour may have gotten too dry. I think these larvae require 12%
moisture in their food.)
The larvae probably crawled under your wallpaper to pupate. It
must have been a death trap for many when they emerged as moths.
The life cycle of the Indian Meal Moth is 1 to 10 months. It
spends its last five days or so as a moth. That's why moths can
Pheromone sticky traps worked wonders for me, along with proper
cleaning, treatment or disposal of grain based products.
This link is just an example; this place seems a bit over priced.
Hint....if it's nice weather and you keep your windows open, you might
draw bugs from outdoors. My grandmother lived in a heavily wooded area,
and one summer she used the traps. While they were very effective at
trapping the indoor moths, we found several of the critters on the
outside of the window screens.
Make sure you check any dog/cat food, and especially if you store any
wild bird seed in the house. That's probably where mine started....I
store bird seed in the garage now.
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