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How to Check for Pantry Moths

Pantry moths, or Indian Meal moths, hide and lay eggs in stored food products, like grains, flours, and pasta. This results in contaminated ingredients. Knowing how to check for pantry moths can help you catch an infestation early. This will help you control the pest problem before it gets out of hand. Check out a few signs of a pantry moth infestation.

Signs of a Pantry Moth Infestation infographic

Webbing

Pantry moth larva

One sign of a pantry moth problem is webbing. Pantry moth larvae create silk webs. These can be found on the outside or inside of food packages. Larvae will also produce webbing on the cabinet walls, especially in the corner. Sticky secretions can cause food to clump together.

Unpleasant Odor

Pantry storage containers

If you’re noticing an unpleasant scent coming from your pantry or stored food, then you could be dealing with pantry moths. The secretions they release can cause foul odors. Their presence can also alter the taste of ingredients.

Small Holes in Packaging

 Flour

Pantry moth larvae can chew through certain materials including food packaging. If you notice small holes on your pantry items, pantry moths could be responsible. These pests eat grains, cereal, flour, pasta, nuts, dried fruit, and even pet food.

Seeing Pantry Moth Larvae

Indian meal moth larva

It’s possible you will see worm-like larvae crawling around your pantry. These pests have a cream body with a dark head. They are about less than ½ʺ in length. After some time, larvae develop legs and they will move between pantry items. 

Seeing Adult Pantry Moths

Indian Meal Moth

Spotting an adult pantry moth flying around can warn of a bigger problem. Adult moths are small, about 3/8ʺ. They have gray and brown wings with a brown body. These moths can lay hundreds of eggs, so if you spot one, you’ll want to examine your pantry closely.

How to Prevent Pantry Moths

Pantry with glass storage containers

The idea of these pests hanging out in your pantry probably makes your skin crawl. Thankfully, there are things you can do to help prevent a pantry moth infestation.

  • Examine Food: Before bringing food home from the store, take time to check it for signs of moths. Look for holes in packaging or moths flying around the area.
  • Store Food Properly: Placing your food in containers with tight-fitting lids can help keep pantry moth larvae out of your food. It can also help prevent larvae from spreading to other ingredients.
  • Keep Your Kitchen & Pantry Clean: If moths find food sources, they’ll be more likely to hang out in your home. Clean up crumbs and spills in your kitchen and cabinets.
  • Seal Entry Points: Pantry moths typically infest stored food items before entering homes, but they sometimes come inside through openings in your house. Examine your house for cracks and gaps and seal any you find.

How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths

If pantry moths have invaded your kitchen or pantry, you’ll want to act quickly. Check out a few tips for getting rid of pantry moths.

  • Throw Away Infested Food: Check your stored food for eggs and larvae. To help determine if something’s infested, place it in a clear plastic bag. After a few days, bugs will accumulate making it easier to see them. Throw away infested food and place it in an outdoor trash bin.
  • Clean Cabinets: Use soap and warm water to scrub down your cabinets. Vacuuming can help ensure you remove all eggs and larvae.
  • Use Proper Storage: If you weren’t using containers to store food, make the switch before stocking up on ingredients. You’ll also want to wash any of the containers already in your pantry.
  • Use a Pantry Moth Trap: Placing our Pantry Moth Trap in your cabinets can help treat an infestation. These will attract and control adult moths as well as larvae.
  • Use a Mineral-Based Insecticide Dust: Our Bed Bug Killer dust can be applied to the cracks and crevices of cabinets. It will help control pantry moths and remain effective for up to ten years when undisturbed, giving you long-lasting protection.
When pantry moths invade your home, you’ll want to act quickly. That’s why it’s important to know the warning signs of an infestation. If you’re dealing with a pest problem, we’re here to help! Check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective™ Pest Control products.

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