How to get rid of hideous pantry moths

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I hate those suckers. The only long term solution for me has been your mentioned wide mouth jars. That and never, ever have a bag of foodstuffs that isnt air tight. Finding grubs in flour and semolina when I was a kid freaked me the hell out :slight_smile:


They don’t even need to be open, the little bastards can drill though fairly thick poly. We use snap top plastic containers from Ikea for grains and flours. I also have a bunch of 6" cube tea tins from when I was addicted to Te Kuan Yin tea. They’re pretty tight.


For smaller items Kilner jars work well. For larger applications (like flour) I have never had an issue with Target/Costco large glass screw top containers.

Keep an eye on the seals once a year and you are golden.

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Oh, God, I hate those things.

One summer when I was home alone as a young 20 something my parent’s house had an outbreak. At first the larvea started appearing in the wash basin in the kitchen sink. After a few days of that I looked up and they were all over the kitchen ceiling, dropping on things. There weren’t traps back then; I spent an hour collecting them with a broom and scoop. I only remember tossing out boxes of Jiffy corn muffin mix, so I guess I was lucky on the food front.

I had an outbreak at home the year before last. The moths popped out of a batch of dried candied dates while I was away for a few weeks. I went atomic escalation on the things. I used traps, cleaned out my pantry, and checked every single item. The moths fluttered around for a while; fortunately they didn’t infest anything else besides some dog treats, stored in a box next to the dates.

Now I put all flours and cake mixes and such in a ziplock bag, and then an airtight bin. There are maybe six bins, for organization and so an infestation doesn’t spread far.

I visually check the (transparent) bins now and then. If something infested gets in the house, they’ll be somewhat contained and I can hustle the bin out of the house. The pantry has a few cedar blocks, and a few glue / pheremone traps.

I have read that you can deep-freeze flours and grains upon entering the house, to kill off any eggs present. I would do this to any dried fruit I buy in the future.


The only thing that got rid of them here was a complete throw away of all items.

Also when you buy rice in bulk. Freeze it. They hitchhike on rice. If they’re in oats or other grains…you can freeze them for 2 weeks

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We started keeping rice, flour, cornmeal, etc. in the freezer. It’s completely eliminated the moths, but it takes up a lot of freezer space.


Glass containers for dry goods, anything that comes bulk, anything that comes in a box. The only thing they can’t get into (or out of, since they’re already pre-installed in most of the food sold in stores) is glass and cans.


If you have a big freezer (or live in a cold climate and it’s winter) you can freeze all the affected (or suspect) containers. It can get to -20F here in the winter, and I moved all suspect containers onto the back porch for a week. Wipe the infected area down carefully, sometimes there can be nests outside of (but near to) the food.

While the pheromone traps do work, for me they didn’t catch all that many more moths than ordinary strips of flypaper. (It might depend on the particular species of moth.) At 6 strips of flypaper for a buck, vs. six bucks for a single pheromone trap, I just hung several flypapers in the pantry and a few in other parts of the house. Haven’t seen a moth in a couple of years.


We had an infestation caused by a bag of pet food we bought at a big box pet store. It took months to get under control. We just had to clear out all the cupboards and clean everything, open everything, and toss out a lot.We even found them inside Altoids tins. It was a constant search and destroy for those months until we finally got rid of them.

Now if we could only get rid of the bag moths in our garage. :frowning:

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Glass jars fantastic, but no way with plastic lids. Also on Amazon, the Bormioli Rocco one piece metal wide mouth lid. Size 86 mm work just great. I found mine in a local health food store.

I lived in several shared apartments years ago, and managed to wipe out serious meal moth infestations in each one simply by precaution and vigilance: seal food in jars or multiple plastic bags (or the fridge-- if you think rice has been infested put it in the freezer), be aware that moths can be desperate enough to lay their eggs on almost any organic plant material (wallpaper paste, dried chilis, garlic… and the larvae will make surprisingly successful go of eating it), and believe it or not just kill them when you see them flying around, it makes a difference. I would check the ceiling every time I went into the kitchen, and I learned that they like to hang out under cabinets. There will be different hatchings so stay vigilant for a few months.


My aunt was in the hospital and rehab for about a year. I stopped by, to grab her some things one day and realized what had happened.

She was a baker. They had a buffet and trashed the whole house. Generations upon generations.


These bugs are amazingly hard to get rid of. Note that only the males are attracted to the traps. I’ve also found they will infest cotton clothing just like their cousins do with wool clothing.


[quote=“some_guy, post:13, topic:53410”]
and believe it or not just kill them when you see them flying around, it makes a difference.[/quote]

Also highly satisfying.


Yep we are currently dealing with them.

I’ve been told that pheromone traps only work for closed spaces and that you might attract moths from afar if you have e.g. open windows (any experts around who can confirm or dispute this?).

What we’ve had excellent experience with in our kitchen are Trichogramma Wasps. At first it sounds hideous, but once you get used to the idea of an army of tiny tiny wasp larvae (aka “my minions”) killing the offspring (well, actually the eggs) of those awful moths, it’s really satisfying - and very efficient.

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My other half takes great delight in sucking them from the air with a vacuum cleaner.