Posted on October 4, 2011
What are pantry moths?
Also known as Weevils, Flour Moths, Indian Meal Moths or Kitchen Moths, pantry moths are small moths commonly found in grains.
How do they get into the food?
Pantry moths are usually brought into the home via food purchased. Grains are not their exclusive food source, they can also be found in biscuits, cereal, seeds, pet food, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, sweets, bird seed, rodent baits and other dried foods.
Life cycle & appearance of the pantry moth:
The pantry moth has three life cycles. Firstly the female lays her eggs close to a source of food. These eggs hatch into larvae approximately 4-8 days. These larvae are approximately 5mm long, grey/cream coloured & similar looking to maggots. Larvae mature in around 3 weeks. Adult pantry moths are around 10mm in length with brown/grey coloured wings.
How do I know if I have pantry moths?
Larvae leave a silky mat in areas they eat food, you may notice this silky thread in your cupboards or around food containers, in food etc. You may notice the small larvae in your food. You may see the moths in your home. Especially around kitchens although it should be noted that pantry moths can also infest other areas of the home too.
Preventing pantry moths:
Most pantry moths are introduced to the home via store bought groceries. Prevention is certainly the preferred method in keeping these pests at bay.
The following tips will help reduce your chances of a pantry moth infestation;
- When bringing home food, place it in the freezer for a few days to kill any eggs/larvae already in the food.
- Once you remove the food from the freezer, store in airtight containers with a tight fitting lid. Add some bay leaves to the container with the food. Also place some bay leaves on the shelves in your pantry.
- Regularly rotate food & don’t leave it sitting around for too long.
- Carefully examine food packages prior to buying. Don’t buy broken packaging.
- Buy less frequently used products in small quantities so that it is not sitting around for a long time. If you do have food in your pantry that you will not get through quickly, store it in the fridge or freezer.
Dealing with a pantry moth infestation:
- Throw away all packaged food, even if it hasn’t been opened & remove everything else stored in the cupboard.
- Remove all shelves & thoroughly wipe down all surfaces with a vinegar solution. Carefully check & wipe down all nooks & crannies.
- Once wiped down, vacuum the area thoroughly. Throw out the vacuum cleaner bag afterwards.
- Move & clean in, under & behind any kitchen appliances which may have food residue such as your toaster, oven, dishwasher & fridge.
If all else fails you can call your exterminator to get rid of the infestation, A1Exterminators can help you with your moth and weevil problem.