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How do I get MOTHS out of my pantry!

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#1 barney34

Posted 19 April 2009 - 10:45 AM

Im sick of it!!!!

A couple of months ago I cleaned the entire pantry out! I threw out literally 100s of $ worth of food- mind you ALL my things are in labelled airtight containers so I know thats its breeding from within! I have only JUST cleaned the damn thing out and yet AGAIN the moths are breeding again- and I dont know what they are breeding in as I nearly threw everything out! I even keep my DSs baby cereal etc in the fridge as I fear that the moths will get too it!

The pantry in question has all my cooking needs (flour, sugars etc) but at present there is no flour in there as I have moved it all out! They only seem to attack ONE pantry too!

I have bought Pantry Moth traps yesterday but I was wondering if anyone knew of any remedies they used as I am over the $$$ wastage and the time to once again clean out that pantry!  cry1.gif

Tia  wub.gif

#2 ♥Teags♥

Posted 19 April 2009 - 10:47 AM

At the shops, near the fly sprays, you can get moth balls that come with little containers with hooks that allow you to hang them where ever. My mum used to hang them in her pantry and it fixed her problem.

HTH original.gif

#3 girly-girl

Posted 19 April 2009 - 10:51 AM

Hmmm... is it bay leaves scattered through the pantry that keeps them away? Do a google and check.

#4 fi73

Posted 19 April 2009 - 10:54 AM


We have the same problem.I bought some pantry moth traps about $10 for a pack of two from the supermarket.I have had one in the cupboard for about a week and it has trapped quite a few.
I also put some bay leaves in the pantry as that is supposed to help too.

#5 ednaboo

Posted 19 April 2009 - 10:55 AM


Weevils seem to get in via flour or rice etc - they are in the package.  You have to throw it all out and start again.  I have had to do this a few times.  The only containers that seem to stop them for me is Tupperware (and no I'm not a rep original.gif )  Apparently they don't like bay leaves, so I put some in each container.

I'm not familiar with those particular moth balls, but if they are camphor I wouldn't be putting them near food.  Chec whether they are safe for this purpose.  I'd rather eat a few weevils (by mistake) than camphor!

#6 roni-b

Posted 19 April 2009 - 11:03 AM

I hate them! The weevils crawl up the wall and into cervices to turn into moths, so check behind where the shelves attach to the wall, underneath anything low or behind anything permanent. Pull everything out, do the check, put everything back. I am about to do this myself sad.gif They live in the oddest things, like they were eating my dog's food! They were in the paprika! The gravy powder! Do you have birds? They can live in the seed and husks at the bottom of the birdcage. What won't they touch? Disgusting things.

#7 green-eyes

Posted 19 April 2009 - 11:05 AM

Also, another tip is once you've purchased flour, keep it in the freezer for a few days before putting it in the pantry.  It kills anything before it gets a chance to breed.  I do this all the time and now I never have moths in the pantry.

#8 supermama

Posted 19 April 2009 - 11:18 AM

Yes, we've had this a few times.  I have found the cocoons under the folded flaps of new packs of White Wings flour even!  And I have also found dead larvae trying to escape from inside my tupperware flour containers - and they too must have come in with the flour as I decant straight into the plastic after purchase.

They also LOVE chocolate, some came in a box of Lindt chocs, they were INSIDE the foil and plastic wrappers of the plastic wrapped box!!  Dried fruit is another favourite, also herbs and spices, breadcrumbs, breakfast cereals.  I can't think of anything I haven't found them in, they sometimes lay eggs/cocoon under the labels of steel cans!

Bayleaves don't seem to work, and the best thing I have found is to use Oil of Pennyroyal.  You can buy it from health food stores as a diluted solution, and you dilute it further with a little water and wipe out the inside of the pantry with it.  I also left cotton balls with a few drops of neat oil on them taped to the walls. It smells sort of like 'off' spearmint BEWARE OF THIS OIL however, it is TOXIC and a known threat to pregnant women, and can cause miscarriage.  Wear gloves regardless, and if you are pregnant or TTC, get someone else to do it for you.  You might find a health food store will not sell it to you if you are pregnant.

I combine the Pennyroyal with a pantry moth trap, this has a pheremone chemical that attracts male moths, and interrupts the breeding cycle.  I don't put it IN the pantry though, as I don't want to attract the moths to where the food is - I put it in a quiet corner of the family room adjacent to the kitchen, on top of a wall unit.

#9 LadyBeetle.

Posted 19 April 2009 - 11:36 AM

We just went through this about a month ago. I also posted here in misc as I had never had the problem before.

Firstly, Weevils and pantry moths are different pests. They both lay larvae that both turn into pests but of different kind. One is a beetle though (weevil) and crawls and of course the other is the pantry moth, which flies.

We threw everything out, including unopened packaging as we could see grubs (what they are before turning into a moth) in sealed, unopened packet of almonds.

We then pulled all shelves out the panty. Wiped over everything with all purpose cleaner, paying special attention to the holes where you can adjust your shelves as they were hiding  in there. He then waited for it to dry and vacuumed it. Then sprayed a surface spray all around. Left it a few hours and then wiped it all out again.

We got onto a tupperware dealer and purchased a heap of containers and everything now goes in containers. We also bought the pantry moths from Coles. Put 1 in the pantry and 1 on the shelf in the kitchen. We have caught a few in there but have not had a problem since doing it and that was about a month ago I guess.

I was devastated when it happened lol Having never had anything like that happen before.

#10 Theophobic

Posted 19 April 2009 - 11:42 AM

I have found no matter how many times I clear it ALL out, how many times I throw it ALL out, how many sealed containers I use they ALWAYS come back, because they're IN the products you buy.  wacko.gif

It's a revolving door. I just kill all the ones I see.  aannoyed.gif

I bought Handy kitchen towels the other day, opened the pack and a weevil was inside the unopened plastic.  aannoyed.gif

Cupboard moths are the bane of my existence if you couldn't already tell.

#11 *LucyE*

Posted 19 April 2009 - 11:51 AM

mind you ALL my things are in labelled airtight containers so I know thats its breeding from within!

Firstly, not all plastic containers are airtight and will protect weevils from getting in.

Also, as PPs have mentioned, they are in the products you buy so put them all in the freezer when you you get home to kill any bugs.  Then move them to the air tight containers.  Stay on top of them so they don't get a chance to breed.

I use bay leaves as a deterrent but they won't work if you already have a bad infestation.

I believed that weevils were the same as pantry moths, just at a different stage.  The moths lay eggs, the weevils hatch, go through the chrysalis stage and change to moths.

ETA they also eat carboard so make sure you get rid of packaging asap as well.

Edited by *LucyE*, 19 April 2009 - 11:51 AM.

#12 LadyBeetle.

Posted 19 April 2009 - 02:17 PM



Indian Meal Moths are probably the most common pantry pests found in households and pantries. Unfortunately the same problem can exist in your store and get to a stage beyond control.

Adults of Indian Meal Moth have a wingspan of about 13 - 17mm, when at rest the wings are folded together tightly by the body. The wings are a blend of two colours; the front half of the wings is a pale - grey tan, bottom half of the wings are a rust bronze colour.


Adult moths usually emerge, mate, and lay eggs at night. Females lay between 40 to 400 eggs in 18 days, or an adjacent to food material, either singly or in-groups depending on several factors. Eggs may also be placed directly on the exterior of packaging material.

Eggs start hatching with 4 - 8 days, usually beginning in April, even with generations overlapping. The 5mm larva soon begins searching for food. Those emerging on the outside of a container are often able to penetrate containers that appear well sealed. As the developing larvae move about, they spin a continuous strand of thin webbing. Over time, this webbing extends throughout the infested material. In a heavy infestation the webbing becomes dense enough to be easily visible.

Larvae mature in 21 to 70 days, depending on food, temperature and daylength. Mature larvae usually leave their food supply and wander about looking for a place to pupate. Larvae seen on ceilings and counters, etc are often the first indication of a problem. In heavy infestations, pupation may occur far from the original food source.

The life cycle (egg to adult) can take as few as 27 days or as long as 305 days. There are generally four to six generations a year, but the number can vary from one to eight (seven to eight under favorable temperature conditions). During winter months, larvae will often enter diapause (a form of hibernation) only to emerge as adults in the spring.


Moths are nocturnal and prefer to fly at night

If disturbed during the day they fly in a zigzag pattern

They rest in dark places during the day

The larvae will crawl great distances for food


Caterpillars have chewing mouthparts. Adults have siphoning mouths. Caterpillars (larvae) feed in flour (including whole wheat and meal). shelled corn and other broken stored grains, dried fruit, seeds, crackers, biscuits, nuts, powdered milk, chocolate, candy, red peppers, and dog food. Caterpillars produce a loose silken mat on top surface or infested food material.


Both granary and rice weevils, often known as "snout weevils" penetrate and feed on the internal portions of whole grains during the larval (immature) stage, making early detection of infestations difficult. They are usually found in grain storage facilities of processing plants, infesting wheat, oats, rye, barley, rice, and corn. Although not often found in the home, sometimes they infest table beans, acorns, chestnuts, birdseed, sunflower seeds, and ornamental corn. They are rarely found in macaroni and spaghetti. Granary and rice weevils do not bite or sting humans or pets, spread disease, or feed on or damage the house or furniture.


Both weevils have chewing mouthparts at the end of their snouts or prolonged heads, and are about 1/8 to 3/16 inch long, depending on the size of the grain kernel. In small grains, weevils are small in size. The adult granary weevil is a shiny reddish brown, whereas the adult rice weevil is a dull reddish brown with four light spots on the wing covers. These light spots are lacking on the granary weevil. Also, the granary weevil cannot fly, whereas the rice weevil can fly. Both weevils in the larval stage are legless, humpbacked, white to creamy white, with a small, tan head. Weevils in the pupa stage have snouts like the adults.


The egg, larva, and pupa stages of both weevils occur in the grain kernels and are rarely seen. Feeding is done within the grain kernel, and adults cut exit holes to emerge. Females drill a tiny hole in the grain kernel, deposit an egg in the cavity, and then plug the hole with a gelatinous secretion. The egg hatches into a cavity, and then plug the hole with a gelatinous secretion. The egg hatches into a young larva, which bores toward the centre of the kernel, feeds, grows, and pupates there. New adults bore emergence holes from the inside, then leave to mate and begin a new generation.

Female granary weevils lay from 36 to 254 eggs. Larvae mature in 18 days and the pupa in 6 days. The life cycle is about 30 to 40 days during the summer, and 123 to 148 days during the winter, depending on temperature. Female rice weevils lay between 300 to 400 eggs, with the life cycle requiring about 32 days for completion.


Rice weevil adults live 3 - 6 mths

Both granary and rice weevils fake death by drawing up their legs close to the body, falling, and remaining silent when disturbed

Adult granary weevils can live up to 7 - 8 mths


The simplest and most effective measure is to locate the source of infestation and quickly get rid of it. Use a flashlight or other light source to examine all food storage areas and food products carefully. Dispose of heavily infested foods in wrapped, heavy plastic bags or in sealed containers for garbage removal. If you detect an infestation early, disposal alone may solve the problem.


A qualified pest controller can determine the type, source and extent of the infestation, and then registered pesticides will be used to control the problem.

#13 mumsbambini

Posted 19 April 2009 - 02:32 PM

I had a bad infestation about 2 years ago

I threw absolutely everything out.  

I washed all my tupperware on highest heat in the diswasher.

I cleaned every shelve meticulously using bleach.

I put a big bunch of fresh bay leaves at the top of my pantry

I also used the moth baits.


So I repeated every step above again  cry1.gif  and then called in the expert exterminators and have never seen a moth again.

I put all flour in the freezer now as they cannot live in cold temperatures.  

Good luck - but YOU MUST CLEAN EVERYTHING from top to toe because if you miss one egg then you are back to where you started.  A bit like head lice really....

#14 caterpillar~girl

Posted 19 April 2009 - 02:32 PM

The following is taken from Spotless, Shannon Lush and Jennifer Fleming:

Problem: Moths in pantry
What to use: Oil of pennyroyal or bay oil or mint tea, cloth.
How to apply: Put 1 drop of oil of pennyroyal in a bucket of water, and then wipe the shelves with a cloth.

Don’t use oil of pennyroyal if you are pregnant.

Pregnant women can apply bay oil to a cloth and then wipe over the shelves or they can wipe the shelves with a very strong mint tea. These methods aren’t as effective as oil of pennyroyal and have to be applied more often but they will work.

link to another thread:


I put a moth trap in the cupboard and one on to of the kitchen cupboards. I figure if the are in and out when the cupboard is opened, I would rather have a trap there to get them.

#15 Baby_Be

Posted 19 April 2009 - 05:04 PM

probably already been said, but with things like flour you need to put them in the freezer for 24hours or so, to kill any weevils etc that may already be inside the packaging.

Also keep plastic bags and any unnecessary junk out of the bottom of your pantry.

I did the same as you, had a massive cleanout once, we we had the pantry moths etc.  I now ALWAYS keep a pantry moth trap in there just in case and it still fills up over time, but I only see the occasional one flying about.

I scatter bay leaves around and when you do your clean up, you need to go over every single mm of cupboard space.  They love to get into packets, under flaps of everything and do their cocoon.

good luck ridding your pantry of them.

#16 Guest_Cali~_*

Posted 19 April 2009 - 06:33 PM

Why not buy the pantry moth trap that they have at Coles?
It's a triangular thing that the moths stick to.

#17 *LucyE*

Posted 19 April 2009 - 07:42 PM

Thanks LadyBeetle  biggrin.gif  I can honestly chalk down my time on EB as 'educational' LOL

OP I wish you a pantry moth and weevil free pantry!

#18 barney34

Posted 19 April 2009 - 09:41 PM

Thanks so much for all your suggestions!

So ill clear out AGAIN, wipe down, spray, scatter bay leaves in and around food and set up moth traps......

If all else fails it looks like im calling in pest control  yyes.gif

#19 3monsters

Posted 19 April 2009 - 09:49 PM

i feel your pain! I cleaned mine out last week and they are back. So looks like I have to clean it out again! I found them in my tupperware so I really dont trust tupperware either!

Ive never heard of the pantry moth traps Im going there tomorrow to get some!!!

#20 BlueLavander

Posted 19 April 2009 - 10:11 PM

rant.gif  don't talk to me about Panty Moths.. OMG the are evil.. pure evil

Good luck OP - I will be doing all I can as well!



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