How I Finally Got Rid of Pantry Moths!

You open your pantry door, and you see a tiny flutter of something zigzagging its way, fluttering through the air. It’s a moth – not the sweater-eating moth, it’s definitely smaller than that. This one is eating your food!


They are almost IMPOSSIBLE to get rid of. Notice, I said, almost. They are gone here now, finally. Not a single flutter is left in my pantry. And, yes, I did try all the Pantry Moth Traps, (not effective!)the top to bottom cleaning, and even unsafe bug sprays. Nothing worked. It’s been 9 years since I wiped them out using powder:

Boric Acid, and the safer, but equally effective, Diatomaceous Earth.

susiej pantry moth

Boric Acid and Diatomaceous Earth effectively get into those nooks and crannies where the pantry moth lays their eggs.pantry1 Like where? In between the weaves of a wicker basket (they actually use this for food!), underneath the folds of your whole wheat flour paper bag from the store. (They won’t touch white flour, by the way, FYI), and they bore holes through plastic ziplock bags to get to the grains you’ve stored. They also like to spin their nest-like webs underneath your pantry shelves, in the corner, below the shelf, where you can’t see them.

This is where the powder comes in. You can sprinkle the powders in these areas, and it will stay put, and not make its way into your food. However, if it helps you, Diatomaceous Earth is safe to ingest, and farmers use Diatomaceous Earth to mix into horse feed to destroy the bugs.

No fumes, no smell – no human poison. How safe? A study by John Ball Park of Grand Rapids, Michigan; Brookfield Zoos of Chicago Illinois; and Buffalo Zoo of Buffalo, New York found that a mixture of feed incorporating 2% diatomaceous earth was sent to three zoos for evaluation. John Ball and Buffalo Zoos reported that their black bears on the special feed showed a better coat and clearer eyes. The primates fed at the Brookfield Zoo displayed a pronounced improvement in both appearance and behavior. Stool samples taken at all three zoos showed an absence of any internal parasites – adult or egg. Parasites in these animals were present prior to using the diatomaceous earth food mixture.
So, there you have it.

You don’t have to mix Diatomaceous Earth  into your flour — just sprinkle it around your flour.

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You’ll need to do a bit of detective work to find out where the pantry moth nests are located in your home. So, grab a bucket of soapy water, and a sponge and start clearing your shelves. While you’re pulling stuff out, take a look at those packages of whole foods and grains that you bought with good intentions, but never opened, (the pantry moth’s favorite meal) and see if you don’t find that webbing around the folds of the packaging.

Once everything is out, start wiping down those shelves, and make sure you look under the shelves. Then, keep going up, because the pantry moth loves to lay eggs around the warmth of your light fixtures. When you wipe out a “nest” take it immediately out of your house and drown it! The top of your fridge is warm, and so is behind it.

Wipe off the cans, the bags, the sacks and boxes, and everything that’s in your cupboard. Consider moving the whole grains and beans to your freezer, where the pantry moth can’t get to them. If you want to keep the whole grains in your pantry, consider storing them in sealed glass containers. (The pantry moths can lay eggs under the lip of metal tins.) Pantry Moths can eat through your plastic containers…eventually.

Once you’ve found a few pantry moth nests and larva, and wiped them out, you may think you’re done. You are not. These pantry moths are tenacious. There are more tiny little eggs hiding somewhere. And they will wait until the coast is clear, and the food supply is back up, to hatch. Trust me… there are eggs somewhere. You just can’t see them.

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So, now this next step is vital. Before you put all of those pantry items back in your cupboard, you will have to sprinkle some of that  Boric Acid or Diatomaceous Earth around those clean cupboards. I know… all that work you did of cleaning.  But you don’t want to go through this again, do you? So, sprinkle that powder where you’re sure those baby moths might drag their silk trails through. This is your insurance that if you did miss something — and you did, because you are not cleaning with a microscope– you have protection against another infestation.

Remember, larvae are more patient than you are. So, while you won’t need to reapply the DE, as it does not lose its effectiveness, but you’ll need to leave it in place – for a little more than a year.

A mess? Yes… but if you’ve every tried getting rid of the pantry moth, you’ll know that this mess is worth it in the long run. Because, remember, those larvae are tenacious! And, what could be messier than a bunch of moths and worm running through your foodstuffs? I’ll take a sprinkling of DE dust around my pantry any day. Wouldn’t you?

A note on Diatomaceous Earth: Pantry Moths are exactly why God invented Diatomaceous Earth, (not to be confused with the kind used in swimming pool filters). It is a mineral dust mined from quarries. It’s a naturally occurring, soft, siliceous sedimentary rock that is crumbled into a fine white to off-white powder. Its’ odorless, and poison free to humans. DE kills the insects when they come in contact with it. To insects, DE is a lethal dust with microscopic razor-sharp edges. These sharp edges cut through the insect’s protective covering drying it out and killing them when they march through the powder. If they ingest DE, it will shred their insides. (I’m sorry, but that is music to my ears when I think of those gross larvae walking through my whole grains.)

And, remember. You may not have a pantry moth, but the grocery store does. You may bring home a brand new box of buckwheat — but there are pantry moth eggs nesting in the glue of the packaging. This powder will ensure they don’t take over again.

 

Here’s what you can’t do for Pantry Moths.

The  Pantry Pest Trap emits a pheromone that attracts the pantry moths so they get stuck and can’t reproduce. I have grave reservations about this contraption – I actually found my moth population increasing when I purchased those things. Maybe it made the moths more fertile, or something… but they did little to stop the problem, except for making me going out to buy more. Maybe that was the point.

Once you’re sure, and I am VERY sure, that the larve are gone, you’re free to vacuum up the DE around your pantry. But, keep the bottle around. The applications for DE are wonderful. They can safely wipe out an entire bed bug population. 

 

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153 comments to “How I Finally Got Rid of Pantry Moths!”
  1. We originally found them in an old silk rug (rolled up and brought in from storage). We had no idea, and left it sitting in a corner of the lounge for a few months till we got organised and moved furniture and unrolled it.

    Oh boy, we were in for a shock! So many holes eaten in the rug, especially the underside where the silk was woven through the webbing framework. Their casings, grubs and moth bodies and live moths were the evidence. Needless to say our house is now infested, no crevice is safe. They love natural fibres (ahem, silk) warmth and dampness. Once they get moving those grubs will cocoon themselves in any nearby miniscule crack. It’s just coming on Spring here in Oz, meaning warmer weather so they are really upping the numbers game. We have used surface spray and fly spray (my husband was hugely disappointed to observe that the overly-liberally-applied sprays had very little effect on the flying moths, at least in the short term, a hard pillow or tea towel was more effective and had less of us choking and sneezing), brooms to rub the walls and ceiling corners for cocoons, vacuuming over and over for eggs in all the carpeting, moth traps, games where you win 10 dollars for each genuine flying kill and the evidence is clear (we win from each other so have to keep tabs), scrubbing, washing, annihilating the pantry ( I taped over all those little shelf holder hidey holes), laying in wait to see where they emerge from next. They are literally all over the house. Under table and chair corners, window frames, in the back of the leather couches (yum, leather). The dogs are bored with them and if they land in the fish tank even the fish aren’t interested any more (found some in the fish food too). There are many sources of food and pantry items are only one of them. We are almost on top of them but are aware it only takes one….

    Still mourning that eye-wateringly expensive silk rug devastation, but at least we haven’t spent any more money on the moths aside from the traps and and bit of almost useless spray in the beginning. I squash and murder each one I see and the pantry seems static with very little in it and no more moths. I might look into the boric acid thing for those hard to reach places. It would be nice to have an insecticide that’s safer than surface spray and hopefully more effective. Earth from diatoms doesn’t really grab me, 😀 Good luck all…

  2. The diatomaceous earth is really the very best thing in the world and does have so many more uses than just getting rid of pantry moths. I have been dealing with them for a few months now. I have it all almost totally under control,I’m not seeing any in the last sticky traps I put out however they have made me paranoid now. I cannot believe that the most effective and safe thing to kill them is diatomaceous earth. Which I have a huge bag if. I put a spoonful of it in my coffee every morning…NOT the pool diatomaceous earth,,,the very healthy safe kind. It helped me clean a bit of a flea problem and also ant problem. I am safe and secure knowing thanks to this article I found the cure for them. Go to food grade diatomaceous earth to look at all the amazing testimonials from people that it has helped. I swear by it

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