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.


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.


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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165 comments to “How I Finally Got Rid of Pantry Moths!”
  1. The biggest part of the hassle of dealing with pantry moths is the attempt to clean everything and discard everything that might harbor them. Since we all know that doesn’t work to get rid of the infestation, my humble suggestion is to skip that step.

    (It takes a very lazy person to come up with some of the best labor-saving techniques, and I’m very lazy!)

    Sure, if you find webs decorating the lids of your plastic containers, wash them off, but really, that’s just cosmetic treatment. If some item is just crawling with them, throw it out.

    But if you can kill the active ones and interrupt their breeding cycle you’ll get rid of them whether you’ve scrubbed every surface in your house or not.

    Personally, I found a combination of dusting DE in the cracks and crevices of the cupboards, freezing some of the particularly attractive items (nuts, whole wheat flour, chocolate almond bars!), and the pheromone traps worked for me. I threw out only one small bag of almonds that was just too hideously webbed to look at and one tin of paprika likewise.

    I replace the pheromone traps every few months whether I see any moths or not, AND THEY ALWAYS CATCH A FEW EVENTUALLY, so whether these are new ones coming in from outside sources or a very low-grade continuing infestation, I don’t know, but for nearly two years so far, I’ve seen no new webbing in my various kinds of rice or spices that are in my cupboards, and no moths flying around.

    Be sure to follow the instructions on the traps about placement. More is not necessarily better. And it’s possible some populations of moths are resistant to some variations of the pheromones, so if one brand doesn’t work, maybe another will. The first one I tried was PestProfi, sold by “JustMary321” on Amazon and it worked for me.

  2. Thank you both. For the last 3 weekends, I’ve been cleaning and trying to find where the moths have been nesting and feeding.

    Yesterday I dusted diatomaceous earth in and around the food cupboards, the crown molding in most of the living room (that’s where I see them most), around the doors in the bedrooms, and a chair the little beasts were hiding in.

    I’ve seen a few moths this morning. I hope they’re just a couple of lucky survivors, but it is so discouraging to see any.

  3. That is so true — wiping off the webs is actually too late. You have to get to the source. I have always been reluctant to try the traps- thinking that they somehow attracted more moths from across the world to my kitchen! But it sounds like you have really nailed it to make sure you have it in the right locations. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing “bug free” air in your kitchen!

  4. I don’t know that there’s a way to attach a picture in here but I got something which I thought was equally as gross as pantry moths and I did not know what it was for several weeks turned out to be something called book lice. It is not something that gets on humans or in their hair but apparently likes dry things and that’s what was in my pantry pretty sure I brought it home from one of those bulk things at the grocery store and let it fester for quite some time in an old oatmeal container. Took me seven weeks to get rid of them all but I am finally able to look in my pantry again with a happy heart of course now everything I mean everything is in glass or plastic lived out of a bedroom because did not want anything else to get invested for all that time my husband thought I was nuts because they were so tiny he could barely see them unless I took a picture and magnified it. The struggle is real

  5. The moths are still here. This morning I killed a couple, a few more last night. Yesterday, I wiped about a dozen eggs off a wall–they weren’t even hiding in a crevice, just stuck on the wall. I’ve blown DE everywhere. All of the pet food and human food is either in the refrigerator or air tight containers so I don’t know what they’re feeding on. ARGH!

  6. LOL! Thank goodness for close-ups. Gives me a happy heart to think of seeing everything sealed up and tight — but be careful with plastic — they have a way of getting through! But at least you have DE…and that will definitely get rid of them.

  7. Hi Jill, You are on your way. The reason you are still seeing moths is because you are seeing newly hatched eggs. Remember our biology lesson about the life cycle of the moth. What you are seeing are “old” moths that just hatched and have not been wiped out yet. You’ll need to stay diligent until all the previous eggs have hatched — and once they do, you will be ready with your DE! This is why it’s best to keep the DE lying around for several months — maybe up to a year, to completely eliminate them, as new moths hatch.

  8. DE is still in place and I see and (try to) kill 2 or 3 moths a day. This morning I replaced all of the traps I put out in April and they were disgustingly full. Sigh. At this point, I’m just resigned to having the little monsters around unless I move out of this house and leave all of my belongings behind.

  9. Omg. I had them bad last summer the same time I wiped down all my new cabinets threw out everything and I was fine until now again sane time August. Seems like their in my basement somewhere and I keep my dog food in my freezer. I’m going nuts. I now just killed 2 in my bathroom on 3rd floor. Am I bringing them upstairs from my clothes I wash in my basement it’s a town house Help it’s driving me Nuts. It was fine here until a week ago. Oh I don’t see them in my kitchen cabinets just in my basement & garage.

  10. I didn’t see it mentioned but DE is very dangerous when inhaled. Those little jagged creatures will wreck havoc on your lung tissue. While Food Grade DE is in fact safe to eat, it is never save to breath, so please be cautious and wear a mask while sprinkling that powder everywhere. I love DE and have used it for over 20 years.

  11. I have used DE, I have scrubbed, thrown out everything, bought glass containers and STILL they explode in summer. I am at my wits’ end. Seriously.

  12. We are remodeling our kitchen and have literally torn out everything! We have no pantry, no food, and it’s nothing but fresh new flooring and dry wall. Guess what? Still have pantry moths!! I have never been able to find the source. Even when I threw out all of our food, I never saw any larvae or webbing. I have cleaned out ever drawer, room and closet in the entire house and put DE everywhere. I am beside myself. The only thing I can think of is maybe they are living in the insulation in our attic??

  13. Sara, I have been dealing with the same problem for over 3 years 🙁 You will see I posted several times above. We have been living out of our refrigerator for the past 3 years, as I refuse to leave any food source out, even in air sealed tupperware as I’m too afraid to risk it. I have had three different exterminators visit our home (which is an attached home in NYC) and no one can find the source, the nests, eggs, etc. Everyone is baffled. They speculate that they could be in the walls or coming from an adjacent building. It’s so frustrating. I wish I had more helpful insight to share, but know that I am in the same boat.

  14. We have them living in our attic and the exterminator has no idea why they are there. They sometimes think that mice bring in food and that attracts the moths, but we set out traps and never caught any mice. I think I’m giving up!

  15. It’s hard to believe that anyone had actually successfully gotten rid of them. I can’t imagine what else we could possibly do.

  16. In addition to the diatomaceous earth, you might want to add small cups (mini muffin papers) with a mixture of boric acid and corn meal. I got rid of the moths using both the diatomaceous earth and the boric acid.

  17. I think I finally got rid of them! The hardest part for me, was finding the source! We have been remodeling our kitchen and tore out our entire pantry and got rid of all food, but still had moths. We finally got rid of our old appliances and viola – no sign of a song one I’m any traps for 4 days!! I don’t want to jinx myself, but I think we are done. They must have been nesting in the vent to the stove or fridge or something.

  18. Sara, this is super helpful! I suppose my husband and I will now need to explore the vents of the appliances. This is so crazy.

  19. I’m definitely still looking over my shoulder, but still nothing in the traps again this morning. I hope you find the source too Lindsey. It’s so frustrating!!

  20. Does anyone have any advice for how to get behind the cabinets? We have a space between the walls and cabinets and I am sure there are some back there… can I get back there??? THANKS!

  21. I am currently living in pantry moth hell. However, I think I found the origins of the infestations…the fridge. I wanted share for those that are being driven insane, just in case. I spent 14 hours today dismantling everything and scrubbing with a sponge and toothbrush. Additionally, I have found hundreds of larvae and pupae in the dowel-rod holes in the main pantry cabinets and underneath the knobs of the cooking range. I have spent countless hours playing “operation” with needle nose computer tweezers…I can’t believe this is my life now. Happy insect stalking and killing to all!

  22. Kelly, where in the fridge did you find them? I ask because we have been living exclusively out of our fridge for over 2 years (because we think this is the only safe place for our food where these damn things can’t access), but yet we still have them. We have never seen a moth in the fridge, but I wonder if you mean that you found them nesting in an exterior area of the fridge? In regards to the cooking range, did you have to actually remove the knobs to find them? Sorry for all the questions, just trying to to gather insight anywhere I can 🙂

  23. Lindsay,

    I found eggs and pupae everywhere in the fridge. They were in every crevice and my fridge has a ton. They ended up in all of the food. When I examined everything closely, I ended up having to throw everything out. They are so much harder to see and notice in fridge foods, but I even found eggs in olive juice. I didn’t see any actual moths until the very bottom there were a few dead ones completely hidden. I had never seen a moth in there either, but the moths would have had countless hours to reek havoc in the dark. My gas range is set-in to counter and the knobs were easily removable.

  24. OH gosh, that sounds awful! So they were definitely in the interior of your refrigerator. Wow, I hope I would have noticed this by now if this was our case. Will do a full inspection when I get home.

  25. Is there any way you can use a duster to sprinkle the DE in the gaps?… Or at least around a point of entry so that it can drop on them while they’re trying to get in there?

  26. My stomach is in knots. I don’t want any food in my house right now. I heard they can even get into spices. I think I may just get rid of EVERYTHING and eat out (using coupons) for a month. Even if I have to buy a ready to eat salad in a dish at the grocery store and eat it outside of my house, I will do it. I’m upset with all the things I’m going to have to throw out. I’ve already spent so much money on traps, oils, cedar products and discarded food. This is literally going to cost me $1,000.

  27. I’m glad this worked for you. We have not been able to get rid of these moths. We’ve had these moths in our house for the past 13 years. About 10 years ago we had a house fire which completely destroyed the entire house. It took about a year to rebuild the house. Not only did the moths survive the fire, but they are still with us to this day. They must be in the foundation or something, as not even a house fire removed these moths. Removing the traps made the situation worse. So now we average about 20 pantry traps throughout the house and attic and change them on a monthly basis, usually accumulating around 30-50 moths each. Have gone through all the steps to get rid of them. Two “major” exterminator treatments yielded no results. Now we’ve just come to terms as they are here to stay. Hopefully one day once they eat through the insulation or whatever they are surviving on is gone, these moths will leave. Going to try and fumigate the whole house with this Diatomaceous Earth that you’ve suggested and see if that works.

  28. I live on a mobile home and I rip carpets up and they are coming up through my sub floors . All cupboard have a cork shelf and they have ate all varnish off , seen them eat wood , drywall . I thought I had beetle borers but it’s moths . They are in insulation underneath and coming up through wood . No one believes me I have puctures , bugs and all . It has been a living nightmare. My kids want to admit me . I have thrown away food three times . Mine is white shoulder pantry moth . I am living out totes and bags , they ate my furniture, rugs and they are infesting my cats fur . Daily my cat has eggs under him where they are eat fur and lay eggs . Loose my hair . This has been going on months . Had two exterminators here and they don’t think it nothing . Found the pupa in couch with a lot larva . New couch ate up too . I’m ready to leave my home , and everything I had my whole life . I haven’t slept , lost so much weight . Tjis is a living hell . My floors are coming through cause had some moisture from flood and they just meet surfacing out of the wood . I got hundreds pictures . All I can do is cry anymore . Haven’t seen my kids or grand child because I’m constantly cleaning and upset over this . Quit pay bills because I spent so much in this . It’s pure hell daily . Excuse my language. I never seen mine eat wood. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  29. It is hell! I’ve tried everything! I have become a “stalker” myself…arrgghgg. The fact that I have 8 very messy parrots at home sure doesn’t help. I have found these little demons in electronics, CDs, books, you name it. Omg they are have me in a psych ward! The electronic zappers don’t work do they???

  30. Just curious do any of you get delivery from Amazon or other sources, I get dog food from target and I get DD coffee from Staples. My suspicion has it they are coming in with my deliveries. I cleaned out my pantry threw out everything. Cleaned etc. and bought the traps. I was good for 4 months, not any in the traps, none flying around, etc. and then bam! They are back even in in bags that do not have food in them (I store food coloring, muffin liners etc. in baggies). I order lots from the Amazon company including storage bags (their name Solimo specifically) I wonder if they are in the bags already . Just curious if anyone else has their suspicions.

  31. Hi I have a question I keep reading stores about how bad the infestation is and how hard is to get rid of this pantry moths but I found out I had
    them after I saw a larva walking on my counter and I recalled seeing one flying around a couple moths ago so immediately I dump everything from my cabinets even cans literally I left it empty only salt , wipe down everything in my kitchen with bleach and soup sprayed peppermint oil everywhere and DE, use the moths tramps and keep my food in the fridge, avoid to buy grains and flours if I do I buy it for one use or dump the rest since then I haven’t see one in months. My question is am I so naive to think I get rid of them so easy? How 75% or more of comments online say even with all those steps moths still coming. Plus I dont understand how people dont realize of an infestation earlier I think.the key is to be persistent and dont skip any step

  32. Do you know if pantry moths eats pinecones or are attract to it because you have a picture in your website of moths and pinecones. I wonder because now is the season and I have a bunch in my house.

  33. Well i took everything out multiple times. Checked all the food and threw out anything suspicious. A few plastic plugs fell out that hold the shelves. Inside everyone was larvae. So not only check food but any hole in the pantry check with fine tweezers and remove larvae.

  34. One of pantry moth’s secret hiding spaces is the bottom of your toaster or toaster oven. Another is in the air intakes on a microwave oven. I’ve fought them with DE for years. I have discovered that they often come in on the packaging of new items from the big box grocery store, so keeping DE on surfaces in cupboards and under counters is necessary at all times.

  35. It has been more than a year since I began Operation Pantry Moth. Over the winter, I didn’t see any and the traps were empty. You know where this is going, right?

    Yes, the traps are full and I’m seeing a couple live moths every day. The best that can be said is that, right now, it isn’t as bad as it was last year at this time. I’ve been replacing the traps every couple of months and this weekend is the next time.

    Reading everyone’s stories I feel simultaneously defeated and comforted. The little nightmares are still here but at least others share my pain.

  36. I found this thread because I all of the sudden have pantry moths. I had never heard of them. So far I have only seen them in the pantry. I put out the traps and they have caught a few. I need to take everything out of my pantry and clean everything. Any suggestions of what to store cereals and crackers and other pantry items in?

  37. Just saw a moth in our living room the other day which begins year three for us. We seem to have eliminated them from the kitchen and work hard to keep any temptations out – all food in refrigerator or freezer, etc.

    Year two was the same for us – mostly seeing them in the living room. So we took the room apart including cutting open our sofas where we found many dead adults living in the insulation. We emptied the room completely throwing everything away including the couches, carpet, etc. We sprinkled DE inside the fireplace and around the perimeter. Other than in the pantry when they first appeared, we have never seen an egg or larvae so we have no idea were the devils are living. I suspect it may be inside the walls.

    Last year we released thousands of trichogramma wasps in our house as they are supposed to eat the eggs of the moths. We never saw more than two or three moths in a day and usually less so perhaps the moths did their job, at least partially. The problem is, the wasps don’t fly very far and if they are inside the walls, I don’t know where to put the wasp eggs…

    Question – does anyone know if tenting your house would work? I live in Ohio and it is not very common to do this so it is very pricey. The exterminator that I spoke with doesn’t know the answer.

    Jim – your story might be the most depressing of all. I can’t believe they survived a house fire!! If they could survive the heat of the fire, I’m guessing tenting the little devils might not do the job.

    Geovanna – I believe our PM problem got out of control for two reasons. When they first emerged (from a large, unopened bag of rice) we were on vacation. Came home to find the buggers flying around our kitchen but didn’t realize what they were for a couple of days. At that point I through everything away and cleaned the kitchen like a mad woman. However, we moved the PM trap out to the front room to keep them out of the kitchen while I cleaned. I think this was a big mistake as once they left the kitchen I was screwed.

  38. Hi, I have pantry month for over 7 months now, I have tried everything I read, honestly everything: traps, DE, pepermint , cedar lavander scents, the tinny wasps, electric bug zapper, also I went nuclear using Pyrethrum spray, moth balls , moth spray and fogg bombs ( I used this quemicals went i went to vacation for 3 weeks the house was empty for 21 days when I came back i remove
    the moths balls and washe everything completely) guess what nope they were even more than before I keep all my food in my fridge and freezer even the salt, only oil is in my pantry. By now I realize I can’t
    do nothing else and I have been very persistent i didn’t use any method one time I have been using all of the above all the time including the wasps, one think that I stop using is the scent oils , I used to spray pepermint like a maniac on my cabinet and found flying moths landing on top i never understood what is supposed to repeal the larva or adult moths, it may work to prevent it but when you have them the scents are useless and also scents are expensive don’t waste your money. I have cleaned my house completely i went through every part at a time under sofas open up, check for crumbs inside, I went through every corner I found at times pieces of candy , chips, crumbs that were scattered around the house. I sprinkled DE everywhere in my house, I havent found any reliable source if the DE works on worms its recommended for the seller on insects bug when I reached out to sellers they avoid answering my quesion and they said its recomend for what the package said. And the package name every insect but pantry monts or any months larva. I never have a answear what is the DE effect with pantry month larva. I wonder now it is suppose to dry the shells insects but not larva . At one point I have the impression that the larva feeds from the powder.

    My biggest mistake was to remove the food from the pantry. They moved now to every where in the house. I should have left food in the pantry with glue traps and the moths traps and kill them all there before they move to other places.

  39. Does anybody know if is safe to keep food in the fridge? Freezers are small so I keep bread, cakes, chips in there.
    What the pepermint scent repel the larva or adult?
    Somebody have a scientific or reliable source that DE kill the larva? DE seller mentions that it dries the inscets with shell but what about worns, larva. The label warn that it has to be dried so how it kills parasites if you eat it and it will get wet in your system?

  40. SHEILA – What do you mean with ” we took the room apart including cutting open our sofas where we found many dead adults living in the insulation.” ? They feed from Insulation too?

  41. Geovanna,

    We don’t know if there was a piece of food inside the couch that the vacuum couldn’t get to that they originally found, but every time we noticed a pattern. Every time we vacuumed the couch we would see a moth or two flying around. We noticed this in the fall one year and when the moths came back in the spring, we carried the couches outside and sliced into the back and the insulation had bunches of dead adults inside. From there, we tore the whole room apart.

    But FYI we saw the one moth this spring right before I posted but haven’t seen another since. I did purchase more trichogramma wasps and haven’t put a trap out (we are convinced the traps were drawing them in from the outside) so fingers crossed the wasps are doing their thing!

    Good luck!

  42. This is the only website that had helped me from wanting to check myself into a psych ward over the invasion of pantry moths. It’s extremely defeating. I’ve been experiencing them since August last year. Just when you think you got them all, they seem to come back ten fold a few months later. I believe they originally came in on my dogs food that gets ordered from Chewy. Although after all this time, I have yet to find the source of where they are feeding even after doing a vinegar wipe down in all my cabinets and inspecting all food sources. I can’t find anything other than the moths I have trapped in a the Dr. Killigans trap (has worked better than the terro brand) and a few flying around usually at night to the lights on in the house. I have also dusted the cabinets with diatomaceous food grade earth, bay leaves and peppermint essential oils.

  43. I feel relieved to know Im not the only one. We noticed moths around March when we started sheltering at home. Then I’d notice the larvae and we would kill that and also the occasional moth. We’ve gone through our pantry looking for webbing and larvae. I’ve taken everything out of my closet, cleaned and vacuumed. I think these are indian meal moths as they’re brown and some have a stripe – but they are also primarily in the bedroom. I used to notice more in the living room, entry way. Purchased pheromone traps and the one in my bedroom has 8 and closet 1. At my wits end as I cant find the source….and I hate bugs of any kind. Will try the DE next.

  44. I am so glad I found this Panty Moth Anonymous group. Here is my pantry moth story.
    I inherited a house my grandpa rented out last year and the renters moved out. In May we noticed the moths in the kitchen and living room. The tenants were messy people so wasn’t surprised. I never knew anything about panty moths but after reading up on them, I of course deep cleaned the cabinets and kitchen THREE TIMES with hot water, soap, bleach, and after I doused it all in vinegar and mint oil. I think the previous tenants had infestation in their food, and didn’t throw it away until they moved. I found a couple of the cocoon things in the corners and literally went into all the corners and grooves of the cabinet with pins and toothpicks. This helped. I thought “ok the food source is gone, once the eggs hatch there will be nothing to feed them”, but you know the story.. they came back.
    We built a bathroom cabinet and only a week later, we saw a few dead moths in the cabinet which is on the other side of the house. This was in June.
    The one thing I believe we did correct was clean like a crazy person the second we noticed the problem. We moved in on May and it’s almost September.
    In July I noticed the only moths we saw were by the fireplace. Since the Killigans traps were empty in all other parts of the house including kitchen and saw a decrease in adults flying around, I moved the trap into fireplace and oh my god, it was full of moths in no time. The fireplace has no cover/door and we are going to hire a chimney sweep to clean the chimney. Luckily, I haven’t seen any around the house other than by the fireplace. I don’t know what they are feeding on. Comments say critters bring in seeds and nuts that attract them. I know the neighborhood has squirrels, but we live in suburban Bay Area, I’ve never seen a bat in my life. We haven’t seen any mice either. Other than occasional pincher bugs and spiders, no bugs other than moths. I’m thinking maybe a bird nest of some kind in chimney. We don’t hear any noises or critters or birds, no evidence of raccoons or anything. I really am praying the chimney sweep will contain this once and for all. The summers last long where I live, it doesn’t get cold until November. So the fact that I’m not seeing as much is giving me some peace.

    Question: I’ve never actually seen a living larvae. I don’t have a lot of food in pantry, I spent alotof money On OXO brand thick airtight plastic containers for anything I put in the cabinet. Can u see them when u open up flour or grains? I haven’t seen the webbing either. Is this good? I am hoping the moths we are seeing are leftover eggs and pupa from before.

  45. HI all! Glad to have found you!
    I read every post here and have a long-ish story to share about a massive moth infestation I had at my last apartment BUT now, in my new place, after 2 quiet years I’m getting moths again. I can’t find them, my sticky traps are full and I dont see ANY flying around. They are both clothes and food moths. I have nothing in the kitchen they can eat. I am unpacking, and looking at every. single. thing. carefully for larva or webs and – nothing. Due to my last infestation I am freaked out about moths. Anyway…let me back up.

    My last place got moths from a big double box of cereal bought at Sam’s Club. I saw a moth here and there flying in front of the TV at night, then 3, then 8 and it finally hit me “I had moths”. I opened up the box and it was moths. no cereal – just moths. They were lining the cabinet so badly I froze for a second, not understanding why/what/how the SIDES were moving. Anyway. OMG. Horror movie stuff. I was moving in 5 months and it got worse and worse and worse in spite of traps, cleaning and getting medieval on them. I moved out still having them flying around but the building was sold so I opened a few windows and fled. However – I bring this up because I read how many can’t find where the heck these things are. Longer story short – I ended up throwing out about 70% of my clothes, 80% of my beloved books, and a lot of other things. They were in closed closets, on rugs along the baseboards. I wanted to suggest places to look for larva and webs that I came across. (This was the easy part – the ones I have now are seriously NO WHERE to be found. They just appear en mass in my traps and I catch a glint out of the corner of my eye sometimes as one flits away) My Apocalyptic Infestatio

    I found a lot of webs/cocoons / etc in the spines of books – between the back and the bowed paper sewn thing the paper is attached to. They LOVE glue.

    In the kitchen cabinets I found a TON in the holes that you put the pegs in to adjust the shelves and also the crevices in the hinges of the doors. As someone above said, I had to go in there with a Q-Tip and poke them out. Thousands.

    Also check behind hanging pictures, posters, decorations, hooks-on-wood. Also along the baseboards especially if you have carpet.

    A product I didn’t see mentioned here that is a miracle worker is something called “Home Defense” by Ortho. There’s another brand I can’t think of that’s similar stuff, too (I get mine on Amazon or Home Depot, or home stores or hardware stores) I have very severe lung damage and while I did use Diatamaceous Earth – however you spell that! – I was very worried about breathing it in. And I have 2 cats and this stuff is Deadly to animals. Not right away, but it is bad, bad, for lungs (kids, too!) You can use D.E. to dust under carpets or even dust onto books, (my recipe books were hammered!) or inside cabinets. It looks like a fine powder but this stuff is little knives, razor sharp.

    Anyway, the Home Defense is micro-milled boric acid and a very small amount of chemical. It is 100% safe for pets, kids, and humans. This does the same as the D.E. in that it scrapes and cuts the coating of insects and they die of dehydration. The chemical in it kills them even faster and also kills 130 types of bugs, spiders, centipedes, roaches, and more. I wish I could put this stuff in a tanker, get a fire hose, and hot every inch of this place!

    This will save you a LOT of work, is my point, because you can spray it along any seam in any cabinet, spray it INTO holes (it will kill moths and eggs without even bothering, you just have to clean it up) Spray along baseboards and get this liquid under and into the wall. Put it on the walls and it’ll dry. It lasts a year but I repeat every season. I was using it on a rag and wiping off my books, LPs (yeah I’m old… :)) CDs, purses, canisters, you name it. Spraying it on anything is safe.

    So that was that and I wish moths on no one.

    Recently, like the last month, suddenly there are pantry and clothes moths in here. I have torn the place apart and see nothing indicating moths. My upstairs neighbor, who is a nice guy but a perpetually stoned, 6-8 year old hippie Dead Head who is often incoherent was telling me that “One year we have ants, the next year we get over run with centipedes, then it’ll be moths….” and I interrupted him to tell him my Moth Horror Story. This is a 100- year old apartment building and I don’t know if they can live in walls, or the big tree outside or what. I never have windows open because I live on a main street and it’s too loud. My cats helpfully just sit there and look up, at seemingly nothing, like in “Poltergeist” and it creeps me out. I see nothing or a flutter of something like a dust mote. I never see a moth. If I do it’s a tiny golden thing but I have Dr. Killigan’s moth traps on every wall, every hallway (they are TOPS) and they get 5-15 moths a DAY. I have steam cleaned the floors. I’m out of ideas.

    I have a Shark brand steam cleaner, like a stick vacuum thing, and I suggest that heartily. It is cheap and cleans and disinfects on a good day but it is tops for blasting steam into floor crevices, under the baseboard/floor gap, into the under the counter cracks, I even use it on my couch. This will kill bugs and eggs and moths. And most else.

    Sorry to be long winded. I found you trying to figure out why oh why can’t I find these months. I have caught probably 400 in the last month and a half in the traps. They are mostly in the traps outside my bathroom door and hallway door. Some rooms have only 2 or 3 – these fuller traps have 20 a day. It’s just weird.

    Hang in there…and don’t bother with the lavender oils and “smell” stuff. It’s a deterrent, and only if they smell it and it’s enough to bother them. They just go elsewhere, it’s not killing them or chasing them off.

    Good luck
    Wash your hands like you’re washing Jason Momoa! 🙂

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