Pantry moths and their larvae are intrusive pests that can get into your food. These moths, including the common Indian meal moth species, infest grain products like cereals, but can also be found among dried fruits, nuts, seeds, and spices. Control an infestation and avoid food contamination with our pantry moth control products.
Indian meal moths are the most common pantry moth pests. They infest grain products, commonly cereals and whole grains, but also dried fruits, nuts seeds, spices, and even pet foods. The larvae of this moth develop in the chosen food source, and in optimal conditions take about a month to fully develop and pupate into adult moths. The larvae grow up to 2/3 of an inch and are mostly a cream color, with tones of pink or yellowish green and have a dark brown head. The adult moths are small, about 3/8 of an inch long and dull brown in color with a brown pattern on wings. Adults only live about one week and fly about erratically to find a place to lay eggs.
Pantry Moth Damage
Pantry moth larvae are the destructive stage of this insect. They feed on almost any stored, grain or nut based products, as well as dried foods such as fruit, herbs, and seeds. In large containers, the larvae will only feed on the surface of the product. However, in small containers they can be found throughout the product. The caterpillars produce silk when they feed on the products, binding food pieces. This silk is a good visual cue to diagnose a pantry moth infestation. The feeding can impart an off odor, color, or taste to the food, as well as dead insects, eggs, and insect parts. The adult female can lay up to 200 eggs at once, so if there is plenty of food present, your stores can quickly become contaminated.
Using plain sticky pantry moth traps in can help monitor for moths and other pantry pests and allows you to control the infestation immediately. This is one of the main reasons why we include a pack of six sticky moth traps in our pantry pest kit.
Pheromone Pantry Moth Traps
Pheromone pantry moth traps are also common and popular for pantry moth control. They use a pheromone lure to draw one sex of the species to the trap, which has a sticky surface, with the goal to disrupt the mating cycle and eliminate the population. We recommend ProPest Pheronet Pantry Pest Traps.
In addition to pantry moth traps and sprays, there are several other products and methods that can be used for pantry moth control. Another great set of tools that can be used to control pantry moths are called Nuvan ProStrips. The Nuvan ProStrips will slowly release a vapor that will kill insects in an enclosed space (like a pantry) for up to four months.
How to Kill Pantry Moths – Methods to Use with Control Products
The following methods should be used along with control products to keep pantry moths out of the kitchen:
Find and remove all infested food products. Since this type of pantry pest can infest a wide range of stored foods, you will have to inspect all dry goods in your pantry to make sure. Pay attention to any items that have been in your cupboard or pantry the longest, as older items are more prone to infestations.
Don’t forget to clean out, vacuum, and wipe down all cabinets and food storage areas because the larvae can subsist on just remnants of food products.
You can choose to use extreme temperatures to treat your products, especially if a particularly large store is infested. Heating food products up to 120 to 140 degrees for about 40 minutes or freezing for a few days will kill eggs and larvae in the food products. However, the larvae and eggs will still be present and you will have to remove them from the products.
The key in getting rid of pantry moths is to make sure they are completely denied access to any food source. The goal is to break the reproductive cycle, not allowing the larvae to develop into adults.
Even if you get rid of and clean up all food sources, there may be eggs or larvae in the area. Store all food in very tightly sealed, robust containers, preferably metal or hard plastic with airtight seals. Avoid anything made out of thin flexible plastic and cardboard.
To prevent any re-infestations, inspect new grain-based or dried food products, especially when purchasing these items in bulk.
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