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Pantry moths in the kitchen? How can you get rid of them?

Indian meal moth (pantry moth) and caterpillars

Have you seen some small moths flying around your kitchen? Maybe you’ve found some strange webbing or even caterpillars in your dried food stuffs? It’s not a surprise – late summer and autumn is peak pantry moth season. Here’s what you need to know…

How do you know you have pantry moths?

The early sign of a pantry moth infestation is the appearance of small moths in the house, particularly around the kitchen. Pantry moths aren’t particularly good flyers and tend to be more active at dusk and night. There are actually a number of species of pantry moths, with perhaps the most common species being the Indian meal moth.

Indian meal moth, a common pantry moth
Indian meal moth - a common pantry moth

It’s the caterpillars rather than the adult moths that attack your food. The caterpillars will attack a wide range of dry food stuffs including breakfast cereals, rice, pasta, biscuits, dried fruit, nuts, species and cocoa. If you spot “webbing” on the surface of the food or “tracks” in powdered food, it’s a sure sign you’ve got a problem!

Indian meal moth (pantry moth) and caterpillars
Indian meal moth and caterpillars in cashew nuts

How can I get rid of pantry moths?

The first step is to identify and dispose of all infested food. Be thorough, even check closed containers – the caterpillars can even crawl around the screw thread on lids! (Don’t forget to check the pet food).

The second step is to treat the surfaces food storage areas to kill any returning adult moths, the eggs they lay and any emerging caterpillars. AllPro Pest Control use specialised surface sprays which are designed to be safely used in food storage areas.

How can I prevent a pantry moth infestation?

Storage of food in tightly sealed plastic containers will prevent access to the various food sources. The caterpillars are capable of chewing through unopened packets and are masters at squeezing through the smallest of openings – so the containers must have tight fitting lids.

Sticky traps with pheromone attractants are a good option to place in food cupboards. Not only will they intercept any adult moths, they give you a good early warning of a potential problem. Our AllPro technicians can provide more information on these sticky traps.

A professional moth treatment…

A comprehensive pantry moth treatment from AllPro Pest Control will involve the investigation work to determine the source of the infestation as well as a treatment of food storage areas to prevent re-infestation.

If you’re struggling with pantry moths of any other stored food pests (such as flour beetles or weevils) please give AllPro a call. 07 3446 5841