Moths in my food cupboards

KimSeptember 5, 2001

I am so glad I found this site it has given me a lot of good info; We are having a BIG moth problem and they are all over my house they started in the kicthen and ventured out to the Living Room and now they are upstairs, I had a bag of walnuts that started they problem but that was 6 months ago, everyone says to throw away the food and go shopping daily but thats not possible I have 4 kids to feed and its costing me a fourtain to toss so much food but the only good thing is that at least food doesn't last long here. I had a extermantor here yesterday and he sat out traps that hang from the ceiling and have something in them that attracts the little pest The man says it will take about a month but it will work I can be patient they have been here so long already whats another month RIGHT...

They do not infest my food to much anymore but the extermantor says they can get attracted to lots of other things like oatmeal bath or even the dust on the walls...

I use to only see 2 or 3 aday flying around the house but since the traps have been up in just 8 hours there were at least 20 in each trap there are 2traps in my house 1 upstairs and 1 downstairs.So it seems to be working I never thought I had that many little buggers in my house and it is better then spraying all the time with all the babies...

The traps are called Allure and ask a extermantor about them only cost us about $50.00 for both traps. But I am going to try someother things too.. Good luck to everyone Happy Hunting for those little buggers... I forgot to tell you they are Indain Meal Moths and no they won't bother your clothes..

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Are they little off-white moths? We got those one time in a cereal box and had to throw away everything with the moths & put everything else that wasn't canned in the fridge or freezer. They even got in an unopened jar of peanut butter. Yuck! But after we did that, cleaned really well, & sprayed the cabinets, we never had another problem. Another thing, when I go shopping, if I see those little moths flying around in an aisle, I turn around and LEAVE without buying anything.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2001 at 10:03PM
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Put everything in a container. I had the same problem. Just ensure if the food doesn't come in an air tight plastic bag, that you ziploc it or put it in a jar, canning jar, or plastic jar. This way you will keep whatever you are bringing home in the jar or anything in your home out of the jar.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2001 at 10:52PM
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Well, the ones I had could get into a zip lock and a jar. They didn't get into plastic bags that were factory sealed, but ONLY if they really were sealed all around. There was one cereal box - unopened - that had just a tiny place that wasn't sealed up and they got in it.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2001 at 9:54AM
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Here's a picture of the little buggers:

The one's I have seem to have a little less color.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2001 at 9:51PM
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I can't believe how often this problem comes up. Buy dried bay leaves at a bulk food store. Put them in little mesh bags and put the bags in your dog food bag, your pantry, your 25# flour sack and any other place where you see these moths. You will find them GONE immediately. I use pantyhose to make my little bags.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2001 at 10:02PM
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I bought some of these traps at the hardware store for 6.00 each--I change them as needed and havent seen any bugs for a while

    Bookmark   September 22, 2001 at 6:57PM
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I, too, had a tremendous moth problem. We emptied our
entire pantry and checked every package, washed the shelves
and cans, and replaced much of the food into glass or plastic storage containers. Then we spread crumbled bay
leaves over the shelf. We had to do this three times.

Then, one day I looked up to the ceiling of my pantry and saw at least 100 tiny moths. I got my Makita wand type
vacuum and sucked the little critters up. I did this for
at least twice a day for 2 weeks. Now I see maybe 3 a day
and suck them up into my trusty wand.

I also found a wonderful aid. Fly traps by Aeroxon. They cost only 97 cents for 4. They are packaged in small
disks which you open while you gently twirl to open out the
sticky tape. This type is the best I've seen and also cheaper. I tried another kind, but it had no cap on the
bottom so sticky stuff, really stick stuff!, continually
dripped onto the floor and shelves. These trapped at least
a zillion moths for me!
Hope these suggestions work for you, as well.


    Bookmark   September 30, 2001 at 7:15PM
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I've been getting them for a few months now. I live in Sydney (Australia) which, being hot for quite a bit of the year, made me assume they were local pests - just part of living in a mostly very warm climate. But I found this forum and found I'm not the only person who's got them!!

I have done all the cleaning etc as well but they come pretty quickly (since they actually never go away due to the eggs, larvae and pupae being so difficult to kill).
I had another cleanup today of my food cupboards and found a bag of opened muesli (sealed with a twist-tie) which was completely infested. I also found them in a mixed nuts and grains snack I eat (in an air-tight plastic container!!), in an opened bag of brown rice and even a larvae in a box of peppermint tea (who says they don't like mint?!).

I don't know if we get the same traps etc in Australia but I am going to find out tomorrow! In the meantime I have spread dried bay leaves around in my food cupboards... does anyone have any specific recommendations for what type of bay leaves to use - I guessed dried are the only sort anyway! Do they need to be cumbled etc? I don't want to have to muck around making mesh bags etc - is this really necessary or should the bay leaves just get rid of them anyway?

Well, I'll see how the bayleaves go and probably get some traps as well... little b*ggers are driving me nuts!!!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2002 at 3:06AM
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The larva are in the food when you buy it and they become mature moths in your home.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2002 at 5:29PM
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I just ordered a Pantry Moth Trap from Solutions Catalog...haven't gotten it yet but hope it will work. They can be contacted at or 1-800-342-9988. Product #64650 for Pantry Moth Trap, pkg of 2 traps ($8 ea or 2 or more pkgs for $7.50 ea). I hope it works! Good luck to all!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2002 at 10:35AM
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Snickerslady, I tried Pantry Moth traps when my duplex was infested. They worked for a while, but then I noticed that the packaging of the traps was different. And the product wasn't as effective. I switched to the (not as attractive) sticky tape traps that Nita mentioned. They worked better than Pantry Moth traps.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2002 at 2:24PM
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I know what you have. I'm having the same problem in my house. They are called Indianmeal moth or something like that. The traps the exterminator set up contain pheromones that attract the adult moths. Just so you know the moths in there early stages are not moths at all but maggot like creatures. They are pretty nasty. Look at my post entilted "My house in infested" I have some links to the pic I posted of these little critters.

I was searching online on how to get rid of them. They say to put flour, grain, rice and those type of food in airtight containers and to seek out where the contaminated food supply is and get rid of it. Good luck on getting them out of your house.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2002 at 8:21AM
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Roberta is right, the bay leaves work. Stick them right inside the flour, rice, etc. It will keep new moths from getting in and laying eggs. I've never had a problem.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2002 at 8:02PM
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My little buggers came in a paper bag of bird seed that I used to keep inside- moved that outside, of course! I did the same thing the others did - put grains, cereals in airtight plastic containers, Pantry moth traps worked pretty well for me. A few different suggestions- instead of spreading bay leaves, I emptied the cupboard and sprayed with a cedar spray that I bought at the Container Store. People think of cedar only to use in clothes closet, but it seemed to work in my pantry, too. And since I knew the site of the infestation (the bag of bird seed in the corner), I could watch out for the larvae in that area and try to nab them. It's in the larval stage that the critters do the damage - munching on food, etc. The adults flying around are just interested in mating. Killing them won't stop current damage, but of course it will keep the next generation from chomping on your food. One last preventive suggestion - don't buy bird seed in big paper bags, only in plastic containers! Or at least keep it outside in a big airtight garbage can.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2002 at 11:25AM
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I just found a nest of them in my garage - in a big 50 pound plastic bag of birdseed. Guess the paper bag isn't the issue! I got rid of the seed immediately. Next purchase of seed will include an airtight metal can in which to store it.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2002 at 4:25PM
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Geoff - no fun! My local hardware store stopped selling bird seed in paper bags because they had an infestation of their store, but I'd better warn them that they're not secure with plastic, either. Maybe all bird seed is vulnerable from the time of packaging?

My current bird seed might have the larva in it still, but I just put it in the metal garbage can (raccoons around here will chew through Rubbermaid, etc.) with lots of bungy cords to keep out critters. I don't really care if baby moths are in there, as long as they don't get in my house. I think your garage will be safe as long as they're trapped in the can. Good luck and thanks for feeding the birds.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2002 at 12:44AM
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We got some moths in a standing cupboard pantry. I wiped with a bleach solution and tossed everything (they laid eggs under the rims of jars) and wiped and wiped and Ziplocked everthing in site and still the problem persisted. After months of this routine, I finally became so frustrated that I got a crow bar and took the top part of the cupboard apart. They had laid eggs in between the boards. There was absolutely no way that I could see it without ripping the whole thing apart. It was ugly. The moths are gone now and the cupboard is almost back to its former self. Sometimes tossing everything just doesn't fix it.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2002 at 5:22PM
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OK, people here's the deal.. The moths are the end stage of the eggs that have been laid on grain or seed products. they survive most procesing, so if a product gets to be old enough, they hatch. Ever see that little stringy stuff in a bag of flour or bisket mix... larvae tracings. Any good grain food left alone long enough will develop them. Fresh seed products, like bird seed will have them show up faster. Easiest remedy? put all starch containing items, (flour, biscuit mix, cereal, etc ) in the freezer. Short term freezing kills the eggs, and you have no moths. downside is that freezing induces moisture into the product, and shelf life after thawing is reduced... to about 2 weeks after thawing. The other is an upside to having moths and that is that they are harmless, a part of nature, and will only exist in GOOD food. I will not contaminate my house with chemicals to get rid of a few harmless moths, their larvae or eggs...
We have become so afraid of the things that exist in nature, that we recoil at naturally occuring life. Get over it, I am a lot more concerned about the chemicals in my water and pesticides on my food than a few LIVING moths...think about it.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2002 at 10:22PM
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You should try this :
As soon as you bring home any Nuts,seeds,grain products,or dried pastas empty them into a microwave safe bowl, put them in the microwave, nuke it for 30 seconds on high,then give them a stir,and do it again for 20 seconds more.
Then let it cool to room temp. this will not effect the food,But it will kill the little buggers. store in air tight containers.
I always cut the labels out ,& the instructions & put in container too.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 10:42PM
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Ditto here. My infestation started w/ a bag of birdseed purchased at Walmart. I purchased the moth traps from Gardens Alive, went thru all of my food cupboards, pet food and threw out anything questionable. I cannot be more pleased with the traps and they were inexpensive. I am very very careful now and always check things before use and I try to avoid shopping at Walmart. I have seen the moths several times in the pet dept as well as in the food aisles. YUCK! PS: I read somewhere that they can chew threw plastic so may want to check that out before just using Ziplock bags to seal food with.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 12:33AM
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Yes, these pantry moths are very persistent at getting into where they want. Had an infestation and finally cleared it out.

Yes, very gross to have these things crawling in and around your food items.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 8:54AM
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Wow! It's been a while since someone has written about this problem, but here I am and I have those moths. I did have them once before about 15 or so years ago. Then I just threw everything out, especially the dog food that was mixed with rice.(The dog food people told us that was the culprit before). I really don't remember what else we did (a friend of mine was having the same problem.) except that I did buy a lot of tupperware to store my grains and flours and such. I am putting the bay leaves in the cupboards now and am also adding sticks of unwrapped spearment gum sticks as I heard that this also gets rid of the little creatures...we will see, I'll let you know and thank for your input.
P.S. I did find a bag of crushed walnuts on the top shelf of one of the cupboards and the bag was open. I also found the majority of the moths there and only in this section of the cupboards, but of course, all will get the wash down.:)

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 11:05PM
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    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 10:19AM
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I've had these. I use the sticky traps & I put anything I can in the freezer when I bring it home (flour, cereal, rice, etc.)

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 11:43AM
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Ten year old post. I didn't realize there were posts that old here.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 8:17AM
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I have NEVER had any luck with the bay leaves. Do people truly swear by this and have witnessed results or is it just something we've all heard about?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 10:12AM
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