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Thread: Pantry Moths

  1. #1
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    Default Pantry Moths

    I know this is long, but please.

    I saw a little moth in my spice cupboard and looked closer and found a couple of little larvae spun into cocoons on the back edge of the shelf. I took everything out and started cleaning and I found an old box of bread crumbs that was full of them. Of course I got rid of those and cleaned all the shelves and crooks and crannies with Soft Scrub with Bleach. I hoped the bleach would get rid of anything too small to see.

    I am now thinking this could turn into a nightmare of a battle. I read online that the larvae get in the threads of jars and I checked all of my spices and sure enough there were some. They really like cardboard boxes too.

    I read that they lay hundreds of eggs at a time. Okay the larvae I can see the eggs I can't see. Do I need to throw away all of my spices and cornstarch and other powders in that cupboard?

    I am going to have to take my whole kitchen apart and then the pantry. Ugh! A friend told me to put bay leaves in the cupboards and that would deter them. I don't have that many bay leaves but I do have a great big Rosemary bush in the back yard so I'm using that instead.

    If anyone has been through this and can offer me any advice, please.
    For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: Walk as children of light.

  2. #2
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    Nov 2007
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    Default

    Ok, first... you can win this.

    I don't keep ANY cardboard boxes in the pantry... I move anything that comes in a box (tapioca, cornstarch, etc) into a glass jar. No chance of pantry moths accessing them in there.

    If your food is secure, they can't survive (although they can live on VERY little, and I think do quite well just eating the glue out of the cardboard boxes!).

    If you're concerned that any particular product might be contaminated, dump it through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl... (obviously, this only works for fine stuff like flour, and ground grains). Coarser stuff like pasta or oatmeal can be visually inspected.

    Dump anything with larvae or moths, but don't throw anything out that's not visible contaminated.

    Then, get a couple pantry moth pest traps. Keep them out (they contain a lure that will bring any moths that manage to survive, or hatch later) for a few months (or always if you live in an area where these are major pests) and you should be fine.

    (oh- and one of the most common "reservoirs" for pantry moths is PET food! Make sure that's also secure...)

    Summerthyme

  3. #3
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    I live in the South and in the South we have bugs but I've never had them set up residence in the house before. And now that you mention it, in the last few weeks I put a new bag of kibble in the dog food bin in the kitchen, Sam's Club Exceed. I will get all of it out of the house too just in case that's it.

    I keep most everything in glass jars or tupperware but not cornstarch and baking soda and things like that, but I will from now on.

    I was really thinking that this was going to be incredibly horrible because I just found another moth in a sparkling clean cupboard.

    This will be a lesson well learned.

    Thank you Summerthyme
    For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: Walk as children of light.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Summerthyme View Post
    Then, get a couple pantry moth pest traps.
    (
    Summerthyme,

    Are these any different than the moth traps I find at the Ace Hardware and Lowes? They are fairly expensive for what you get. We have taken the hormone bait package out and applied it to a long fly strip to catch more moths for the money.

    What I really want to know is how to make the hormone bait at home. $5/ trap seems expensive to just catch a few moths and the short time for effective moth catching before the trap becomes ineffective.

    Or is this a case of your are going to pay the money whether you like it or not.
    Nessie and Bigfoot 2016. Change you can believe in.

  5. #5
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    Unfortunately, I don't know any way to make the hormone attractant!! However, it's likely possible to make your own "moth trap", although it may not get all of them- the hormone based traps really do suck them in like crazy.

    The problem is, the traps used by orchardists, etc (diluted molasses in water, in a deep container... moths are attracted, fly in, can't get out and then drown) also tend to attract fruit flies. Not really something you want in the house.

    Truthfully, if you're careful about not leaving food uncovered, and don't buy grain products at "scratch and dent" stores (the source of the only infestation I've ever had), if you're in the north, you should be able to keep pantry moths out. They must have a food source to reproduce. That means, though, keeping cardboard boxes out of the cupboards (because glue is food) or, at least, keeping them in sealed containers. (I don't buy a lot of boxed stuff, but do keep "quick" foods like dried potato mixes, and Zatarains rice mixes around. I don't keep them in the kitchen pantry- I store them in sealed rubbermaid bins in the cool basement.

    Twofold benefit- first, they store MUCH longer at 60° or lower than in the warm part of the house. And second, they're out of reach of any moths...

    Summerthyme

  6. #6
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    Jan 2009
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    I brought them home from the grocery store once. In baking chocolate, of all things. We have one grocery store here that I won't buy anything from other than canned goods because when you walk down most other aisles the darn things are flying around. I complained and the store mgr replied, "Well, this is Florida.". But our other supermarkets don't seem to have this problem.

    Long ago I learned to keep bay leaves scattered and to freeze everything for at least 3 days.

    I hope you get rid of the problem fast.

  7. #7
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    Long ago I learned to keep bay leaves scattered and to freeze everything for at least 3 days.
    Ah, yes... the OTHER part of the equation I forgot. (we really don't have a lot of problems with bugs up here, at least compared to the South)

    Putting any bulk grain products in the freezer for a few days (set it to 0°F if at all possible- we keep our chest freezers at minus 10 below 0° all the time) will kill any larvae and should kill off the eggs... but since we DO see grain moths in the barn around the grain cans (If I don't use DE on them... I cover all my grain cans (on the surface of the grain) with 1/2" DE when I'm stocking for the winter) it seems obvious that they CAN survive some freezing, at least.

    summerthyme

  8. #8
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    I had these about two years ago, and couldn't get rid of them. I bought the moth glue traps, but they didn't work at all. They ended up getting into all manner of dry goods I had stored, beans, rice, dryed peas, noodles... it put a dent in my preps. A few times I know they were in some rice products I cooked ( the larvae worms), I just boiled them with the rice and ate them...pretended it was dirty rice. I still have a five gallon pale filled with all those ruined items, figured I could at least cook portions to use as bait in live traps for raccoons and opossums in a shtf scenario... or even eat it myself if I get that hungry. I'll have to try the bay leave thing for the future, so thanks for the tip.

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patches View Post
    .... I am now thinking this could turn into a nightmare of a battle.
    Nah, just seems so at first. I had a similar experience a few years back .... I open a storage closet I seldom enter and a whole herd of these critters suddenly filled the house.

    It took a day or three but I carried my canister vacuum with me and gathered them all up .... so I thought. A day or so later .... another herd. I knocked over a carton of oatmeal while vacuuming. I picked it up and thought it seemed a bit light, so I took it outside and removed the lid and out flew a few hundred more.

    Check all your cardboard containers for what appear to be pinholes, thats where they're coming from. I'd consider pitching the rest of the same product that might have some age to it .... happy hunting.

    O.W.
    Things are seldom as they seem.

    Where in the world is Ian Burke? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnKLEOXenow

  10. #10
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    Oh, they can also "drill" their way through lightweight plastic items... like the canisters Koolaid comes in? Perry (OFuzzy1 from TB2k) taught me that one... he learned it the hard way. Apparently, Florida is a mecca for those kinds of critturs.

    That's one major reason why I have an eclectic collection of large (gallon size) glass and acrylic canisters and jars in my pantry... if I ever buy a product that comes in cardboard, I decant it into a glass jar. The benefits are twofold- if the food is clean, it won't get infested. And if- God forbid- I bring in an infested product, the insects will be visible through the glass, and they won't be able to escape as long as no one opens the lid indoors.

    Unfortunately, those gallon glass jars which used to be obtainable at almost any restaurant, hospital or school kitchen have pretty well been replaced with lightweight plastic. Grrrr... You can purchase them on the 'net, but the shipping will cost you more than the jars! Probably the best compromise (along with watching garage sales, etc) would be to buy some 1/2 gallon wide mouth canning jars... they run around $10 for 6 jars.

    Summerthyme

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