If you have ever opened a can of flour, excited about baking something nice, only to have a little flying bug zoom out at you, you have met a pantry moth. The small white worms or maggots in unopened dry grain or flour containers may be the progeny of these annoying pests. To get rid of pantry moths takes work but is doable.
Pantry moths, also known as Indian Meal Moths, are not native to just India, as it can occur anywhere in the tropics. In the United States, they are most commonly found in Florida.
Pantry moths mostly dwell in open food containers and ingredients. Dry goods like rice, flour, grains and cereals, pasta, nuts, powdered milk, pet food, etc. are usually their favored places. Holes in some of your unopened food packages, which you didn’t make, could be the handiwork of the Indian meal moths. Pantry moths also eat organic non-food items such as dried flowers, seeds, etc.
Your dry foods’ containers are places to lay pantry moth eggs. After taking anywhere between 2 days to 2 weeks to hatch.
The most obvious signs would be the sighting of even a single adult pantry moth. This indicates the presence of a lot of eggs and larvae already contaminating your food supplies. If neglected, you will end up with a stubborn infestation.
Now to identify adult moths, note that they are generally gray, with hints of red or white. They measure roughly around half an inch in length. Similarly, adult moth larvae are about the same size as a full-grown moth but look like five-legged paired worms.
To detect an Indian meal moth, keep your eyes open for the adults flying around your home. This is most common at night when no natural light source exists. The pantry moth, just like any other moth, is attracted to light sources. If you sight an adult pantry moth, consider that you already have a pantry moth infestation and clear out all your dry goods.
If you find any clear signs of contamination in any of your food, you must discard it immediately. It would be best if you also discarded the food packets near the pantry moth infested containers. This is because it is challenging to spot pantry moth eggs in dry goods.
Next, you will need to remove all items on your kitchen shelves and cupboards. Completely clean up or replace your kitchen shelves. The pantry moth larvae can crawl out and hide on the walls and corner crevices of your kitchen. After wiping off all the shelves in your kitchen, take a further precautionary measure and vacuum clean your whole kitchen. This will ensure all the hidden eggs and larvae are removed.
Lastly, you will need to get rid of all the trash bags and vacuum bags that contain contaminated food and eggs/larvae. Leaving them around the house can cause more problems with the maggots crawling out and spreading to other parts of your home. Ensure that the trash bags are discarded far away. If you are opting for an apartment pest control service make sure to prepare the home before the exterminator arrives.
As a preventive measure, when you buy food for your home, invest in airtight containers. These containers make sure that the food is protected from all kinds of pests while keeping all of them fresh by preventing exposure to air. You could also make smart purchases by buying small batches or smaller packs of your food. Doing this will make it easier and faster to throw away contaminated food.
After clearing your pantry of all the possible sources of pantry moth eggs and larvae, you need to ensure that they never come back. The first thing you must do is to wash down your pantry with hot soapy water to prevent all the bacteria, residual larvae, and eggs from growing. You should also keep your replacement food packs in the freezer for a week to make sure no eggs will hatch.
You can try using pantry moth traps. These are based on pantry moth pheromones to attract the male moths away. They do have the disadvantage of leaving the females alone and free to lay eggs.
If you want to use a pantry moth spray, make sure that it is non-toxic. You don’t want anything harmful landing up in your food.
If you have followed all the steps and precautionary measures, but they keep coming back again and again, you need to call in the professionals. It’s best to call in a pest control agency because if you let the pests make themselves at home, you will constantly be spending money on fresh goods and throwing out spoiled food.
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