How To

How to get rid of pantry moths

Dealing with a pantry moth problem? Read on for practical tips for getting an infestation under control.
legumes in glass containers held by a woman
Prevent a pantry moth infestation by decanting packets into glass, sealed containers.

What is a pantry moth?

You may spot them in your pantry as small dull brown moths. Or at a different stage in their lifecycle as small, wriggly maggots in the food source in which they were laid, often flour and nuts. If left unchecked pantry moths can become prolific.

Adult pantry moths will not eat food – their sole aim is to find a mate, reproduce and lay tiny eggs. Once the eggs hatch into those tiny white maggots these will eat the food source in which they were laid.

pantry moth
(Credit: Adobe)

How to get rid of moths

To manage an infestation, you will need to find the source, otherwise the problem will be on going.

Pantry blitz: Inspect and secure!

The best way to get to the source of the problem is by doing a pantry inventory – remove all items, check packets, inside and out for signs of insect life, and if there’s evidence, dispose of the contents. Create a fortress against pests by decanting packets into glass, sealed containers. And get into the habit of finishing the contents of a container and washing it before refilling to maintain your good work.

Pantry wipe-down

Before restocking the pantry, check shelf crevices and the undersides of shelves for cocoons or visible moths and other signs of pests. Wipe down all surfaces with a eucalyptus spray or white vinegar, both of which act as repellents.

Pantry moth traps

Our Test Kitchen team are fans of commercial pantry moth traps for their efficiency in reining in any errant airborne moths that have escaped your clean. These commercial traps, available from supermarkets, work by bending card into a tent-like structure and affixing a pheromone emitting lure to the sticky underside and are remarkably effective.

Bay leaves: the natural defence

For a natural on-going deterrent to keep pantry moths and weevils at bay (no pun intended), bay leaves are your friend. Bay leaves contain several essential oils that aid in warding off insect intruders. The usual practice is to add a bay leaf (fresh or dried) to a sealed canister and replace the leaf when you replenish the container’s contents, for the benefit to continue.

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