Pantry or bird seed moth, how do you rid these for good?

meyermike_1micha(5)August 10, 2010

I am using pantry moth stickers, and have cleaned up the closet where there is no open food stuffs for them to breed in, and yet they still keep on coming! I even saw some cacoons and lille balls of nests in a SEALED rice jar..

Are they the same moths that eat your clothes and are they harmful to your health and or belongings?

What would you do to control these pest's?

Would you use a bug spray?

Thanks so much


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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Pantry moths are different than clothes moths.
Neither are dangerous to your health.
A spray won't work.
Neither will just using the pantry pest traps.
By cleaning out only the open containers, you are missing many of the critters.

The Key to success:
Set aside a day or two to thoroughly clean the pantry/cabinet.

Here's what you *must* do:
- Empty entire pantry/cupboard. You'll be looking inside each and every container/package before you put them back.
- If you have adjustable shelves, remove them, inspect all sides (esp. the ends & rear edges) for pupal cases wrapped in webbing. When found, destroy.
- Clean out all the holes where the adjustable shelving may fit into. Use a Q-tip or something similar to dispatch any cocoons in the holes.
- Wipe down interior of pantry/cabinet with soapy water.
- Inspect all food removed from pantry/cabinet. Discard infested products. Store anything that's OK in tight containers. Containers with screw-on lids must have a gasket in the lid for a tight seal.
Or, use tight glass containers or heavy-weight plastic such as Sterilite or Rubbermaid.
*Don't* store anything in thin plastic bags, paper bags or paper/cardboard boxes.

After the pantry/cabinet is thoroughly cleaned, use pantry pest traps (several brands are available.) These are meant to catch the moths (hidden cocoons) that you missed. The traps catch the males; thus disrupts mating. Replace traps as needed.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 11:26AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Uh oh!

You've got some work ahead of you, little brother!

You might want to attachment poke around all of the cracks and crevasses with your vacuum cleaner's attachment, first. Don't forget the ceiling. Check throughout the whole house for those tell-tale cocoons along the ceiling and walls. Vacuum. NO CHEMICALS! A thorough wash with soapy water can come next. Then put up your pantry moth traps. They work very well.

You'll need to dispose of anything that is badly contaminated, of course. Freezing for several days can help kill larvae, though I'm not sure about the eggs. If you don't have a large freezer, then I strongly suggest that pantry items be purchased in smaller containers so that they will be used quickly. Perhaps some things could be repackaged at home so that they could be stored in the freezer or fridge. If you place contaminated items back on the shelf, you'll never, ever get rid of the problem.

Some time ago, I helped a friend with her mothy pantry. It was then that I learned that ziplock bags were virtually useless for protecting food from these critters. She had a BIG pantry, but had carefully zipped everything up that she thought might be a problem. We found larvae inside every single bag, in every single possible food source, including unopened products and closed jars. Her main problem was that she had sooo much stuff in there that had been forgotten about for ages. So much for shopping at Costco!

Okay, let's talk about possible food sources: any packaged dry food, opened or otherwise, dry animal food, bird seed, tea, coffee, closed jars of peanut butter (!), cones and pods and other craft items, potpourri, spices, dried peppers, nuts, chocolate, herbs, etc. Seems like the only things they can't get into are canned!

Once you have eliminated all possible food sources, they will disappear. Continue to use the traps to find the adults and, of course, clean off all of the little cocoons as you find them.

If you have the space, I strongly suggest that you purchase an inexpensive chest freezer. Double bag your food and store them in the freezer! Air tight containers with secure lids 'might' be good enough.

They aren't the same critters that eat your clothes or other belongings. Look for those in your bedroom closets, not your pantry. And if they were too awfully harmful to our health, we'd all be dead because if you think YOU'VE got problems with these things, just think about where the grains, flours, and all of those other food items are stored by the ton! Insect parts and pieces are in just about everything we eat, believe me. There's even a USDA 'accepted level' for insect parts in our food.

Personally, I have a zero tolerance level for anything that I can see moving. ;-) I purchase pantry items in small amounts and keep much of them in a small chest freezer along with the bird seed and cat food.

Good luck and let me know if you have any questions. You can absolutely get rid of them and prevent their return.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 11:41AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Haha! I started my looooong reply before Jean even posted. Isn't that hilarious? I could have just said, "Yeah, what Jean said."

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 11:44AM
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You sure you two aren't of the same mind?

Thank so much both. Your information and help is priceless and very appreciated!

I will start this wekk and keep you posted when they are finally gone..I ahve a thing for moving things that don't belong in the house either...


Thank God for members like, that coming from my Mother..:-)


    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 3:01PM
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Yes, what jean and rhizo said. When I moved into my current house ten years ago, the PO, who was elderly, had a major infestation of Indian Meal Moths. I learned as I went, and when a thorough cleaning didn't stop them, I removed all the cabinets off the wall. (It helps that my DH is very handy). There were larva behind there! And under light fixtures on the ceiling. They travel upwards to pupate I read.

I had never encountered them before, but when it was over, I felt like an expert on them. I kept my kitchen empty, except for the fridge, until my hourly (LOL) larva checks in the cabinets came up empty. I waited a week (after 2 long months of dealing with them) before I stocked the cabinets again. I'm relaxed about it now, but it took a few years of being paranoid about getting them again.

Now I just check all new packages, and know that the only offense is to keep my eyes open for the webs/insect inside flours, grains, etc.

Good luck to you, but you'll be just fine.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 3:59PM
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Not even several months in the freezer will kill the eggs of the grain moths, so simply putting any of your grain products in the freezer for a short time will eliminate those wee buggers. However, storing any and all grain products in the freezer will keep those eggs that are in those products dormant. The USDA, that great consumer protection agency that is supposed to be watching out for us, has determined that screening these grain products to totally eliminate the eggs of the grain moths, as well as feces from vermin, is too expensive for the processing companies so they do allow some to be in the products sold.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2010 at 7:15AM
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Dan Staley

Yes, I had these in an old house. Do not cut corners when cleaning and just plan on setting aside a weekend and working hard. And what Jean said.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2010 at 11:57AM
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After you clean everything, put fresh or dry rosemary in your pantry.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 12:10PM
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