The Best Way To Get Rid Of Pantry Moths

Pantry moths have earned their name because of their love of stored food. As you might imagine, they are a nightmare for food processing plants, but they can also be a tremendous nuisance at home in your pantry. The moths themselves are not the main problem — their offspring come in droves. One moth can have around 400 eggs that become larvae in less than seven days, according to Terro. These larvae do the most damage in the 60 to 90 days before they make their cocoons. Once you see the moth, you may already have an infestation.

Pantry moths are small, and range from pale grey to brown. Cocoons can be very difficult to find since they tend to burrow in food or hide in cracks. Because they are so active and there are often so many of them, you are most likely to see the larval stage of this pest, which looks like a small white worm in your dry pantry products. Pantry moth larvae love grain-based products like pasta and cereal. You may also find them eating bread, beans, or any kind of dry snack.

Eliminating pantry moths

Although they are not technically harmful, they are gross, and you should immediately remove all the contaminated food from the house. Begin the elimination process by checking every package of dry food in your pantry, even those that are still sealed from the factory. According to, pantry moths sometimes come from a food processing plant or, if you purchase dry goods in bulk, from a bin at the grocery store. Regardless of where they come from, you must do a thorough search of every pantry product. Throw away everything that has visible worms or is not in a sealed container. Immediately place all contaminated products in an outside trash can to prevent these pests from returning.

Remove everything from your pantry and vacuum the entire space, using a corner attachment on your vacuum wand to get into all the nooks and crannies. Don't forget the undersides of every shelf. Before replacing your remaining pantry items, use a flashlight to check for larvae or cocoons hiding in cracks and crevices. After a thorough cleaning of your pantry, you can wipe down your food items and put them away.

Preventing future infestations

This is not the kind of job you want to have to do more than once, so take preventative measures against pantry moth infestations in the future. As you restock your pantry, move items susceptible to these pests to sealed containers. New Idea suggests using glass jars with tight-fitting lids or sealable plastic containers. The goal is to make sure that no moth can get into your food to lay eggs, and if you purchase a contaminated item, the pests cannot get out and infest the rest of your food. This includes open cereal boxes and snacks like crackers.

If you are concerned about bringing pantry moths home in packaged foods, you can place them in the freezer for a few days to kill any eggs or larvae before moving them to a sealed container in your pantry. You can also place pheromone traps in your kitchen to attract male pantry moths before they have an opportunity to mate. These traps are available at most hardware stores.