Pantry moths, otherwise known as Indian Meal moths can be quite a nuisance. For starters, they can potentially contaminate and ruin all your stored food, without you knowing it!
Pantry moths mostly dwell in open food containers and ingredients left in the open. Ingredients like rice, flour etc are usually the most common place they dwell and breed. You know what that means? That sometime in your life you might have eaten them too! gross isn’t it? Pantry moths are your usual suspects when it comes to contamination of grains and cereals, pasta, flour and meals, nuts, powdered milk, pet food etc.
Keep in mind, if you find any clear signs of contamination in any of the food, you must discard it immediately. This may include food that you have spotted pantry moths in as well as any other opened dry goods. This is because, it is extremely difficult to spot pantry moth eggs in dry goods.
If you’re hesitant about throwing away your food, here’s what you can do. You can place your dry goods within a freezer for a week. The freezing cold temperatures will eliminate any moth eggs that can’t be located with a naked eye. After a week, you should run the dry goods through sieve to separate the dead eggs. You can then consume the dry goods after the sieving process.
Another tip you have to remember is that if you find any holes in some of your unopened food packages, which you didn’t do, it would mostly be pantry moths.
You will need to remove all the food items in your kitchen shelves and cupboards. The next step would be to completely clean up or replace your kitchen shelves.This is because, the larvae of pantry moths can crawl out and hide on the walls and corner crevices of your kitchen. These larvae can then spread around and contaminate other food supplies. 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 eggs and larvae that are hidden beyond your vision are removed.
Lastly, you will need to get rid off all the trash bags and vacuum bags that contain the contaminated food and eggs/larvae. Leaving them around the house can cause more problems with the larvae crawling out the bags and spread to other parts of your home. Ensure that the trash bags are placed far away from your home, preferably in the common trash can of your community.
As a preventive measure, when you buy new dry goods for your home, invest and place them all in airtight containers. These containers make sure that the food is protecting from all kinds of pests while keeping all your dry goods fresh by preventing exposure to air. You could also buy smarter by buying small batches or smaller packs of your food goods. Doing this will make it easier and faster to throw away contaminated food.
Identifying Adult Pantry moths and Larvae
Now to know whether or not you have pantry moths, the most obvious signs would be the sighting of a single adult pantry moth. If you find even one pantry moth, that entails that there are a lot of eggs and larvae already contaminating your food supplies. If neglected it would lead to more moths appearing in your home.
Now to identify adult moths, they are generally gray in color, with hints of red or white. They measure roughly around half an inch (1.27 cm) in length. Similarly adult moth larvae are about the same size as a full grown moth, but look like 5 leg paired worms.
The easiest way to spot a moth infestation is to see the adult moth flying around your home. This is most common during the night where no natural lights source exists. The pantry moth just like any other moth would be attracted to a light source. If you sight a adult pantry moth, consider that you already have a pantry moth infestation and clear out all your dry goods.
Use a DIY method for prevention
After clearing up 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 that you’re required to do is wash down your pantry with hot water to prevent all the bacteria and residual larvae and eggs from growing.
The next step would be to combine 1 part of vinegar with 1 part of warm water, with the addition of a few drops of peppermint oil. Then use the solution created to wash down your entire pantry. This combination is very effective in repelling adult moths and other pests. This is because moths just cannot withstand the scent of peppermint. Not only does it repel moths it makes your kitchen smell quite sweet and soothing.
One call to get rid of them all
Now if you have followed all the steps and precautionary measures, you must have gotten rid of most of the adult moths, eggs and larvae. But if you seem to have them coming back again and again and you are unable to identify the source, 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 contaminated food. Not to mention the health illness you and your family members would have to incur.
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