Have you ever gone to the kitchen for a late night snack and spied a moth fluttering around the room? Have you noticed that your food smells or tastes peculiar? If so, you may have pantry moths.
Knowing the Signs
If you have pantry moths, you may notice your food smells uninviting even though it has not yet expired. You may find brittle skins in your food that have been shed by the caterpillars. If you've noticed your cereal grains sticking together in clumps, it could be caused by moth secretions.
To determine whether or not moths have invaded your cupboards, search the corners of your pantry as well as boxes and containers for cocoon webbing. Also, be sure to look around the lips of jars and cans for webs.
In addition, if you see caterpillars or full-grown moths inside your pantry or cupboards, you already have an infestation.
What to Do
Once you know you have a moth problem, completely clear out your cupboards and pantry. Check all your foods to see if they are infested. If there are tiny holes in the packaging or the food smells unusual, discard it. After all of the contaminated items have been placed in a trash bag, seal the bag and place it in an outside trash bin.
If your pantry has a lining, discard it and vacuum the shelves and walls. After you finish vacuuming, empty the vacuum canister or replace the bag.
Wash the shelves with soapy water or a half water-half vinegar solution, paying close attention to the cracks and corners. Scrape off any eggs that you find with steel wool. Once the shelves in your pantry or cupboards are dry, put fresh lining down.
Store your dry foods and grains, such as flour, pasta and rice, in sealable containers made of glass, hard plastic or metal. Additionally, purchase only as much food as you'll need until the next shopping trip or freeze your bulk food items. Freezing your dry foods, grains, nuts and dried milk can help kill any moth larva.
The following preventive measures can also be observed:
If moths keep returning to your kitchen, call a local exterminator, such as BugOut Pest Control, in your area.
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