I've done all the web searching I can stand, and I don't see a clear answer, except for using pesticides. Does anyone have a better way?
I had ( Indianmeal) moths in my kitchen and got rid of them without pesticides but it took awhile and lots of work. I had to go through my pantry and sadly discard everything that was infested which was basically everything in a box or bag. By the time you notice the moths the damage has been done! They lay their eggs in any grain such as flour, cornmeal, cereals, dried fruit and bird seed. The larvae get through the milling process and with a female laying about 60 to 300 eggs our kitchen pantry serves as a feast for them. We bring them home from the supermarket and that is when the problem arises. I purchased two large plastic bins and put all the boxes, bags and cellophane wrapped food inside to confine the problem if it happened again. I also put flours in the freezer and try to use anything in a box quickly, again keeping plastic containers of various sizes in the cabinet too in order to confine any future problem. Nothing in a box is ever kept just inside my pantry any longer. I have quart size bins labeled grains, legumes etc so as not to throw away so much food as I did before. I hope this helps and good luck ,
Moths in the kitchen first come in from grains and cereals and then do their flying thing. The first place I would look is what I have in storage in my pantry. Clean that out and most likely the rest will disappear. It is more a matter of looking for the source of infestation than treating the infestation. Clear out your grains and cereals in your pantry/cupboard and start again.
We also found moths were attracted to chili peppers. Bags of grains were one main culprit for us, but the moths were also all up in the threads of spice jars. AWFUL. Unscrew the tops of things and check carefully!
We also didn't want to use pesticides, so we tried a bunch of things. We used strong peppermint+vinegar solution to wipe down shelves and, now, always have bay leaves hanging in the pantry. And we set up two kinds of traps -- sticky traps and a cup of cornmeal+borax (don't do that if you have pets/kids). We beat it, but it was hard going. Especially having to throw so much away.. but you really have to suck it up and do that or you'll drag this out a lot longer.
When you are ready to start again, prevention is the goal. I keep the obvious sources in securely closed jars which I can see through. Plastic bags are not secure -- the egg layers can pierce them, apparently. When you bring home flours, grains, etc, give them a few days in the freezer before storing (I leave what I consider most vulnerable in there or in the refrigerator); the eggs shouldn't survive freezing. Consider all the other suggestions above, and don't obsess over it!
One source that surprised me was paper bags from the supermarket. It's only happened once, but that seemed to be a source of life, hidden in the folds and glued areas.
Ugly problem, but better than the poison that would prevent it -- simple preventive measures will keep your kitchen safe(r).
Been there. Three words: Oxo Pop Containers
Sarah is a trusted source on General Cooking.
Ugh I hate those things. I found they would go for popcorn, polenta & semolina first, followed by whole wheat flour, so I now keep all of those ingredients in the freezer.
I did find that once I discovered the key source (popcorn) and discarded it, the moths went away fairly quickly after that. Good luck.
Yes on the OXO pop containers. Also pantry pest traps from your local hardware store. These are simply sticky traps with a luring scent that draws the moths in and traps them in the glue. Place a couple on your pantry shelves and around your kitchen -- they help a lot.
And in addition to the food storage advice, please make sure that those little drilled holes for the shelf inserts in your pantry cabinets are all sealed with tape. These nasty creature use it as their maternity ward.
As of 0800hours EDT, the siege on fortress moth has begun. Mercifully I think the fight can be contained to just one cabinet. Thanks for sharing battle plans!
Toughest to see go was the masa harina.
After dealing with this multiple times, I have started using glass jars with a screw on lid for storage. I bought wide mouthed jars of varying sizes. Some can hold multiple bags of grains & pastas. Most plastic doesn't seem to contain the problem. However, I have had good luck with the Oxo pop lid ones that others mentioned above. Also, the sticky traps have been helpful. Good luck. It is so frustrating to throw out food!
Shop our newest caffeinated collection.
Everything you need for coffee and tea.
Your Memorial Day menu made easy.
A list of things we like.
Home & design links we love.
Add flower power to your espresso.
Please enter a valid email address.
Well played. You deserve a cookie.
prevented successful signup:
We'll never post anything without your permission.
prevented successful login:
Thanks for signing up!
Connect with us to get more Food52!
Sign up for our useful, inspired emails and we'll
give you everything you need to eat and live better—including
recipes, how-tos, and exclusives and great gift ideas from our
kitchen and home shop.