How to get rid of pantry moths: what can you do to protect supplies and prevent infestation?
Food is often attacked by pests especially at the end of summer. These are usually flour moths found in packaged nuts, herbs, bags of legumes or flour. Anyone who has had to deal with pests knows that where there is one moth, there are many other moths. But if you act quickly, you can get rid of pantry moths and save the supplies that are not infested.
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Pantry moths: This is how you can prevent an infestation
Where do moths actually come from and how do they get into the kitchen? Most commonly, the eggs and nymphs are transported home with infested food. In some cases, the insects also get into the house through windows and doors. In the kitchen or pantry, where the humidity is high, the pests find optimal conditions to multiply quickly.
Check the following foods for signs of infestation immediately after purchase: Grains (flour), finely ground spices, herbal teas, nuts, peas, beans, lentils, peanuts, soybeans, and others.
Flour moths do not transmit disease. However, eating food in which the moths have laid their eggs can lead to stomach problems and allergic reactions. Therefore, you should definitely dispose of the infested stocks.
How to prevent an infestation:
- Only buy groceries that are packaged airtight. The packaging should also not have any holes.
- Check supplies at home for signs of infestation, transfer and store in airtight containers in cool, dry place.
- Ventilate every 30 minutes while cooking. Keep the humidity in the kitchen below 60%.
- Invest in insect screens for the windows. There are inexpensive protective blinds that are glued to the window frame. They can protect against mosquitoes, flies and moths.
- Alternatively, you can keep moths away from the kitchen by using certain essential oils. Lavender and tea tree oil have such a chilling effect. You can also put chestnuts or cloves between the packages of food in the pantry.
- Check regularly for signs of infestation. Such are, among other things, webs in the food. This saves you time and effort.
- Use airtight containers made of glass, metal or plastic. The moths find even small holes in bags and can infest the food again.
- If you can’t throw away the infested food right away, you can put it in the freezer. Moths die in sub-zero temperatures after 2-3 days.
- Never use infested foods! They are inedible and should definitely be thrown away.
- If you want to prevent an infestation in the fall months and save money at the same time, make a change to your shopping habits between September and November. Shop several times a week, but in smaller quantities than usual. In the event of an infestation, you will have less food in the pantry, you will have fewer products to throw away and you will also save a lot of time and effort.
How to get rid of pantry moths – step by step
If you react quickly and take certain protective measures at the first sign of an infestation, you can get rid of pantry moths and save at least part of the food. Proceed as follows:
- Check all the food in the kitchen. Packages of food that are infested should be thrown away as soon as possible.
- Place all food in airtight containers and check for moths every other day.
- Empty the cupboards where the infested food is kept and clean them thoroughly with soapy water. Wipe down the shelves.
- It is best to vacuum clean hard-to-reach areas between the kitchen cabinets.
- Various devices for steam cleaning also prove to be very helpful, as they can kill the insects quickly.
- If there are still adult insects flying around in the kitchen, you can use a simple household remedy to prevent them from getting infested again. To do this, mix flour and baking soda in a 1 to 4 ratio. Place the mixture in a bowl and place in the cupboard. The moths like to breed in the flour, but the eggs and larvae cannot develop further in the baking soda.
These remedies help against moths and these can have the opposite effect!
Moth paper not only helps against clothes moths, but also against flour moths. The paper is soaked in a toxin and then slowly dries. In doing so, the toxin is released and kills the moths in the cupboards. However, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. The moth paper works best when placed in closed cupboards or drawers. Very important – the paper must never come into direct contact with food and all food in the respective cupboard should be packed airtight. In fact, it’s best to empty the infested cabinet and put the paper there.
However, it is not advisable to use pheromone traps. These traps contain a substance that only attracts the male insects. At the same time, their surface is sticky, so the moths stick to it. However, this cannot eliminate an infestation. Even more so – there is often a risk that moths will be attracted from the environment and get into the kitchen through windows and doors.
Flour moths are not dangerous to humans or pets. However, since the infested food has to be disposed of, an infestation is not only annoying, but also expensive.