What To Do
If you think you have a pantry moth problem, you need to do an immediate and thorough cleaning. Start by taking everything out of the infested area and trash anything suspect in an outside garbage bin. Next, you need to vacuum the whole area. Use a cordless, handheld vacuum if you have one, or use an attachment to your regular vacuum.
After that, scrub down all food storage containers, walls, shelves and other hard surfaces with a mixture of water and vinegar. Use some elbow grease when you do this, as it will help you to remove any larvae that are still attached to the surfaces. Once your pantry is clean, you can put out a commercial moth trap to catch any remaining critters.
Preventing Pantry Moths in the Future
The first step is to always maintain a clean kitchen. It’s good for your health and it gives uninvited pests a lesser chance of surviving under your vigilant eyes. Second, you can kill moths and moth larvae that come into your home with your groceries by storing grain-based food items in the freezer for the first four days after purchasing them. Moths can’t survive in freezing temperatures, so you’ll get rid of any potential problems before they even begin. Lastly, be sure to store your grain-based items in airtight containers once you remove them from the freezer. You can also place a few bay leaves in the airtight containers with your grains to keep moths away, since they are averse to the smell of these leaves.
A final tip for keeping moths out of your kitchen is to leave a few cotton balls soaked with essential eucalyptus oil in the corners of your pantry. This, in addition to the plans outlined above, should help you maintain a clean, healthy and moth-free pantry.
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Image: Southern Foodways Alliance/Flickr