It’s something we take for granted every day. There’s plenty of food closed up tightly behind the pantry door. All we have to do is open it and grab a snack. And when it’s time for dinner, we reach in and grab the rice or the flour and start mixing up the evening’s delicacy. We don’t really stop to think about how well we store our food and grains, and we definitely don’t think about something laying eggs in our stored foods, either. However, if you knew how easily pantry moths can infiltrate, you might think twice about the way you store your food.
Pantry Moth Problems
Pantry moths, which are also known as Indian meal moths, are tan to dark brown and only about ten millimeters in length when fully grown. However, the adults are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the problems they’ll create in your kitchen. You see, their small size allows them to fly into most pantries very easily, but they aren’t trying to eat your food.
No, they’re actually seeking out your cereals and grains as the perfect place to raise their babies. By laying eggs in your stored, dry foods, Indian meal moths allow their young to grow up with a readily available food source. The eggs will hatch into larvae that not only feed on your dried foods but also secrete a thick, web-like substance that covers the infested food.
Pantry moths live to reproduce. Even just a single moth entering your pantry can lay up to 400 eggs, so a few moths can ruin all of the poorly stored food in your pantry. If you keep a close eye on your food, you’ll be able to notice a few signs of infestation before you begin cooking with contaminated ingredients.
If you see any sort of webbing in the corners of the packaging, an Indian meal moth infestation is likely. You might also notice the grains sticking together more than usual, which can be attributed to the sticky substance larvae secrete as they move around.
Preventing Pantry Pests
Once you incur an Indian meal moth infestation, they are very difficult to get rid of. You’ll wind up having to lay out all of your food for close inspection before getting rid of any contaminated items. You will need to wash any containers that were housing pantry moth larvae with hot water and soap before using them for food storage again.
As your focus shifts to prevention, you’ll want to remember that pantry moths can chew or squeeze through most containers, so storing your dried goods in plastic or glass containers will be best for meal moth prevention.
To keep them out of your house entirely, you’ll want to seal off any potential entry points. This means checking the screens of doors and windows for any large tears and ensuring that all doors have proper weather-stripping.
Since these pests are nocturnal, yet very attracted to light, they’re going to congregate on the windows and doors at night, waiting for a chance to get in. Be especially careful to close doors and windows at night, and try to focus your outdoor lights away from the entryways, if possible.
Finally, you have to be mindful of pantry moths at the store as well. Many of the dried goods, especially in the fresh produce areas, may already be contaminated with eggs or larvae. Bringing infested goods into your home is a sure way to put the rest of your pantry at risk as well.
We understand that there are a lot of hoops to jump through to prevent a pantry moth infestation in your home. We also realize the idea of larvae-infested food in your pantry is almost too much to handle. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. If you’re concerned about a potential pantry moth infestation, contact All-Safe Pest & Termite for more advice or assistance from our friendly and knowledgeable pest professionals.