pantry moth infestation

Asked December 7, 2016, 4:58 PM EST

We bought an older home here in Boise last year and after moving in, we discovered moths in the pantry.Unfortunately we had already stored some food in there. A few months later, we began a whole house remodel and tore out the entire kitchen/living area (knocked down walls, etc.). The pantry no longer exists, and the remodel is finished. During the remodel, though, we stored some food items in one bedroom, and now there are moths in there! So we now have small pantry moths in a room with bedding, clothing and books stored in it (along with foot --mainly spices, and bags of dried goods, some open, some unopen). I plan to throw all the open spices and food items out. But how can I get rid of the moths once and for all? Right now they are confined to that one bedroom (far as I can tell). But I am worried their eggs are now in the bedding and clothes, etc in that room. Thank you.

Ada County Idaho integrated pest management home integrated pest management

2 Responses

Without pictures or a description of the moth you've found it's difficult to say for certain but the most likely culprit is the Indian meal moth. The Indian meal moth is a common pest of many foods stored in the home. The larval stage is commonly called a mealworm as they feed on grain or cereal based products but they can also infest dried herbs, dried fruits, nuts, pet foods, and even bird seed. The larvae are capable of chewing through plastic, paper, or thin cardboard so the best method for storing foods is in tight-sealing, thick plastic containers. Infested foods should be discarded, used, or treated to destroy eggs and larvae. Once the food source is removed or securely stored, the moths will eventually die out due to lack of food. The bedding and clothes you mentioned shouldn't be infested as they do not offer a food source for the larvae.

Here are some publications to help with identification and management of this pest:

https://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/factsheet/pantry-pest06.pdf

http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/resources/304pantr.pdf

http://extension.colostate.edu/docs/pubs/insect/05598.pdf


I hope this information is helpful. Please feel free to contact us again or visit your local county Extension office for more information or assistance.

Thanks so much for your reply to my query about moths. Your photo is right on: that is exactly the moth we have in our house. This is very helpful, am going to go throw lots of stuft out right now!