Pantry moths

Asked June 23, 2019, 6:13 AM EDT

What is the consistency of the eggs of pantry moths? Are they hard , soft, sticky? In using a vacuum hose to clean cupboard shelves and crevices will the eggs get stuck on the interior side of the hose? If that's the case won't they just develop into larvae in the vacuum and continue through their life cycle? If, in fact, they are a hard substance then the advice to dispose of the bag after vacuuming makes sense. Also, I read a suggestion by someone that sprinkling some moth crystals on the floor and then vacuuming them would kill any eggs or larvae inside the bag. Would that be fact or fiction or something in between?

Cuyahoga County Ohio insect issues moths

3 Responses

The most common pantry moth is the Indianmeal moth. They are not easy to manage, but with persistence, one can reduce and eliminate their populations. The eggs of the Indianmeal moth are tiny and would be difficult to see with the unaided eye. They usually lay their eggs directly on the food resource or packaging with the food resource inside that the caterpillars will feed on. Their eggs would not typically be laid randomly on surfaces. In our recommendations for managing the Indianmeal moth, vacuuming is to remove spilled food that could be attractive to the moth. The likelihood that the eggs or larvae would be developing in the vacuum cleaner bag is extremely low. Sucking up moth ball crystals in the vacuum is unnecessary and of no value.

Here is a link to a thorough fact sheet on Indianmeal moth:

Thank you for your response. I continue to catch moths - average 2 - 4 per day (or rather night as that seems to be when they fly about). Some of them seem rather small which makes me wonder if they are immature. I am enclosing a link to a site which addresses the issue of flying moths but no larvae which is what I am dealing with. I have no food items in the pantry where I believe the problem originated and there has been nothing there since the end of February. In that time I have seen only three larvae and one of them was dead. Before I spend any more money I would like to inquire as to the validity of the statements in this article which I have attached. The company is, after all, out to make money and I have no idea what kind of credentials they have with which to support their claims. Thank you in advance for your response.

I personally would not resort to automatic insecticide dispensers in a home. If this were a warehouse or store, yes, but not a home. Infestations can take up to 2 years to be completely eliminated. The main key is to find what they are utilizing for food and eliminating the food source. If you have not found the food source, it is going to be a continuous problem.

Once a moth becomes a moth, it does not change again (i.e. little moths do not grow into bigger moths). You may need to take samples to your local extension office to verify identifications.

Pheromones can draw insects from relatively long distances, however, most of our pheromone based traps and pheromones (usually sex pheromones) only attract males. Thus, one would not be concerned about pulling additional moths in with the pheromone, because males don't lay eggs.

Your main course of actions should be:

1. Verify identification.

2. Find and eliminate food source.

3. Protect any new food from potential infestation (store in heavy seal tight plastic contains or place in freezer).

4. Eliminate individuals when you find them.