Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths and Larvae in Your Kitchen

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photo of pantry moth (Indian meal moth).
Pantry moths may look small, but they can cause big problems in your kitchen.

My pantry has been invaded by little worms and moths that appear to have come from a bag of bird seed. What are they, and what should I do?

It sounds like your pantry has been infested with Indian meal moths, also known as pantry moths. The tiny, nearly-invisible eggs come into your house in food packages, and they can hatch into larvae which later turn into moths that wreak havoc on your foodstuffs. Indian meal moth eggs are often present in:

  • Bird seed
  • Cereals and grains
  • Flours and meals
  • Dried fruit
  • Pasta
  • Candy
  • Pet food
  • Dried herbs
  • Nuts
  • Powdered milk

How To Identify Pantry Moths

If you see any of the following, you could have Indian meal moths:

  • Larvae in Food: Nothing’s creepier than pouring out some cereal and it starts to move! When the eggs hatch, the larvae will spin webs in the infested food. You’ll see the clumps of webbing and the little whitish worms. They start out really tiny but can grow to 2/3” long with black or brown heads. You may also see tiny cast-off skins after the worms have moved away.
  • Larvae in Home: Look for the larvae moving about or hanging from the walls, often near the ceiling. They’re looking for a nice dark crevice to pupate and turn into moths.
  • Cocoons: You may also see the webby cocoons on top of cabinets and in corners.
  • Flying Moths: You may find the small, half-inch long, brownish moths flying around your kitchen and pantry, usually around lights at night.

Photo of pantry (Indian meal moth) larva.
Pantry (Indian meal moth) larvae infest food and resemble small worms.

How to Control Pantry Moths

If you’ve spotted Indian meal moths in your pantry, you need to take the following action right away, since they can reproduce several times in a year and will invade the rest of your pantry:

  • Eliminate Source: Find out which package brought in the infestation, wrap it tightly in a plastic bag and throw it away immediately.
  • Thorough Cleaning: Remove everything from your pantry, vacuum out crumbs (then replace vacuum cleaner bag), scrub the shelves, and put down fresh shelf liner.
  • Pantry moth traps.

  • Pheromone Traps: Sticky traps, such as Safer Pantry Pest Traps, emit a scent that attracts male moths. While they won’t eliminate all of them, traps can help, and give you a way to monitor the infestation.
  • Treat Suspect Food: I’m inclined to trash anything that looks suspicious, but you can also treat foods by baking them in the oven for one hour at 140° F or higher, or popping food in the microwave on high for 5 minutes, or bagging food and putting it in the freezer for a week.
  • Avoid Sprays: Pesticides should not be used near food products.

How to Prevent Future Infestation of Pantry Moths

  • Organize Pantry: Get rid of packaged food products that are past the expiration date.
  • Store Smart: Buy only small quantities of grain products, and store them in airtight, rigid, bug-proof containers (not plastic bags). This makes the occasional infestation a snap to clean up and prevents pantry disaster. Also, store large sacks of pet food and bird seed in airtight containers in the shed or garage rather than the kitchen.
  • Shop Smart: Buy only the quantities of grain products that you think you can use within a few weeks.
  • Refrigerate Food: Store seldom-used grain products in the fridge or freezer until needed.

Further Information

Julie



Please Leave a Comment

92 Comments on “How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths and Larvae in Your Kitchen”

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  1. sarah G Says:
    September 16th, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Thank you so much for this little article. I woke up one morning to find close to a hundred of those worms on my kitchen ceiling. There’s only one product that was different from my normal shopping and that was those bags of cereal you can get with the grocery store brand..I’m guessing it caused the problem. THanks so much!

  2. Janet Parks Says:
    October 4th, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Hi I have these tiny little dark moths that are the size of a grain of rice. They seem to be mostly in the bedrooms and are all over the windows. I haven’t seen any worms and there aren’t any in my food. They look different from the pantry moth so I am wondering if I buy some pheromone traps would that maybe get rid of them. They are just really annoying.
    Thanks Janet

  3. Emily Says:
    July 26th, 2012 at 10:14 am

    I was fed up with my moth problem; I can’t use chemicals (nor would I want to) because of my pets, and simply cleaning wasn’t doing the trick at all, so I hunted and hunted for a solution.. What I found is a parasitic wasp called Trichogramma that is almost impossible to detect in your home (full-grown, they are about the size of a small grain of sand) which implants it’s larvae in the eggs of pantry moths (along with appx 200 other species of insect). They are quite inexpensive (I paid $12.50 USD for 15 thousand larval wasps) and have been used in agricultural applications for many years with great success. Adding these wasps to your other cleaning habits (I would suggest releasing them every other week for 2-3, even 6 months, just to be sure you haven’t missed a breeding cycle) works wonders, and when the food supply runs out (new moth eggs) they die. They do not infest if moths are not present. Please give them a try before introducing chemicals into your home. You won’t be sorry.

  4. Eric Soden Says:
    August 9th, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Hello Julie, I have Pantry moths that are not responding to the product “Safer” you suggested. I purchased 8 traps from Home Depot and put them in the pantry for over 10 days, only caught 2 moths…there must be 30 or more in the pantry. What other product can you suggest please? Every hardware and garden store in my area sells the Safer product.

    Thanks so much,
    Eric

  5. veronica garcia Says:
    September 13th, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    i have this little moths in my kitchen now there everywhere!! even in my room and office HELP!!!!!!

  6. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    September 14th, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Veronica,
    We had problems with pantry moths, too, that came in a bag of bird seed, and the sticky traps worked pretty at getting rid of the adult moths. I would give them a try, as well killing any adult moths you see before they can reproduce, removing or sealing any source of food, and following the other suggestions in the article above. Good luck!

  7. Orlando Says:
    September 22nd, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Hi. My name is Orlando and i recently saw these white little worms. There has been moths for months. We recently cleared out the pantry but they are still there. Do you know anybody who can get rid of these creatures for good? If so can you see if it requires a lot of money? Thank you.

  8. Ellen Says:
    November 11th, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Emily, where does one buy the wasp larvae?

  9. Anne Eich Says:
    December 4th, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Where to buy the wasp larvae?

  10. Ken Miller Says:
    December 23rd, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    My son found the moths in the pantry in a cookie package. Seems like a nightmare.

  11. Monica Lopez Says:
    December 27th, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    I have been dealing with these bugs for several months! We keep our bird seed in the freezer, but it’s too late, they have taken over our kitchen. I bought an electric bug zapper that looks like a tennis racket and it becomes a sport killing them! It amazes me where I am finding them. I cleaned out the cabinets, but they continue to thrive. I found larva in a kleenex box, on a splenda packet and in a sealed unopened box of pasta salad. Not sure what to do next, it is getting ridiculous!

  12. Audrey Says:
    January 7th, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Make sure you check everything, not just foodstuff. The worms were in dry packets of herb mixes, toothpicks, packets of matches!!!! They were inside sealed jar lids, things that were never opened. My boyfriend was ready to strangle me for throwing out all his lazy suzan stuff when I showed him his toothpick box. LOL!!!!! I think our infestation had to do with remodeling the house next door…they stripped the walls there, so the little critters came to us! Gotta be vigilant on this one!!!

  13. eydie barrientos Says:
    February 1st, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    indian meal moths are no laughing matter. what people don’t consider is the fact that the larvae poop as they eat. this ‘poop’ will cause severe stomach cramping which can last for days if ingested. i believe that they are very dangerous and are a real cause of disease but no one has put 2 and 2 together. in flour if you see spiderweb like strings with flour sticking to them, stuck to the inside of the bag, THROW IT AWAY.

  14. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    February 2nd, 2013 at 9:31 am

    Hi Eydie,
    Good advice. Thanks for the feedback!

  15. nicole schooper Says:
    February 19th, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    i had a weevil problem a while ago. I cleaned everything out and they went away for a while but they came back in a few weeks. I searched the web for solutions on how to get rid of them and came across a product called Weevil Away. They have these little adhesive sticky pads that have a natural/organic solution on them. They repel the weevils which sounded like a great idea to me. I’d rather repel them in the first place rather than wait for them to show up and then try to get rid of them. I stuck one in every one of my cupboards and hoped for the best. The smell is fantastic and it’s been almost a year and still no weevils. Love this stuff! It also claims to repel pantry moths and roaches. If it works as well with those as it does with the weevils then your problems will be solved.

  16. Laura Says:
    February 28th, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    Just found these moths in my cupbords !!! tons of them I probably killed 30 or more I gor a plastic Garbage bag and throw everything away !!! Where the heck did they come from !!! they are everywhere. I have only lived in my apartment for about 6 month,. Is my landlord responsible for getting rid of these things ?

  17. jean butler Says:
    March 2nd, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    I was going crazy with these. I put up fly ribbens. I filled 2 so far. Think I got them under controll. Dont see as many now. Just hag them where no one will get stuck on them. I’m thing of opening one up and put it in an old bowl i dont need any more.

  18. Amy Says:
    March 11th, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    What I did to get rid of them was use bleach in all the cabinets throw away any cereal and toss out grainy food and it kept the little critters out of the kitchen

  19. Amy Says:
    March 18th, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    What I did to get rid of them was use bleach in all the cabinets throw away any cereal and toss out grainy food and it kept the little critters out of the kitchen.

  20. Kelly Says:
    March 23rd, 2013 at 9:54 am

    I need some serious help. For six months now I have battled the flying moths, using 6 traps because they were overflowing with moth things, finally I thought they had gone until today when I found little maggots everywhere. On the walls, the ceiling the cupboard everywhere. I cleaned the hell out of the my kitchen but they keep re appearing. What do I do? There is no food in the cupboards, I’ve bleached ive used traps and still they won’t go away. I’m considering moving house I’m that fed up with them!

    Is there an exterminator you can call?

  21. Monica Says:
    March 24th, 2013 at 10:07 am

    We have birds and I’ve just given up on completely getting rid of them. I use the sticky traps with pheromones, but they fill up fast. The thing that helps with my frustration is my bug zapper that is shaped like a tennis racket. I just zap them flying around and check my ceiling often to zap the sleeping ones! It has become a sport in our house.

  22. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    March 25th, 2013 at 9:16 am

    Hi Monica,
    Thanks for the feedback on getting rid of pantry moths!

  23. Jan Says:
    May 1st, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Hi all, just did the big clean out of the pantry at friends house. Grubs and moths everywhere friend could not understand where they could be coming from. I took out and checked every thing and ended up with a large garbage bag full of expired stuff, spices, gluten free stuff, cereal, jars previously used for storing found the cocoon lying in the rim of the jar. Wiped down all shelves and drawers with some cleaning agent after reading the comments today maybe I should have used the bleach. Anyway will watch and hope the problem is solved. I like this site very much .

  24. Anita Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    I have been battling moths and the larvae worms with their cocoons. Today I took everything out of the cupboard. (only one seems to be were they are.) I throughout mostly everything. Some seem to be okay but I washed the outside of the package with soapy bleach water. One thing I notice that the holes use to put a peg for the shelf was use as a cocoon. There are many holes front and back of the cupboard. I use a toothpick to clean it out and sprayed it with Clorox cleaner that has bleach. Now I’ll wait to see if they come back.

  25. Celine Says:
    June 28th, 2013 at 4:22 am

    I just saw this white little worm hanging from a near-invisivle sring in my pantry. I also saw these little moths in my pantry (about 7 of them) the other day, thinking it was no big problem. I have just found out about them by your article, and I was looking for a safe way to rid them. I have pets and am not eager on chemicals. HELP PLEASE?

  26. liz Says:
    July 18th, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Wow Thanks everyone. We just started seeing these moths all over in our food cabinet. Took everything out threw a lot away some closed boxes had worms on bags in the sealed box. Should I just throw everything away? Have terminix coming out on monday but that is 4 days away an starting to worry that even if I opened boxes an looked than taped close the ones that I did not find anything may not be sure nothing is in there. Should I just throw it all away even canned items?? Please let me know what you think. Thank s

  27. April Says:
    September 8th, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    So i noticed this small brown moth flying around my livingroom(which is also my kitchen about 4 days ago. I thought it got in from outside. I killed it, no big deal. Then today i noticed a work crawling on the cealing above my sink. I killed it and didnt think anything of it. I didnt see any more. Avout a half hour later i went to make my daighter dinner and i found anothrone floating in the water on the pot on the stove. I dumped it out, cleaned the pot and started the water again. I looked up and fo und two more on the cealing that were not there before. I went back to the stove a half hour later and there was another one in the water. So i looked up and there were two more. I came online and found this site. Wow. The worms were near my cerial cupboard. So i opened it up and 3 more moths flew out. Ugh. I took out all ten boxes of cerial wether they were open or not, sealed them up and put them out in the dumpster. I went back and sprayed the cupboard with flying bug spray, and i am going to let it sit over night then clean it with cleach. That was in a cupboard next to the cealing. My question is, should i throw out the pasta that is on the other side of the kitchen in an under the counter cupboard as well? Even though there are not moths there?

  28. terese Says:
    September 10th, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Uhh i just found them too! i think oats left by a tenant is the problem. THROWING ENTIRE CONTENTS OF PANTRY OUT.Had a lot of cramping issues, who knew they were even here!! would it help to leave the pantry empty for a few weeks?? I guess i should put the dog food in the garage. Please,please HELP! I’m grossed out.

  29. jennifer Says:
    September 17th, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    YOU ARE THE BEST! THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH! I can’t say it enough I’ve never seen this before we just moved into this home one year ago and they have been driving me crazy for a year this will be my week end project thank you Jennifer

  30. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    September 18th, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Hi Jennifer,
    Glad to hear our article on pantry moths was of help. It was prompted by an outbreak in my house, and the sticky traps seems to do the trick.
    Good luck!

  31. Robin Says:
    October 9th, 2013 at 2:15 am

    I just came on line to find out what in the world these little creepy crawly things were, I thought they were maggots and I THREW A FIT!!!! I knew that there had been these little moths flying around and I knew that they had come from the bird seed that I had bought at walmart, because I noticed them flying around down that isle, but I had the seed in a airtight container. Well, I just threw the whole dam thing out the back door until I can get to it in the morning. I had never seen the worms, just the moths. They were every where! and I dont understand why I have not seen them before?? just the moths! PURE GROSS!!!!

  32. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    October 9th, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Hi Robin,
    Thanks for the feedback. Our pantry moth problem came from a bag of birdseed purchased at Walmart, too, and I’ve since seen the moths in the birdseed aisle at our Walmart store.

  33. Jeanie Says:
    October 15th, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Oh my goodness! I started seeing tiny moths everywhere in my kitchen and every day there would be more. I noticed them for about 10 days but didn’t think too much of it because I figured they’d only be around for a week or two as we usually get an influx of this bug or that bug when the seasons change. I just thought they were getting in whenever the front door (located directly near the kitchen) was open for people to come and go. But after the first week I decided to research on line and I came across this page/article. OMG I immediately went into recon mode! I threw away ALL unrefrigerated food including unopened jars, and bleach scrubbed the entire kitchen. During my clean out, I came across a bag of foreign gourmet rice that someone gave me….it was FULL of moths and stringy streams of webbing, yuck! I also found the web like strings inside a bag of chia seeds. All in all it was exactly how y’all described…. cocoons, worms and moths hovering from walls, shelves and ceiling….SO weird! After I did an extreme cleaning with bleach water, I also did one coat of white Killz paint just for extra measures. I haven’t seen one moth since and that was 3 weeks ago. THANK YOU for such an awesome and informative page….the details you provide teach us everything we need to know about identifying the problem and eliminating it.

  34. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    October 16th, 2013 at 7:39 am

    Hi Jeanie,
    Glad to hear that our article on pantry moths was helpful to you, they can be quite a pest!

  35. Tiffany Says:
    November 12th, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    I have not seen any moths or anything else until today. I found 1 larvea in my dogs treat container. I looked for more but so far that is the only thing I have found. Should I be worried about infestation.?

  36. Jill Brookline Says:
    November 13th, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    AAAAaaah, I just had the same mystery trip! I AM SO GLAD to Google this and find it! Fall is here in New England, saw a moth on wall – thought nothing of it – things come in sometimes when it gets cold. Then saw 2 little worms on cupboard, still … whatever, more stuff from outside. THEN I FREAKED OUT realizing there was an infestation! I had a bunch of mixed cereal in a large jar with a cover on the shelf .. but it has been there for a while or a bit (wouldn’t these things have shown themselves earlier?) – but had to be it. I was relieved to see that everyone else here has had the same experiences. Seeing a few fly type things, pieces start coming together, but if you’ve never had it before – you don’t know. THANKS for this article, everyone’s comments, very helpful!

  37. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    November 13th, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Hi Jill,
    Glad we could be of help. Good luck with the pantry moths!

  38. Wendy Says:
    November 19th, 2013 at 10:56 am

    I want to cry. Last year, I bought a rehab house. While packing up my old house, I got boxes from the grocery stores. Most of my boxes were packed in the garage and cellar while renovating. I stayed at my Mother’s for several months while the major renovations were going on. I brought a couple of boxes to her house. She had the moths, blamed it on me, I thought she was crazy. Now, a year later, my house is finally at the point where I could really start unpacking the boxes that were stored in garage and basement. I did a lot of unpacking 2 weeks ago, went on vacation for a week. Came back Saturday (had heat turned down). Sunday, found one worm hanging from my ceiling. Monday, found about 8. Today found another 8 or so crawling on ceiling. I have read many articles and want to cry because this doesn’t seem to be an easy task to get rid of these worms forever. Many wrote once you get them, it is something you will always have to worry about. I’m about to go to cabinets throw everything out, wash down cabinets, etc. I will buy some of the moth traps and put down basil leaves. My gut is they were in the boxes and when threw out any of the old boxes of food, the trash is still in my house UGGG!!!! If anyone has a better solution, please let me know. Anyone have success stories from hiring exterminators?

  39. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    November 19th, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Hi Wendy,
    We through out everything that had worms in it (mainly a bag of birdseed in our case) and used the sticky traps mentioned in the article. It took a few weeks, but we were month free after that, so it might not be as bad as you think.
    Good luck!

  40. Addie Says:
    November 23rd, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    I am shaking. Twice we bought trail mix from Sprouts. The 1st time I saw a white larva in it and threw it out. I had thought it came from our house. We battled an unusually severe infestation of varied carpet beetles in our former home and recently found 4 of them in our new apt. I thought this was one of those, though it looked different. Today I had new trail mix which we’d taken straight from the store bag and put into a glass canister with a screw-on lid. I was eating it without my glasses on when I noticed a squirming larva in front of my face! This time I photographed it and it was definitely not a carpet beetle larva, but one of these. My search for info brought me here. Now I’m fearful and discouraged. We have the carpet beetles and now these. We are busy throwing away everything in our cupboards, which isn’t much. We already had a bit of borax in them to deter the beetle larvae but we are going to clean them out with bleach, then we’ll keep everything in the fridge and freezer. When the pest control man comes for the carpet beetles I’ll get his take on these too. I can’t go through this again. My husband is so allergic to the carpet beetle larval hairs that he was on steroids for months and we threw away most of our things. I thought we were starting over here. We are traumatized from that. I can’t go through it again. It sounds like these are not so easy to get rid of.

  41. Pigbitin Mad Says:
    December 10th, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    I noticed one of these things the day before Thanksgiving. I hate moths, so even seeing one throws me into a DEFCON 5 sort of panic. Then I saw three more. I believe I found the source of the infestation which was a Tupperware containing two bags of rice (I always keep my rice in a Tupperware after discovering worms in a bag of rice once….fortunately threw it out in time). Somehow the moths got out and I saw about 4 of them in the cabinet where the rice was.

    Anyway, I see no evidence that anything else got infested but I immediately bought Tupperware and zip lock bags for all edible items in other cabinets. I sprayed “Ground Zero” with a Clorox bleach spray and have seen no other cocoons anywhere else. I check everything every day for evidence of cocoons etc.

    I bought this Panty Moth Spray which I am beginning to think is a rip since all the testimonials now appear to have been written by the person who makes the stuff. So far a trap has only caught one lousy moth but every day or two I manage to kill one. I am seeing them mostly outside the kitchen which is strange since I thought they needed food. If I keep them from eating will these EFFIN things die already.

    My life is now 100% devoted to killing these things. At first I thought it would be doable but now I am beginning to wonder if I will be battling this plague for the rest of my life.

  42. Caroline Says:
    February 12th, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Thank you for this post !! After reading through, I found the culprit in the birdfeed that was inside, by my patio door (which I recently moved and must have left a tad open). I am SO GLAD this was this simple… only saw a few moths in the last week, but was sooooooo scared because have had infestation at a previous house and had to empty all my cupboards and throw out everything… not a fun thing to do. Thanks again.

  43. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    February 12th, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Hi Caroline,
    Glad our post on pantry moths was of help!

  44. April Says:
    February 12th, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    I had an infestation in my cerial cupboard this summer.i didnt see any pnce i cleaned out the cupboard but in the last two seeks i killed 5 more. I have no clue where there coming from!!! Ive cleaned out everything!! Got rid of all my food and bought more and disinfected everything. I think thry were here before i moved in. There are microscopic holes in the corners of the walls. And i think they are in there. I wanna tear the walls out!!

  45. Jessica Says:
    February 24th, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    We’ve had a moth problem for the last few years. We go months without seeing them sometimes, then BAM another outbreak in the pantry. I’ve tried everything including the traps. I’m pulling my hair out. There must be something out there to keep these critters at bay!

  46. Glenda Menger Says:
    March 25th, 2014 at 8:15 am

    I am in the process of trying to get rid of these pest. What about bags of onions and potatoes? How do you store those to keep the pest out? All our other foods we keep in sealable Zip Lock bags. I haven’t gotten to my spices yet. That is my job for today. Spent all day yesterday late into the night on my pantry. Should I also clean cabinets that contain dishes and glasses?
    Thank you.

  47. April Says:
    March 25th, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    The worst part of it is is that despite all of my precausions and steps i have taken to prevent this from keep this from happening i cant even find where they are coming from. Not where they are coming from where any of the caccoons are or anythinf!!

  48. Glenn Says:
    April 4th, 2014 at 7:46 am

    Make sure to check the peg holes! I had the same problem as Anita. I cleaned everything only to find more larvae 3 weeks later. I noticed that some of the holes for pegs (so you can place the shelves at different heights – typical for IKEA stuff) looked like they had been punched properly. But what it was was the larvae who find the peg holes perfectly suited for their cocoon state. They hole up in the holes and seal it off. If you’re not looking for it, you won’t find it and they’ll be back.

  49. Jeanie Says:
    April 4th, 2014 at 9:58 am

    Yes, everyone you must be VERY vigilant in finding ALL of their hideouts in order to eliminate them, they are sneaky and crafty little pests. Check every square inch of your infected area and check it at least 3 times, but I’d say check it more. Check it with natural light and check it with a flashlight etc. I had some cocoons that were spun flat under items, under matting, under dish drainer, under microwave, behind microwave, in the notched crevice of a lid on an unopened jar etc. Check under any shelf and drawer liner or matting, even if it looks like they can’t get under it- check anyway- they were under my adhesive shelf lining too. See my comment above from October 15th, 2013. GOOD LUCK!!!

  50. April Says:
    April 4th, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    The problem is i cant find ANY caccoons, larva or infested food anywhere in my apt. During the firstbeakout i did see larva and had fpund a cupboard of cerial that was infested, but gound larva crawling out of a small hole in my cealing near the cerial cupboard. The cealing above my cupboards is about 4 foot lower than the rest in my kitchen and i think they are coming from there. After i sprayed bug spray in there last time i saw no more larva but i still dont know what to do other than tearing my lighting down

  51. Jeanie Says:
    April 4th, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Hi April, I completely understand your frustration….they are a NIGHTMARE! Have you considered paying a small fee to have an exterminator come in, not necessarily to treat the home but to help you FIND or trace the pests? Or maybe a home inspector would have some prior experience or knowledge on where they could possibly be. I wouldn’t rule out the lighting fixture in the ceiling because where I found mine was in the most humid warmest area of my kitchen, including inside the back of the microwave. I don’t know if my info is useful to you but I’m trying to help because I know it’s impossible to eliminate them if you cant find all their hiding spots.

  52. April Says:
    April 4th, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Im on a very fixed income and its a very tight one. Im actually thinking of talking to my landlord because the problem started about 3 months after i moved in, and Im thinking that they may have been here before i moved i cant spray too much chemicals because I have a 3year old and i have bad lungs. Its to the point that i but food once a week and once its open, everything, including spices are being kept in the fridge. The moths are never near my cabinets. My kitchen is a great room, and i find them in the living room side of it only pretty much. Also in myy daughters toy room and the bedroom. Atleast 1 every two days. Sometimes az many as 2 a day. But NEVER ANY LARVA since the first time i noticed them.

  53. Jessica Says:
    April 4th, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Hey guys!

    I just wanted to share my success so far. I heard about a product called “No more weevils” from a friend. She lives in New Zealand and have been using this all natural product for a few years and have been bug free ever since. So I bought a tin (it’s pretty cheap) and put it in my pantry that morning it arrived in the mail. By lunch time I didn’t see one moth. (It’s quite normal to see a few fluttering around) That was 4 months ago and haven’t seen one since. There’s no larvae, webbing or moths. I’ll check in again in a few months and let you know if it’s still working!!
    I think I finally beat these buggers! :)

  54. April Says:
    April 4th, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Where can you buy it?? Is it available online anywhere or at walmart?

  55. April Says:
    April 4th, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    We dont have many stores around here but we have walmart and lowes. I just find it weird that there are NO web, caccoons or larva anywhere. So I dont know where else to treat. There are only moths!!!! Im ready to tear my hair out. My daughter is afraid of bugs and freaks out massivly when she sees one. Almost hypervenalates.

  56. Angela Says:
    April 5th, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    My husband bought some birds seeds at a pet shop. I saw a moth in it which at that time didn’t know what it was. Next day saw about 4 flying around my bird cage. told him that came from the bird seeds but he continue buying the seeds. One morning I looked up at the ceiling and saw a worm ugh how discussed and afraid I am of those. There was a few inside my cereal box. ugh how I screamed my head off lol……I threw everything away in that cabinet,well not me but my son I wouldn’t even get close to them. Now im afraid to go inside my kitchen, I been starving. what should I do. im afraid I will find more.

  57. Kayla Says:
    May 7th, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    So I was doing dishes at my work when I saw what I believed to be fruit flies hanging over the sink. Upon closer inspection I realized that they were in fact really tiny worms hanging from strings from our dry rack that we have over the sink. There were at least fifty of these little worms just dangling. Then I discovered I had them all up my arm! Anyways, I had to remove everything from the area and re-scrub all the dishes as well as the entire area.

    My question is, are these little worms the larvae to the moths? Has anyone else encountered them hanging from strings?

  58. learningpod Says:
    June 2nd, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    Had these once many years ago. I won a food basket at a Chinese auction and they were in one of the items. Anyway I threw everything out and cleaned all the cabinets real good. I kept all new dry goods in Ziplocs but nothing seemed to work. Then the simplest thing seemed to do the trick. I filled a bowl with oatmeal and left it on the counter for a while until all the wormy things were gone from the ceiling. Maybe a week or two. Then wrapped that up and threw it out. Poof, no more crawly things on the ceiling or in the food.

  59. Janine Baker Says:
    June 15th, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    I have had this problem before and googled – found lavender oil helped to repel the moths – what i didn’t know was that the gazillion of little crawly things had been repelled by the oil and had done a mass escape out of the kitchen and up the hallway – it was totally freaky – a few days ago something caught my eye and the cereal container in the cupboard which is sealed was full of them – the only place I have experienced them is in the cereal – ratz – loved that brand of cereal – could never eat it again…

  60. The Harvey Wilson Says:
    June 17th, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    I just experiences a Pantry Moth infestation. I didn’t even know of their existence before this. I found they love rice, i usually buy big 5kg bags and had to throw them out. I suspect they came from a bag of spelt flour i had in there rather than the freezer as normal.

    I used Pantry Moth traps and caught heaps, had one in the pantry and one in the adjoining room.

    I seem to have got rid of them (touch wood). I did a full clean of the pantry, binned anything that was infested or suspect. I thoroughly cleaned the shelves and walls with warm soapy water, then wiped a white vinegar solution over everything. I have also taped bay leaves to the walls and shelves.

    Since then, i have seen one moth and one larvae which i found after opening another bag of infected rice. Since then though, i have even seen any flying around.

    Some things I did think “oh i can save this” but in the end I decided that if it was suspect, it got thrown. It already cost lots of money throwing spoilt food, how much more will it cost if I keep some and they return. It was better to be safe.

  61. Matt Says:
    June 20th, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    9 months and my moth problem lives on. most of the stories on this page are exactly what I’ve gone through. I recently had an exterminator out, which seems to have helped slightly, but it hasn’t solved the problem. since the initial outbreak I haven’t seen any larva, but I do see the moths “doing it” (sometimes they have threesomes!). I have no idea where they are laying their eggs. I have no food for them, I only buy food that can be refrigerated or frozen, yet they still manage to find something. anyone know if they can lay eggs in spices?

  62. TRACY DVR Says:
    June 22nd, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Matt,
    Yes, they will show up in spices! We had a collection of various chili powders, and they were found in ALL of them. Some of these were so potent, that it hurt to breath near them, didn’t bother the moths in the least.

  63. Gayla Guest Says:
    July 3rd, 2014 at 12:10 am

    I, too, am battling these horrible creatures. I didn’t read every review, but the ones I did read do not talk about this. I have adjustable shelves, so there’s holes for the pegs. There are a lot of holes for the pegs! I use forceps with a very narrow end to pull out the larvae in these holes. It’s a very painstaking job but nearly every hole has larva. If you don’t have forceps or tweezers, a toothpick helps immensely when it comes to battling these moths. Hope this helps someone.

  64. Nigel Says:
    July 3rd, 2014 at 9:31 am

    I have had moths for two years. Never a sign of the larvae. Been using the sticky trap. Finally nailed it this morning. They are putting their eggs in the peg holes for the shelves (IKEA ). Spent two hours with a fine pair of tweezers cleaning them out. About 20% of the holes had signs of bugs.

  65. April Says:
    July 3rd, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Is there a stage in their growth where they are a blackish/reddish/brown, like caccoons? Or even empty shells maybe? They are hard and there is quite alot of white fuz around them. They were quite large, and some of them were in a row, others in piles, and they are about the size oflong skinny oval shaped lemon seed? Ive searched around my entire house, thrown everything out, bleached everything, gotten traps, sprays, bayleaves. Everything. I couldnt find caccoons, infested food, nothing. Well nothing but moths. But i was seeing atleast 2 moths every day. Then I was rearanging my daughters room because something smelled rotten and no matter of cleaning was taking care of it. I moved her dresser and underneith it was a dirty diaper. It was filled with about 1000 of the things i described. Any ideas if its related to the moths? Or should i be prepaired for something else?

  66. terry Says:
    July 7th, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    I found them in the pegs too. After a month of cleaning and throwing every out of the cabinets,I thought I was going to lose my mind b/c I kept finding the damn things on the ceiling.I had changed the linings in the cabinets; washed every imaginable thing in my kitchen 2 and 3X, I didn’t know what to do next. Then my cleaning girl had an idea and vacuumed all the peg holes. ALL GONE. about once a month I find one fly out when I open the cabinets. I kill it and that seems to be that. no more infestations. But when you kill these things you must put them in a paper towel or tissue and immediately take it out to the garbage THEY ARE HARD TO KILL. ALSO, everything goes into glass or plastic containers with screw on lids now. AND I don’t over buy any more.

  67. The Harvey Wilson Says:
    July 22nd, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    One month on and no sign of re-infestation. Doing what i did (previously posted June 17th 2014) worked.

    My pantry is cleaner that it’s ever been. I am now being cautious not to buy too much, i am sure the clutter of an overstuffed pantry didnt help.

    Everything now goes into a plastic or glass container. Though during my infestation, they still got into glass jars. I prefer containers without screw lids, i think they can navigate the screw coil and get in.

  68. chloe Says:
    August 11th, 2014 at 2:41 am

    Omg! We’ve been having moth problems soo bad!! I decided to search up ways to get rid of them and this popped up. At first we noticed mothes EVERYWHERE THEN I CLEANED MY BIRD CAGE AND NOTICED THE PILE OF BIRD SEED WAS STICKING TO THE CARD BORD. SO I GET MY LITTLE MINNIE BROOM AND CAREFULLY SWEEP THE TOP LAYER OFF. ALL OF A SUDDEN IT STARTSD TO MOVE. I QUICKLY TOOK IT OUT SIDE TO THE TRASH.NOW THAT I’VE FOUND THE NEST.. ITS TIME TO ELIMINATE THE STRAGGLERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’. So far we’ve used traps,common sticks, lavender buds(dried), ceded chips. And leave a bowl of soap and water near a lamp and they left!!!!!!!!yayayayayayayga

  69. Matt Says:
    September 2nd, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    I too am now moth free. it’s been about 6 weeks and I’m crossing my fingers that this is finally over. good luck to everyone here.

  70. Nancy Says:
    September 5th, 2014 at 9:16 am

    When we moved in to a new house, my family had an infestation that went on for a month or two. We did the major clean and toss and everything new went into Tupperware but we still saw the moths from time to time. Eventually, we pulled off the moulding at the join between the kitchen ceiling and wall and found eggs there. After another thorough cleaning and a new paint job, we replaced the moulding and haven’t had a problem with the moths since. We still keep most of our dry goods in Tupperware just to be safe.

  71. Janet Says:
    September 9th, 2014 at 3:49 am

    TOTAL INFESTATION! I keep throwing away food if someone was watching me through a window, would think I’m a lunatic- chasing these bugs around! Just when I kill some in one cabinet,…all lurking on the roof of the cupboard, I’ll circle back and find more! I have been diligent with checking food, but did not think to check all paper products. So GROSS. THANKS FOR ALL THE INSIGHT HERE!
    -wish me luck!

  72. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    September 9th, 2014 at 8:10 am

    Janet,
    Good luck!

  73. Sophia Hugues Says:
    September 21st, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Help!!!! i have these little moths in my kitchen and i think they’re those pantry moths, but they have been inn the house for years i have a lot of old cake mixes and stuff and one day i was going to bake a cake only to find these maggot worm looking things and moth balls DONT help!!!!!

  74. Dana Says:
    September 26th, 2014 at 4:53 am

    We just moved into our house in may and just today noticed worms crawling all over our ceiling. So glad I found this site! I cleaned out the cabinets with food in them, but didn’t find any webbing or larva. So going to try the peg holes! I think it must have been here from before because I have never seen anything like this! It is so gross! I have also had terrible stomach problems for the past few weeks so I’m assuming it has been from this too. Which makes me feel even sicker! Yuck!!

  75. The Harvey Wilson Says:
    October 9th, 2014 at 1:02 am

    I am still seeing the occasional moth flying around and procreating (not at the same time :P). Not sure where they are still coming from.

    I do know it isn’t the pantry. Months on and no re-infestation of the pantry so that’s a good thing. The bay leaves must really work.

    The sticky traps are still catching a few moths.

  76. Jean Bernard Minster Says:
    October 27th, 2014 at 9:01 am

    We too had an infestation of pantry moths, caused by a forgotten bag of birds seeds in a corner of the garage. The article above was most useful and we are getting the bugs under control. I must correct one of the entries above, though. Because our hardware store had only two SAFER pantry pest traps, we purchased also some TERRO ones. After minimal assembly, the TERRO trap looks identical to the SAFER trap, down to the size and color of the lure.

    I noticed that they performed very differently, the TERRO immediately caught numerous moths, but the SAFER basically none. I ran a careful side-by-side test. Over a period of 3 days, the SAFER trap only caught 2 moths, and the TERRO trap (basically identical shape, sitting next to it) caught so many (dozens) that it had to be replaced with a fresh one every morning. I verified these results with completely fresh traps, and even watched the moths come to the pair or traps and entering the TERRO, while ignoring the SAFER. Do not waste your money on SAFER traps, they work very poorly, almost not at all. You will only catch those moths that enter it by mistake. (In addition, the TERRO packaging is much more compact and easier to store)

  77. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    October 27th, 2014 at 10:13 am

    Hi Jean,
    Thanks for your info about Terro traps!

  78. Debbie McGovern Says:
    November 1st, 2014 at 2:18 am

    Well,looks like I will be recleaning with bleach this weekend. and buying bug strips?? One question though… Will they ever completely go away? Or is this going to be an ongoing battle? Should I start buying stock i bug strips??!!! This is disgustung. But thank God for thir website and blog.

    I appreciate any comments!

  79. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    November 1st, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Hi Debbie,
    Our pantry moth problem, which came from birdseed, went away after using the traps for a few weeks. Good luck!

  80. Dottie Witmer Says:
    November 2nd, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    Just discovered this site and am grateful..I have been finding little moths flying around and killing them as I see them not realizing what they were. Now that I have the information I will look for places they could be. I have a big tin of birdseed in my room and have kept adding to it so just got rid of that..I will go through my cabinets as suggested and scrub and throw things out! Thank you for the advice..I will let you know how it goes!

  81. Robyn Cole Says:
    November 3rd, 2014 at 6:42 am

    I have had a pantry moth problem for well over 18 months. Have used sticky traps, which are successful and have had no fresh larvae for over a year. But… my neighbour has lots of tiny moths flying around inside his house, so I’m thinking that the fresh moths keep coming from next door. Is this possible? I have been using fresh traps at least every 3 months and keep getting more moths.

  82. Kara Acre Says:
    November 6th, 2014 at 8:44 am

    Thank you so much for all the great info!! I have always been told to throw away all boxed food and clean, clean, clean… I had never heard of the pheromone traps for Indian Meal Moths before, although I have heard of the parasitic wasps, but only being used to control flies, so that is great to know! What I found most fascinating was how many people were saying they only bought ONE NEW THING LATELY… A bag of birdseed from Walmart. I have been going crazy trying to figure out WHY these dang moths are in my master bathrooms and close, until I read this!!! Thank you!! I have Button Quail that are housed in my husband’s bathroom, but I have probably 20 moths around my night light in my bathroom every night!! I never thought about them coming into my bathroom through the connecting hall. I never thought about the birdseed!!!
    Thank you all!! Kara

  83. clareese Says:
    November 7th, 2014 at 1:43 am

    what time of year should the Trichogramma wasps be released to get rid of pantry moths?

  84. valerie Says:
    November 9th, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Check the toaster, toaster oven.
    I found webs, cocoon webs in the inside toaster grill part.
    Threw that toaster out….
    completely grossed out.

  85. SashineB Says:
    November 13th, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    How do these pests get in sealed packages of food? I bought a box of oat bran (from a reputable, well-known manufacturer) and I put it my cupboard. I did not use it right away, but a couple of months later, I opened the sealed box. To my surprise, there were those little worms crawling around. Nothing else in my cupboard was affected or infected, so the source has to be from that box. It was completely sealed so it must mean that larvae was in the box at the time of manufacturing. But, don’t the food companies have better control? Does this mean that their supplies are easily infected? Thank you.

  86. laylalove Says:
    November 13th, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    So i just found a little white worm on top of my cabint and i thought its was nasty as hell then i see lil bugs flying so i kill them and i thought that was all only to find a lot in my pasta cabint i threw everything away it was a lot of worms and lil bugs everywhere i took my steamer and steamed my cabints i dont see any more and im worried because you all say they will be back i found the neast tho should i still worry i hate bugs

  87. Susan Says:
    November 27th, 2014 at 9:40 am

    I am sick of these, I threw out almost half of my pantry and wiped even the rails on my pantry with bleach..right when I thought i was done BOOM, 2 days later there were 10 in my pantry…I know how to get rid of these…IM going to put EVERYTHING in my pantry in the back yard whewre its -25 tonight. See if those buggers survive..And I will wash the walls with mr clean bleach and whatever I can get my hands to0…Ill probably throw all my lentils and rice out even though i have them closed glass jars and had not seen anything in them…My Gosh, this is grosser than mice..You get a trap for mice and Boom there done…These buggers keep on coming and it is gross!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  88. Markus Says:
    December 3rd, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Our home is immaculately kept. Saw these moths flying around and thought, what cute little buggers! Went downstairs to my workshop and saw more down there. That’s odd. Read this article and thought, BAM! There’s birdseed down there! An open bag none the less. Yup, full of maggots. Out it goes! Even found dead maggots in rags and INSIDE MY LEATHER WORK GLOVES. The moth level has gone down but is not completely gone. Here’s hoping!

  89. Chakra Says:
    December 4th, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Just ate a bag of rice cakes and found worms at the bottom. Sure enough, saw this article. And yes, I’ve seen these moths in our house not even thinking anything of it. And the worms look just like the ones I found. I don’t know if I ate any or webbing or what. I am so disgusted. I hyperventilated and puked. I thought it was maggots at first and now realize that just throwing out the rice cakes probably hasn’t solved the problem… I am scared to go home and realize I’m in more of a nightmare than I thought. Threw out boxes of anything that was already open. But after reading the comments of them being in unopened boxes.. I’m terrified.

  90. Reg Says:
    December 5th, 2014 at 1:36 am

    I had been seeing these moths for about a month and kept asking my kids if they had this moth. It seemed new to me. My kids just commented that they had lots of moths come in from outside. We live in Southern Nv. where it is warm and have had a ton of moths (not this kind) on windows at night. November 6th I found some webby stuff and worms in some old Bran Flakes. I googled ‘moths in food’ and found ‘pantry moths’ which I had never heard of in my 67 years. I read all I could find on it. Next morning my husband and I went to work on the 2×3 ft floor to ceiling pantry. It took all day. We searched everything. I threw out the infested cereal the night before. We threw out a lot of older stuff and put the rest in plastic bags in the freezer. (They are still in freezer a month later) One article said to freeze for 8 days. We found the pupae in the little webs in many places. It was inside my Kerr canning lid box, nothing edible there, in the little holes to adjust shelves, in anything that they could get into to pupate. The worms crawl into anything, not just food, to pupate. I took lids off everything. I found a worm along edge of a tupperware container, but it couldn’t get in. You must look under lids and open every box and look in bottom, also peak in outside on the bottom of boxes where glue closes the box. The worm crawls in everywhere. These eggs can live without growing into worms from 8 to 300 days, so you must be diligent for almost a year and kill every moth that hatches. We washed every can with vinegar water, took all shelves out and washed them on all edges and sides. One month later: At first (after cleaning the panty cupboard) I found a moth everyday, now I am only finding a moth about every 5 days. Every morning first thing when I get up and every night and in between I am looking for moths. They are generally on the ceiling, by a window, or on the curtain or blind. I don’t like that I will have to be diligent for almost a year, but it will be worth it. I ordered Catchmaster traps, but haven’t caught any moths yet. If you kill the moth as soon as found, it cannot mate and the female moth can’t lay eggs. Female moth only lives about 8 days, so kill it as it comes to view. Good luck, and I hope good luck to me also.

  91. Diane Says:
    December 9th, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    I had pantry moths and nothing here worked so I bought one of those fly strips and hung it in my pantry the next morning they were all stuck to the sticky strip, threw it in the outside garbage and hung another one, haven’t seen any new ones.

  92. Jackie Says:
    December 9th, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Battling these guys myself-thanks for the tips. After spending the majority of my day cleaning out a large pantry cabinet that I keep seeing moths and larvae in, i read this article and comments. After reading about coccoons in peg holes-i checked my shelves and sure enough stuck a toothpick in a hole and found a slimy larva!! Today-i cleaned out and then bleached every single peg hole-may have been the grossest thing i have ever done in my life. Started cleaning another pantry and found a closed container of steel oats i only bought a few months ago literally burst with the amount of larvae inside of it. All boxed and open foods are going in the trash. Hopefully this is the last i will see of these disgusting little creatures!! Also ordered some moth traps on amazon even though its been a while since ive seen a live moth.

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