grain moths

What Are Grain Moths and Why You Should Get Rid of Them

In this article, we’ll discuss grain moths and why you need to get rid of them ASAP. Also, we’ll offer a few tricks you could try to keep moths away from your pantry.

But, what do you know about these intrusive pantry moths ?

What Are Grain Moths?

Grain moths, also known as pantry moths or Indian meal moths, are a type of winged insects that feed on flour and other grain products.

These annoying pantry pests can make a home of packaged products in your pantry including flour, dried fruits, dried beans, pet food, dried flowers, dried food, and other contaminated food.

Often, the larvae will spin huge amounts of silk inside food packaging and stored products, which is hard to notice. This silk includes fecal pellets and eggs, which later hatch inside food products. Therefore, preventing a pantry moth infestation can be quite tricky.

But have you ever wondered how these Indian Meal Moth found their way into your pantry in the first place?

pantry moths extermination

What Do Pantry Moths Look Like?

Pantry moths are small, brown insects with narrow wings that are fringed with hairs. Adults are typically only about 1/4 inch long, but their larvae can be much larger.

These larvae are light-colored and often have dark spots on their bodies. They also have a voracious appetite, and they can quickly destroy an entire bag of rice or container of oats.

How Grain Moth or Pantry Moth Infestations Start

A few scenarios could lead to a pantry moth infestation.

Sometimes, the cupboard or pantry itself might house meal moth eggs. Yet, even if your housekeeping skills are immaculate, grain moths can still make it to your pantry.

The bigger reason why you might find a pantry moth inside a box of flour can be traced back to the food-packaging process. Indian meal moths probably laid some of their eggs at the packaging facility, which, again, is hard to notice.

how to get rid of pantry moths

How does this happen, though?

After grain moths mate, the adult females look for the perfect food source to lay hundreds of eggs directly into.

Then, after the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the flour or dried food to grow several weeks. Next, they develop a cocoon, then get out a full-fledged grain moth. Of course, their growth and development rely on a few factors such as:

  • Temperature
  • The type of food they’re eating
  • Moisture levels

The lifespan of a grain moth can be 1-10 months based on the previous factors. Sometimes, these nosy insects can live for more than that.

As you can see, the way that a grain moth can find its way into packed food is discreet. Therefore, most people tend to discover infestation in their stored goods after they’ve become adults.

how to get rid of moths in the kitchen

Do Grain Moths or Indian Meal Moths Cause Health Issues?

Are pantry moths harmful? No, grain moths have no negative effects on human health.

So, why do you need to get rid of pantry moths ASAP?

First off, those winged insects can multiply quite fast, not to mention that these flying insects are hard to discover. So, even though they’re harmless, you definitely wouldn’t want your food with adult moths in it.

Second of all, they’re pretty tough to get rid of, especially if they’ve become fully-grown in your pantry.

So, what should you do if you notice grain moths inside your kitchen pantry?

getting rid of pantry moths

Get Rid of Grain Moths or Pantry Pests

Here are a few things you could try to eliminate pantry moths.

1. Identify Infested Products

It’s quite tricky to make note of a grain moth infestation. However, you may still be able to mark their trails in food sources and stored foods like dried fruit, bulk grains, metal containers, and plastic containers.

You should look for larvae inside infested foods. Look inside different sorts of food supply including pet foods and bird seed food containers. You’d see small holes in the packaging if these items are infested with pantry moths.

They also like laying eggs on food preparation areas. So, non-food items can also be infested with indianmeal moth.

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2. Take Any Infested Items Outside Your Food Storage Areas

As soon as you notice a pantry moth infestation in any type of stored food or food packaging, take this product outside your house. Poor housekeeping can be a culprit for infestation.

If not, then the right thing would be to dig a hole in your backyard and bury the infested products inside. You can also wash the infested containers in warm water or soapy water.

3. Wipe the Infected Areas With Vinegar

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Use undiluted vinegar to wipe cans, containers, jars, or boxes that have contained the infested food. Also, wipe the inside of your kitchen cabinets where these items were stored.

The vinegar will kill any remaining pantry moths larvae that may be anywhere near the products you’ve removed.

4. Clean Your Pantry Thoroughly

Of course, the previous steps aren’t enough to get rid of grain moths once and for all. To do that, you should consider cleaning your kitchen cabinets thoroughly. You’d even find larvae in unopened packages.

First off, pull out shelf liners and wash your pantry shelves using liquid dish soap and water. Even better, you may want to replace them with new ones.

Next, vacuum the shelves, focusing on the corners since these pantry moths tend to hide there, and them empty the vacuum bag outside the house.

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5. Store Grain Products

Until you’re sure that the problem is over, you can’t use the pantry to store your food. Instead, consider placing your grains in your freezer.

If several weeks have passed with no sign of these pantry pests, you can restock your pantry. However, it’s always a good idea to check for grain moth infestation every now and then.

Remember, early detection of infestation will help you solve it more quickly.

How to Keep Your Kitchen Pantry Moths-Free

Of course, you can always use a few prevention tips to keep those annoying pests away. You should start by following these steps.

pantry moths

1. Use Moth Traps for Pest Control

You need not worry about a potential infestation with the right moth traps. These things work for pantry moths as well as other moths including clothes moths.

Moth traps work by attracting the these stored product pests with a pheromone lure, which then stick to a sticky surface inside the trap.

Once the male moths are stuck, these flying insects can’t escape and will eventually die. They won’t then be able to fertilize female moths.

Just place them near potential food source or areas with warm temperatures or food inside.

2. Use Airtight Containers or Sealed Glass

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This tip can be helpful if the grains or other foods you’ve brought from the store has grain moth infestation. Once you place infested flour or affected items in a tight-sealing container, the pantry moths larvae won’t be able to get out.

Therefore, you’ll only need to throw away the containers of this jar without having to clean the whole cabinet.

3. Put Moths Repellents to Use

Some herbs can repel pantry moths , so you may want to keep those inside your cabinets to keep moths at bay. These herbs include:

  • Mint leaves
  • Bay leaves
  • Cedar
  • Lavender
Pro Tip:

Replace these herbs with fresher ones every once in a while so that they don’t lose their effects.

4. Keep Your Pantry Clean

If any food messes take place inside your pantry, clean them at once. Also, you should scrub and wipe your pantry or cabinets a few times per year.

This should prevent grain adult moth infestations and alert you to any potential trouble. So, you’ll be able to act quickly before things get out of control.

5. Freeze Your Grains Before Putting Them in the Pantry

A nice trick you can use is to put any flour, cake mixes, etc. in the freezer right after buying them. As you know by now, the low temperature will kill any eggs or larvae that might reside in the packaging.

Also, if your freezer is large enough, you can store all your grains in it and leave them there.

pantry pest moth traps

Wrapping Up

While grain moths aren’t harmful to us, their existence in pantry food can be hard to challenge. Therefore, you’ll need to get rid of pantry moths and other insects like clothes moths as soon as you find out about them.

Hopefully, after reading our guide, you should be able to dispose of grain moths and prevent them from ever returning to your cabinets.

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