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Apr 6, 2007 09:24 AM

Ick!!! The moths are back. [moved from General Chowhounding Topics]

I know this has been discussed at length but it's pantry moth season again and they're back with a vengeance at my house! This year in January, before they make their return debut, I did a major cleaning with bleach/water. Pretty much tossed everything and started fresh. Put everything new in clamp down cannisters..even my spices. I filled the support holes for my shelving with silicone caulking and still they came back. I saw them a month ago in my local grocery store. I don't hesitate to tell the store manager in any store if I happen to see them flying around. Here locally, I've seen them in almost every supermarket. I don't know how I'm every supposed to be rid of these pests if the stores have them. I put out Safer Pantry Traps and that helps but it's still nasty.

I'm just venting.

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  1. I know you are venting but I heard bay leaves are the ticket. I am having a relapse as well, but I didn't go full speed ahead with the bay and I am replacing all my canisters as you did. Pretty sure mine came from the natural grocer's bulk bins, saw them there the next week, told him and he didn't seem too concerned about it.


    1 Reply
    1. re: tobycat

      A call to the health department would make him show a little more concern!! Just remember that these moths start out as caterpillars IN YOUR FOOD before they hatch and start flying around. So when you see them in the bulk bins, think about all the ones you don't see!! Also, once home they are very, very hard to get rid of, you end up throwing a lot of food away. If you Google Pantry moths you will learn far more than you want to know.

    2. My mother-in-law always had a kitchen full of moths, so my father-in-law put a bug zapper on the counter, next to the stove.

      I'm praying it's not hereditary.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mamaciita

        hahaha!! Hereditary. Sorry to laugh but I've been plagued for the past few summers. I feel like if I don't laugh, I'll go nuts. I was so proactive this spring and they still came back. Ziplock bags and mason jars don't work. Clamp down seal jars are what I use now for everything including spices. And still, I have them. It's awful

        1. re: mrsmegawatt

          I am irritated when I open a new box of cereal made by a very well known manufacturer beginning with K and find cereal beetles. Bought the day before so know that they havent come from my kitchen.

          This happens fairly regularly so we now keep all cereals in tupperware to stop cross contamination.

      2. Since the adoption of my new nuclear policy several years ago, things have improved substantially. So far the bugs have been stopped at the borders and have not infiltrated with any dirty bombs.
        After the last really annoying attack inside my territory, I cleaned out the cabinets and pantry, throwing Lord knows how much into the trash, running everything through the dishwasher and swabbing surfaces with disinfectant. Everything is now stored in plastic or glass containers with tight-fitting lids. I don't buy more than I need and I check every box and bag that comes into my house.
        The nuclear policy demands microwave treatment of the most likely carriers of larva and eggs: flour, cornmeal, etc.and the bags that they come in. Even if they don't appear to harbor pests, they go into the MW for a few minutes. When the contents are cooled, they are emptied into plastic and the bags go straight into the trash and out of the house.
        It has been working and the United Nations is apparently too busy with Iran and North Korea to worry about my nuclear policy. If the bugs get the bomb however...

        4 Replies
        1. re: MakingSense

          My approach is similar, but I use the cryo-pathic rather than nuclear.

          Quite simply, every carbohydrate candidate that comes into the house goes straight into the freezer for five days. This will kill the eggs and all other stages of the life cycle.

          Your nuclear approach, admittedly, provides more emotional satisfaction. Once a person has suffered from grain moth infestation, a very primitive urge kicks in to take an active and aggressive role in the demise of these little winged rascals.

          To cure my first infestation 10 years ago, I put all carbs into the chest freezer at the same time. No carbs were left in the house for those 5 days. It worked.

          On the 2nd infestation a few years later, the freezer worked again, and it was at that point that I instituted the "freeze it when it comes thru the door" approach, which has worked.

          I like the idea of the microwave for incoming maintenance. Have you encountered any problems with "unintentional overcooking", or items that need to be nuked carefully?

          1. re: FoodFuser

            Never have had problems with nuking things. About 5 minutes for a 5 pound bag of flour. It's warm when I take it out of the MW and I make sure things don't get damp from condensation. I cool things well before storing to avoid mold.
            I have had larva survive freezing in some masapan Christmas ornaments that I bought in a street market in South America. A friend told me they often had larva in the flour they were made from so they should be put into the freezer for a month or so. Didn't work. Froze them for a few months. Stored them in a closet and when I got them out they were full of holes and dust where they had been eaten through.

          2. re: MakingSense

            If you have freezer space, try placing the known offenders in the freezer overnight if you don't want to microwave. The cold kills them off too. In my case, the major offenders turned out to be dry pet food, so now everything is in tight containers and double zip lock bags. Safer traps seem to work well too, but you need a lot of them. No luck with the bug zapper -- perhaps my moths are too smart for that!

            1. re: RGC1982

              I just have to comment on putting things in tight containers. I kept my cornstarch in a large mason jar...(look away if you're squirmish about moths...my sister about died when I told her this) I needed to make a slurry and got out the jar. I unscrewed the lid and out flew an adult moth. I don't believe the moth had gone through the cycle in the cornstarch. I had just taken the cornstarch from the freezer and filled the jar the day before. I think it was one who was flying around my kitchen and had worked it's way around the threads of the jar finally making it inside. Needless to say, all that cornstarch went down the drain!

          3. Once the disgusting pests are flying, fly paper will catch them, especially if you hand it near the only light bulb in the room.
            Whenever I bring flour in, I stuff Bay Leaves in the folds of the bag and then double bag the thing. (Totes Bay Leaves in the large plastic container.)
            With bulk flour, the flour gets split and placed in ziploc bags the next day. And if there are bugs, it goes back. Sam's personnel don't really know how to handle open large bags of flour, but it IS satisfying to get money back.
            I like the idea of freezing...and will do that with beans and flour products. Thanks for that one.

            1. We use approximately fifteen traps for our 2600 sq. ft. house. Most are downstairs in the kitchen and laundry room, because that's where not only the grain-based people foods are but the animal foods as well. There are two traps in each food cupboard, one in each dish cupboard, one on top of the fridge and one over the microwave. When we moved to LA County from Tennessee, we apparently brought a lot of moths with us. After seven years here the major infestation has finally become an annual event instead of a constant condition, and our bill for moth traps (damn, they don't give these away, do they?) considerably lower.

              Oh, and I have kept my Nashville habit of keeping all the flour and cornmeal in the fridge. Rice and pasta are much less of a problem here, so I can keep those in the cupboards with the traps, and they've mostly stayed unmolested.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Will Owen

                Well I see I'm not alone. That's a lot of traps Will. I see them flying in my bedroom and I don't know why they congregate in there. We have a trap next to the tv because they are attracted to it at night. I don't know if these pantry moths like clothing as well. My family laughs at me because if I see one, I'll drop what I'm doing and chase it around trying to kill it. I used to use a fly swatter but more recently won't hesitate to smash it between my hands. The kids think I'm psycho.

                1. re: mrsmegawatt

                  No, they aren't attracted to clothes. Unfortunately, it sounds like you have regular moths. Buy traps for those and put them in your closets! I also do the run around and smash technique.