Eleminating Pantry Pests

Eleminating Pantry Pests
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mothWe all get them at one time of another-pantry pests-Indian meal moths, grain/flour beetles and many other tiny bugs that infiltrate our pantries, cupboards and storage areas.

Pantry moths most likely got into your house with some type of purchased food. They are found in flour, dog food, biscuits, pasta, cereal, dried beans, bread, spices, cookies and very often in bird seed, because it's not regulated the same as food. Store birdseed, dog food and that type of thing in a shed or garage if possible. Many times the eggs hatch after you bring these items home, and before you realize it, you have a problem.

The larva are very small, not much bigger than a piece of rice. The moths are small too, but easier to see and identify. If you see small moths flying around, especially near or in your cupboards or pantry, then you need to start searching! Look everywhere--grains, nuts, spices, dried peppers, and even things you wouldn't consider suspect. If you find it, you'll know. Most likely you'll see webbing, or larva. If you throw out that item--outside in the trash-and use a few of the following tips you may get on top of it quickly. A note on the Indian meal moth---they may not be limited to kitchen areas if you've had them for awhile. Check all dark places for the webbing.

Traps: Buy non-toxic moth traps that use pheromones to lure the moths. One trap per room is all you need-more than that will confuse the moths and it won't be effective. Usually this method will work if combined with cleaning and finding the source of the moths.

Alternative trap: Mix boric acid with cornmeal-at a 1 to 3 ratio. Place mixture in jar lids or washed tuna cans in pantries and cupboards. Keep this away from kids and pets.

Clean: Remove everything from cupboards or pantries. Vacuum out every nook and cranny-top and bottom! Take the vacuum outside, remove the bag, and place it in a garbage bag. Tie and place in the trash can---don't keep it near the door. Afterwards, wipe down the cabinets with a vinegar solution. Use a sponge or a rag, but make sure it's really saturated. You want to get in all the crooks and crannies.

Essential oils: consider washing everything down once a month or so, and putting cotton balls with 10 to 15 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil in the corners of the cupboards, pantry and closets.

Extreme cases: IF your moth infestation is really bad, you will need to throw out all items made of grain and the other things we've talked about today. Get rid of it all and clean, clean, clean. I came close to having to do this, but managed to limit it to one cupboard that I knew was the problem. I also had them in the basement and discovered it was birdseed I was storing. I now store that in the garage in a large can with a tight lid.


What can you do to prevent pantry moths? Sometimes nothing, but you can follow these tips to minimize the chance.

-When you purchase items that I've mentioned today put them in the freezer for 3 days to kill anything that may have come home with you.

-Store your rice, flour and cornmeal in the refrigerator or freezer. I do this mostly when I buy a lot of extra that doesn't get used right away. Don't mix old and new grains or flour. Use up the old, then wash and dry the container before storing the new batch.

-Place bay leaves in your grains--but this is only prevention. It won't kill the eggs or larva, but it will usually keep them away. Use 2-3 leaves in each container.

-Watch your rodent population. The pantry pests can breed in their nests AND in the bate traps for rodents.


Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.


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