How to Control a Pantry Moth Infestation

How to Control a Pantry Moth Infestation

Pest infestations can be tough on the mind, the wallet, and your time. If your home has a pantry moth infestation, another layer of frustration is applied as you might have little food left to salvage that has not been infested with the moths. With these helpful steps, pantry moth infestations can be eliminated and prevented in the future.


Finding out if you have pantry moths is step number one in the elimination process. The signs aren’t usually apparent until you discover damage wrought by the pantry moth larvae. Some of the signs of a pantry moth infestation include:

  • The moth itself in the pantry, or some small caterpillars.
  • Along the corners of packages or on the inside even, webbing or sticky secretions can be visible.
  • There can be an unpleasant odor emitting from the food container or even grains clumping together.

Even though by the name you would think that pantry moths only live in well, pantries…they can be found elsewhere. Some types of pantry moths enjoy animal-based fabrics and nest-like materials so checking other areas of the house might be a wise idea.

pantry moth in food


There are four different kinds of pantry moths, although one is the most common. The typical pantry moth we find in homes is the Indian Meal Moth. The Indian Meal Moth and Mediterranean Flour Moth both enjoy nesting and feasting in grains and flours. The Brown House Moth and White Shouldered House Moth, while they do enjoy the grains, cereals, and other pantry goods, they may seek out carpet-like materials or animal-based fabrics as another place to live. All these moths have similar wing colors of cream, reddish-brown, or grey and are generally around ½-inch in length.


Pantry moths prefer dark and undisturbed areas to eat, mate and reproduce. Besides an old forgotten box of cereal, these moths will stretch out further and spread into other areas to ensure they have plenty to eat. The larvae and pupa of pantry moths can survive for months without food, which makes eliminating an infestation difficult. The life cycle of the pantry moth lasts for about six months.


Once you’ve determined that you have a problem with pantry moths, you need to take steps to eradicate them from your house. 

clean food storage locations

  • Clear Out Food Storage: empty out everything from cupboards and closets containing dried foods throughout the kitchen.
  • Carefully Examine Food: Look through all open packaged food for signs of moths or larva. If any infested food is found, ensure it is collected and taken out of the home completely.
  • Vacuum and Clean: All shelves and cracks and crevices should be vacuumed thoroughly to get rid of food crumbs and bugs. Once you have vacuumed, empty out the vacuum right after use and remove it from the home. Then clean with hot, soapy water or water and vinegar solution.
  • Seal Cracks: Check for any cracks in the walls within the cupboards and seal so future moths don’t find their way in.
  • Final Inspection: Check over walls and ceilings as well as behind all appliances and wall hangings to ensure larvae aren’t hidden.


If you’re looking to avoid an infestation (or a resurgence), then understand that prevention is the key to your fight against pantry moths. Keep the following tasks on your regular chore list:

  • Properly Store Food: Ensure that food is stored in glass, resealable container or something airtight.This will ensure that moths cannot enter to get the food source.
  • Vacuum Regularly: By vacuuming moths in any life stage can be removed. It will also remove any crumbs that could serve as their food.
  • Setup Traps: TERRO® Pantry Moth Traps are great for prevention to alert you of the problem of pantry moths.

You can always count on TERRO® to help with whatever bug problem you have. Check out TERRO® on Facebook to share your story or discover others who have successfully used TERRO® products in their home. Subscribe to our eNewsletter for more pest-fighting ideas as well as exclusive updates on our products.



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