Belief me, Do not Let This Insect into Your Pantry


Over the past few weeks we’ve noticed tiny fly bugs in our pantry. We didn’t think about it until we found the beetles and their disgusting larvae in some containers.

Yes, that sounds gross and believe me, even though we seemed to recognize the problem just in time. Solving the little problem wasn’t fun.

Photo by Bill Keeler / WIBX

It’s called Plodia interpunctella, also known as the Pantry Moth or Indian Meal Moth. And like many insects, it tends to seek out the perfect living spaces and then multiply as quickly as rabbits in a lettuce garden, but probably faster. We feel that we extracted these “plague” animals just in time.

The pantry moth, which can grow to a quarter of an inch, usually comes to your home with items you buy at the grocery store. They spin a web and lay their eggs on top of and in boxes of food. Once in your home, they start to spread. Oh yes, the pantry moth can slip into folds of cardboard and chew through thin plastic sheets designed to protect your food. These things will invade everything! You can find more information about the bug and a better photo here on Wikipedia.

Our experience this weekend was that the moth flies around and tends to hide in hiding places such as under shelves, in and on boxes and on the ceiling. They love candy, cereals, cereal, and snack containers – something we no longer own. The larvae laid by the flying creatures are like tiny white inch worms that can easily crawl into stored containers, pots and pans, and boxes of food. They are hard to see.

Here’s how we got rid of them.

We had to empty the entire pantry and clean every can and container we wanted to keep. We threw out everything that was open and had to clean any containers that were not airtight. Then we used Lysol and water and scrubbed the entire room. We paid careful attention to the shelves and any cracks between the shelves and walls because these animals love to hide in small places. Then we removed all the containers and containers that weren’t airtight and we put everything back in.

We have previously spent the money on airtight plastic containers, which has successfully kept the insects out. Unfortunately we needed more and this weekend we bought a few more and are trying to keep whatever is open in some sort of container.

Here are a few pictures of what it looks like now.

Photo by Bill Keeler / WIBX

I realize it was a pain but we now have a completely clean pantry, we actually know what we have and what we are missing. We even tried a new trick of hanging snack bags on a wire and clip. Now let’s see how long we can keep this pantry fully organized and of course free of pantry moths.

I’ll be reporting on this later in the week to see how successful we have been.

Photo by Bill Keeler / WIBX

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