I didn’t intend to turn the pantry situation into a big guessing game, though I suppose I was quite cryptic with my description. However, if it was a guessing game, Lauren would have won. No ants, no sir, we had MOTHS. Pantry Moths. Indian Meal Moths.
I didn’t even know these were a “thing”. Sure, I’d heard cedar closets are good for keeping away moths, but I never thought much about it… especially in our PANTRY. I found a couple of these guys flying around and bought moth balls. Then I started doing my research. Moth balls are TOXIC… duh, right? They kill moths. But the fumes are supposed to be pretty darn harmful to us, too, and with Hailey and Koda around, I was up for taking chances, so I tossed the balls. (That’s what she said.)
While trying to figure out what to do, I couldn’t help but wonder
GROSS. Where did they come from?
We bring them in, unknowingly. Then can arrive in food that we buy that already has moth larvae in it. Moths prefer and feed on grain-based foods, like flour, pasta, cereal, breads, cookies and beans. They can arrive in foods that are already prepackaged. Ew. They also can get into our homes via reusable shopping bags. Oops. Guilty. I never even thought to wash mine. Now they’ve been washed twice in HOT water and detergent.
So, what’s the solution?
Everything I read said not to mess around with these guys and to do a total pantry overhaul. So, with a heavy heart, I cleaned out the pantry.
First, everything got pulled out, and a huge portion got thrown away. Even though I didn’t see evidence of an infestation (no moths flew out when I opened certain packages and I didn’t see much webbing, which is evidence of their existence), I didn’t want to take any chances.
Please note, that even buying things in bags doesn’t necessarily keep moths out. These bags had tiny holes in them, so they got tossed. Tear.
Then, I removed all the shelving.
Supposedly they can attach and lay eggs on shelving and again, I was taking no chances.
Then I scrubbed down the walls, every crack and crevice with a water and detergent solution. I got out cotton swabs for the hard to reach places. I’m so glad I did, I found little webs and who knows what else in the tiny areas.
I won’t lie, this took a long time. It wasn’t a fun day for anyone.
Finally it had all been scrubbed, but I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted to make sure everything was gone, so I decided to paint. How often to you get a chance to paint your pantry anyways, right?
After my hard work I figured there was no way I could get the shelves clean enough to satisfy me, so we bought new wire shelving.
I cleaned the floors and pronounced my pantry the cleanest in all the land.
Then, I refilled it with the food I saved, wiping down every container before putting it back on the shelf.
It feels fantastic to have a totally spic ‘n span pantry and hopefully I’ll never have to deal with this again. How do I plan to keep moths away?
- Washing my reusable grocery bags with HOT water.
- Keeping food sealed tightly. No more rolling down a bag of crackers and cereal and thinking it’s good enough.
- Keeping all food in hard plastic (or glass) air-tight containers
- Storing all grain-based items in the freezer for the first 4 days after purchase. The freezing temperatures will kill any moth larvae that may be in the food. This is especially important if you buy organic food from bulk bins (GUILTY).
- Hang a sachet of bay leaves, cinnamon, mint leaves and/or lavender in the pantry. The scent acts as natural moth balls, deterring the little suckers.
Have you ever had an infestation?
What was it?
How did you get rid of it?
How do you keep little pests away?