This article will discuss pantry moths in detail and then offer control methods which have been proven to eliminate infestations by breaking their cycle.


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These include the most common species which are know as Tropical Ware House Moths, Indian Meal Moths, and Mediterranean Flour Moths. In most cases, they were brought to your home with some type of stored food product. Examples would include flour, dog food, biscuits, pasta, cereal, dried beans, bread, spices, cookies, and other standard pantry items. Another common household item which can lead to an infestation is bird seed. The packaging standard for bird seed is much less than human food and therefore will contain a greater amount of contaminants such as insect eggs.



Many times these eggs will hatch after brought home. Developing larva will quickly find food in your home and before you know any are around, you have a pantry pest infestation. There are several other species finding their way into homes which are able to feed on spices, natural fiber such as cotton or linen and flower arrangements. Keep an open mind when dealing with such insects. Although most infestations originate in the kitchen or pantry, they may focus elsewhere in the home. Due to the wide range of pantry moths we now commonly find in any home, it is important to realize that populations can easily survive outside the pantry. Be sure to include all areas of the home when trying to identify the main nesting site.

If you are seeing small pantry moths hovering around your pantry, dogfood area, pet food storage bin or birdseed bin you probably have one of these pests. They do not fly well and will like to land in the area. Check out our short online video clip of a meal moth so you can get an idea of what they look like.


Bug Vacuum/ZapperHand Held ZapperPantry moths are easy to kill but you will notice they keep on emerging. However, they do create quite a mess when smashed and can be hard to clean off walls and ceilings. Use one of our HAND HELD ZAPPERS for quick and clean kills. It literally “zaps” them dead on contact and it’s easy to use. For less of a mess, the BUG VACUUM/ZAPPER is even better!

Hand Held ZapperHand Held Zapper:

Bug Vacuum/ZapperBug Vacuum Zapper:



Of course, killing the adults is fun, but it won’t solve the problem. You will need to break their cycle which means getting all stages. Crawling stages do not fly, but can be seen on counter tops and cabinet shelves. These creatures are small. In general, they are not much bigger than a grain of rice and are easily missed. Flying pantry moths are easier to see and identify as a pest. Their life cycle is similar to crawling pantry pests except the adult stage is able to fly.

Pantry moths develop by the following life cycle: egg, larva, pupa and adult. When the egg hatches, the larva will feed and then spin a cocoon where it will undergo metamorphosis.

See what these larvae look like in this video:

After it is fully developed, it will hatch and emerge as the adult. The adult has nothing but reproduction on its mind and will lay eggs quickly following fertilization. Adults will look for other places to lay their eggs. Expect these locations to be close to where the original infestation began. Although the duration of time will vary for different species to complete their respective live cycles, controlling each pest is the same. This video shows common adult behavior.


To stop the cycle pantry moth problems, you will need to do step one. This first step is to try and identify the infested product which started the problem. Throw it or anything you suspect as being infested away. If you are unsure about an item, place it in a clear plastic bag where you will be able to inspect it every day or two to watch for any moths that may be emerging. If you find moths accumulating in the bag within a month, you know the foodstuff is contaminated and needs to be discarded. To insure any item is pest free, store it in one these bags for at least a month. Pantry moths can take awhile to emerge so don’t be surprised if something is found to be infested as long as three months after you bring it home!



The second step involves the treatment of pantry moths. After completing step one, it’s important that you do a thorough application using insecticide to all the tight spaces, seams and voids where larva hide. Crack and crevice is the name we use to refer to this type of pesticide application. It is when the chemical being applied is done so to specific cracks where the pantry moths are most likely to be nesting. This type of application should be done with a tube injector which will enable you to get the product where it needs to be. With pantry moths, the larva will feed for several days and then seek a place to spin their cocoon and pupate. Although this can happen where they are feeding, many times they will migrate to other areas. It is very common to find them in the cracks between shelves, molding and door frames. These areas need to be treated and since there could be so many locations where they’re hiding, using a flushing agent type spray can really help.



D-Force AerosolDFORCE AEROSOL is such a spray. First, it works as a flushing agent in that will drive out any pest nearby where it’s been applied. This means you’ll effect any nearby pantry moths even if you miss entirely where they’re hiding. The active is also a contact kill so as it’s applied, hiding adults and larvae will die as soon as the spray touches them. This helps to break the cycle big time. And Dforce comes with a special injector tube that enables it to applied easily to key for easy application.

D-Force AerosolD-Force:


PT-Phantom AerosolNow if you want something odorless, PT-PHANTOM would be a better choice. It’s used just like the Dforce but has virtually no odor. Additionally, it goes on “dry”. This makes it ideal for sensitive areas like cabinets and other kitchen areas.

PT-Phantom AerosolPhantom Aerosol:



Pump SprayerD-Fense SC InsecticideFor homes or establishments that are large and using the aerosol can is both time consuming and costly. A more effective and cost efficient material to apply is DEFENSE EC. This odorless concentrate is mixed with water and applied to the areas where the pantry moths would be nesting as well as where they might end up going for egg laying. Apply it with one of our SPRAYERS. This method of application is far more effective and will prove to be easier for getting every area properly treated. This is especially true if you are treating a warehouse, stockroom or a house with large rooms.Using the Dforce for the cabinets and hard to treat areas and using the Permethrin for the big areas where you don’t have any but want to make sure you don’t get them is the best approach.

D-Fense SC InsecticideD-fense SC:

Pump SprayerPump Sprayer:



Meal Moth TrapsLastly, install some PANTRY MOTH TRAPS. These small glue traps use the female moths sex pheromone which will attract any emerging males. These newly hatched males have one thing on their mind – the smell of local female moths wanting to mate – and this trap uses that very scent as lure. Male moths cannot resist this smell and will readily seek out and enter the trap. Once inside, they will get stuck on the glue and die. Since adult male moths have nothing on their mind except reproduction, these traps will prove to be quite effective. Expect to catch a lot of moths.

Meal Moth TrapsMeal Moth Traps:


Meal Moth Suppression KItIf you want to capture both male and female moths, you will have to install the SUPPRESSING TRAPS. This latest design of meal moth trap uses both male and female pheromones. The trap itself is larger and designed with coloration’s that females find to be especially attractive. In badly infested structures, these traps will be needed if you wish to break the moth cycle once and for all. Where problems are more moderate to mild, the use of our standard Pantry Moth Traps should suffice. Regardless of the severity of the problem, the use of traps is very important when dealing with Pantry Moths. Only by catching and killing adult moths can you be sure that you are actively stopping the act of reproduction which leads to repopulation.

Meal Moth Suppression KItSuppressing Moth Traps:



Once the program of cleaning out, treating and setting out traps has been initiated, don’t expect to get instant results. Since nothing can kill the pupal stage of this pest, it will take some time for the population to die out and run its natural course. We’ve seen cocoons hatching for months following the initial treatment so the problem can linger. The good news is that if you treated properly with Dforce and/or Permethrin, the larvae should not be able to survive. This means the cycle will eventually run out.

Pantry moth traps installed will intercept adults before they are able to mate and lay new eggs. Theoretically, this means the only part left of the population will be the pupae. And since these hard shelled cocoon’s will not hatch and emerge till they are ready, it could be another few months before all are exposed and die off. During this time, don’t be surprised if you see some flying around. This is normal and to be expected. If you treated right and keep an adequate amount of traps installed, these adults will have no place to go where they can “do their thing”. Eventually the population will run out of pupa and therefore will be gone.


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Comments on PANTRY MOTH CONTROL Leave a Comment

May 8, 2013

wendy @ 4:38 pm #


I have a 3 month old. Are any of these baby safe?

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