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Food Moths: Do They EVER Go Away?

Food moths are one of my many pet peeves (along with people wearing stinky workout clothes and men making rude comments at women running outside).

I had these moths in my home as a child and I remember screaming at my dad, pleading for him not to squish those poor innocent creatures. Now, I can't kill them fast enough. They multiply like crazy and everywhere I turn, I see the tiny little grayish brown bug.

If you've ever had to deal with these Indian Meal Moths, you know how disgusting and frustrating it is. Here are some tips to get rid of them once and for all!

  • You need to find the source and get rid of it. Go through all the food in your house. Look in the cupboard and in your pantry. Get rid of any opened boxes of crackers, cereals, flour sacks, oatmeal containers, breadcrumbs, herbs, or spices - anything that's open, just chuck it. Even check opened containers of bird seed and dry dog food (that was the source of my moths - yuck!). I know this seems like a waste, but when moths lay eggs, it's hard to tell. Sometimes you'll see fuzzy cobweb kind of material in your foods, but sometimes not.
  • Take all the food off the shelves. Take a wet sponge with disinfectant, and wipe down all the surfaces. I know this is a pain in the neck, but you've got to make sure you're starting with a clean slate.
  • Once you buy all new food (since you had to throw most of it out), you can put it back on the shelves. But once you open it, you need to seal it in either ziploc baggies, plastic containers, or glass jars with lids.
  • Foods that moths love, like oats and flour, store in ziploc baggies kept in the fridge.
  • If you see any whitish colored larva with brown heads, kill them. If you find any moths, definitely kill them. And if you see 2 moths mating back to back like these suckers, I'm sorry, but you've got to kill those too. At least they'll die happy.

Fit's Tips: Once you finish all this hard work, it may take several months to get rid of every last moth. Keep doing what you're doing, even after the moths have gone. My whole wheat flour lives in the fridge now and everything I've opened always gets sealed in some way. I never want to have to go through the pain of dealing with an infestation again.

Join The Conversation
kerneschick2005 kerneschick2005 10 years
My mom always puts new flour, oatmeal, etc into the freezer for 48 hours before placing it in the pantry, then she stores it in plastic bags or containers...that seems to be working really well.
magita magita 10 years
these moths are pure evil...we had some a few years back and I'll be damned if we didn't throw EVERYTHING out and call three different exterminators to no avail. And just like the story, they were in some dry dog food where I never thought to look. I always keep dog food sealed in big plastic containers now. These moths even got into unopened bottles of gatorade...they're like little flying houdinis
Luxury-Diva Luxury-Diva 10 years
My skin won't stop crawling! I have never seen this before! If I did I would probably pass out cold!! UUUGGHH!!
JustSomeChick JustSomeChick 10 years
Oh ew ew ew!! My downstairs neighbor had this problem, and I am so glad they didn't find their way to my apartment. But now I am paranoid and want to throw all my food away!
JKe895 JKe895 10 years
These things remind me of weevles! Are they the same or no because you pretty much have to do the same for both otherwise, ugh!
Butrfly4404 Butrfly4404 10 years
I agree about taking it back ..and about your cat!! it looks a lot like mine.
grl-in-the-world grl-in-the-world 10 years
Season, your story is freaky! I hope you took the product back to the store! p.s. your avitar kitty pic is super-cute
Season Season 10 years
I brought home a box of Mac and Cheese from the grocery store and when I poured it out into the boiling water...GIANT friggen weevels, the likes of which I've never seen before. Absolutely the stuff that nightmares are made of let me tell you. Since then (even though it never sat in the cabinets) I have little ones in my flour, cake mixes, etc. I've taken to throwing everything out and then putting all my new stuff into clear rubermaid containers...blech.
Butrfly4404 Butrfly4404 10 years
Hey! that was a rough comment, Rebewki! That's like saying only dirty kids get head lice (they like clean hair better!!). I'm so darn afraid of getting flour bugs (I didn't know they were moths) that I throw any dry product that's been in the cabinet out and keep my flour in my fridge. I've never had them personally, but a friend of mine got them in her cream-of-wheat. Blech.
MysteriousCats MysteriousCats 10 years
I really know what you mean... :( Everything in my shelves go in ziploc baggies. I really hate those moths!
jessiedallas jessiedallas 10 years
i've never had a month problem either...BUT at our new house the other day we saw one the size of the palm of my fiance's hand! it was huge...slightly random...
Sweet-Adeline Sweet-Adeline 10 years
One can have the cleanest kitchen and pantry, but if you buy a product with the "critters" already there in the package, you have be proactive. It is not a question of cleanliness, rebewki.
Rebewki Rebewki 10 years
Who keeps their home nasty enough to even have LIVE bugs in their food? Nasty! ~Rebecca~
GeikoSera GeikoSera 10 years
God, I've been fighting these buggers for so long and I can't agree with you enough. I wish they'd just go away too. :(
Phil Phil 10 years
gah, I had that problem a couple years ago. I have a fear of any bug that will give off spores while flying around (like moths) so every time I saw those things it would scare the bejesus out of me. And then I'll be baking something and all of a sudden I see a little grub-work looking thing and I'd have to throw the entire bag of flour out because I'm a germophobe. Then a couple weeks later I'll see this disgusting cocoon type thing while digging around a bag of walnuts. It took so long to get rid of 'em, I thought I'd have to resolve to eat out until my lease was up. :/
bpjedi bpjedi 10 years
If you have a big fridge and limited cabinet space, just keeping everything in there is a good way to go, and can help you avoid other pests, like mice and cockroaches, too.
caitlinp86 caitlinp86 10 years
I've never had a moth problem before but now I know what to do!
wackdoodle wackdoodle 10 years
What on earth? I've never seen such a thing before. Are these anything like weevils?
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