Trust me, Don’t Let This Insect into Your Pantry
During the last few weeks, we've been noticing little flying bugs in our pantry. We thought nothing of it until we started to find the bugs and their disgusting larvae in some of the containers.
Yes, this sounds gross and trust me it was, even though we seemed to catch the problem just in time. Solving the petty problem was not fun.
It's called the Plodia interpunctella, otherwise known as the Pantry Moth or the Indianmeal Moth. And like many insects, it tends to search out the perfect living quarters and then multiply as fast as rabbits do in a lettuce garden, but probably faster. We feel like we extracted these "pesty" critters just in the nick of time.
The pantry moth, which grows to about 1/4 of an inch, usually comes into your home on items you purchase at the grocery store. They spin a web and lay their eggs on and inside boxes of food and once inside your home, they begin to spread. Oh yeah, the pantry moth can slip into creases in cardboard and chew through thin plastic liners designed to protect your food. These things will get into everything! For more on the bug and to see a better photo, check it out here on Wikipedia.
Our experience this weekend was that the moth flies around and tends to hang out in hiding places like under shelves, in and on boxes, and on the ceiling. They love sweets, grains, cereals, and snack bins - 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 difficult to detect.
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 we had to clean all containers that weren't air tight. Then we used Lysol and water and we scrubbed down the entire room. We paid careful attention to the shelves and all of the cracks between the shelves and walls because these critters love to hide in small places. Then, we got rid of any bins and containers that weren't air tight and we put everything back in.
We already spent the money on plastic air-tight containers previously, which successfully kept the bugs out. Unfortunately, we needed more and this weekend we purchased a bunch more and are trying to keep everything that's open in some sort of container.
Here are a few pictures of what it looks like now.
I realize it was a pain, but we now have a completely clean pantry, we actually know what we have, and what we're missing. We even tried a new trick to hang snack bags from a wire and clip. Now, let's see how long we can keep this pantry completely organized, and of course free of pantry moths.
I'll report on this later in the week to see just how successful we were.