How to Get Rid of Flour Moths

Flour moths are not only annoying but can ruin flour, grains, cereals, nuts and more!
Flour moths are not only annoying but can ruin flour, grains, cereals, nuts and more! | Source

I have only experienced an infestation with flour moths - often called pantry moths - twice in my life. Believe me, I have had enough! This past spring I encountered a flying insect or two around my kitchen pantry. I quickly did away with these little bugs and gave it no further thought. What developed later, though, was a full blown infestation of my pantry. Flour moths had invaded our boxed cereals, various flours, spices, and nuts!

The flour moths seemed to burst on the scene overnight and in terrible numbers. I quickly did some research and found how to permanently rid them from my household pantry. What ensued was a full blown reorganization of my kitchen (which had needed to be done anyway), cleansing of all kitchen cupboards, and repackaging foods in airtight plastic and glass containers. This is a quick summary of what I did to rid my pantry of flour moths.

How to Know if You Have Flour Moths

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If you have a flour moth problem, you will be able to spot them in your pantry and possibly on the ceiling in your kitchen.A typical indication of flour moths is the fine webs left behind on flours, grains, cereals and nuts.
If you have a flour moth problem, you will be able to spot them in your pantry and possibly on the ceiling in your kitchen.
If you have a flour moth problem, you will be able to spot them in your pantry and possibly on the ceiling in your kitchen. | Source
A typical indication of flour moths is the fine webs left behind on flours, grains, cereals and nuts.
A typical indication of flour moths is the fine webs left behind on flours, grains, cereals and nuts. | Source

Did You Know That Flour Moths:

  • can get into plastic bags and soft plastic containers;
  • can linger on the rims of containers and lay eggs;
  • can leave larvae and eggs in your foods;
  • are also called pantry moths.

Step 1: Remove Everything From Your Pantry

I worked with one cupboard at a time to make this task easier. I would recommend working on the most infested cupboard first to eliminate the majority of flour moths early on. This makes the rest of the job easier and not quite so gross(!)

Step 2: Cleanse Your Cupboards with a Solution of Bleach and Water

You will need gloves for this step. Add 1 tablespoon of bleach to 2 cups of warm water. Use a rag or washcloth to wipe your cupboards from top to bottom. Be careful to wipe down all edges and inner doors, too.

OXO Food Storage Containers Are Best

OXO Good Grips 10-Piece POP Container Set
OXO Good Grips 10-Piece POP Container Set

I chose to use OXO Good Grips Containers because they are BPA free, made of clear plastic so that foods are easy to see, and have incredible tight sealing lids. Well worth the investment!

 

Step 3: Carefully Examine and Repackage Uninfested Foods

This step will take some time to complete. But, if you are not careful, you could put flour moths back into your cupboard. Right now it is clean and any remaining eggs have been killed by the bleach solution. So, take your time and do this part right.

As you examine your foods, check for:

  • flour moths,
  • larvae (small worms),
  • and lots of strands of webs.

These are clear indications that your food is infested. You should immediately dispose of these foods outside of your home.

Repackage all uninfested foods in solid plastic or glass containers. Do not use the disposable types of plastic containers that are currently available as flour moths can penetrate these. You will want to use heavy plastic containers with airtight lids if at all possible.

For my project I used the OXO brand food storage containers because they are BPA free and made of clear plastic. I like to be able to see what's in my pantry. The lids also have an airtight seal which is perfect for eliminating flour moths.

How to Package Foods in Airtight Containers to Prevent Flour Moth Infestation

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When you repackage items into solid glass or plastic containers, consider all different types of packages:  paper flour bags that are opened and stored in ziploc bags, swivel open spice containers, boxed cereals, bags of nuts, and grain products.  The top of my nutritional yeast container (brewer's yeast) had a tendency to not seal well.  I decided to repackage it into a solid plastic container with an easy seal lid to prevent infestation from flour moths.Nutritional yeast poured into a solid plastic container.  Remember to place a label either in the container with your product or on the outside.  All of your grains, cereals and powdered goods tend to look the same!Nutritional yeast stored safely in an airtight plastic container.
When you repackage items into solid glass or plastic containers, consider all different types of packages:  paper flour bags that are opened and stored in ziploc bags, swivel open spice containers, boxed cereals, bags of nuts, and grain products.
When you repackage items into solid glass or plastic containers, consider all different types of packages: paper flour bags that are opened and stored in ziploc bags, swivel open spice containers, boxed cereals, bags of nuts, and grain products. | Source
The top of my nutritional yeast container (brewer's yeast) had a tendency to not seal well.  I decided to repackage it into a solid plastic container with an easy seal lid to prevent infestation from flour moths.
The top of my nutritional yeast container (brewer's yeast) had a tendency to not seal well. I decided to repackage it into a solid plastic container with an easy seal lid to prevent infestation from flour moths. | Source
Nutritional yeast poured into a solid plastic container.
Nutritional yeast poured into a solid plastic container. | Source
Remember to place a label either in the container with your product or on the outside.  All of your grains, cereals and powdered goods tend to look the same!
Remember to place a label either in the container with your product or on the outside. All of your grains, cereals and powdered goods tend to look the same! | Source
Nutritional yeast stored safely in an airtight plastic container.
Nutritional yeast stored safely in an airtight plastic container. | Source

Have you ever seen a flour moth?

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Step 4: Repeat the Process for All Remaining Cupboards

I must admit that this was an arduous task. All in all it took me 2 days. But, the good news is, my kitchen is now free of flour moths and so much more organized! Spices are alphabetical; baking supplies are stored together; even my cookware and bakeware have newly designated kitchen homes. I chuckle at the thought of how many will think I went WAY overboard in the task!

Flour Moth Traps are Excellent to Prevent Reinfestation

Step 5: Place Flour Moth Traps in Your Cupboards to Catch Any Remaining Moths

I had no idea there was such a thing as a flour moth trap. But, they can be helpful to prevent reinfestation. I did purchase 2-3 of these to place at the back of my cupboards to catch any "late bloomers" or Klingons.

***CAUTION***

Vacuum any flour moths found on the ceiling or remaining in your pantry on a daily basis. Dump your vacuum bag OUTSIDE immediately. If dumped into the garbage inside your home or left to sit in your vacuum closet, you are inviting flour moths back into your pantry.

Step 6: Vacuum Any Flour Moths from Your Kitchen Ceiling

This is a step that will be ongoing for 1-2 weeks after your cleaning. Flour moths do tend to hang around on the ceiling. Do a quick vacuum of the ceiling on the day you repackage your foods. Then, vacuum any flour moths on the ceiling on a daily basis or as they occur. Dump your vacuum bag outside immediately after vacuuming the insects. Otherwise, they can infest your pantry all over again!

Prevent Flour Moths from Returning to Your Kitchen

Use Solid Glass or Plastic Containers with Lids that Seal to Prevent Flour Moths

My reorganized flour moth proof pantry with beautiful OXO brand food storage containers.  I did the same with my spice pantry and my grocery storage cupboards.  Ahhhhhh, no worries!
My reorganized flour moth proof pantry with beautiful OXO brand food storage containers. I did the same with my spice pantry and my grocery storage cupboards. Ahhhhhh, no worries! | Source

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