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I lived in New England for years and dealt with the cockroach problem. I lived in Houston for years and dealt with the ants, cockroaches, and the really big cockroaches (the 3 inch long ones that fly across the room and land on you when you are changing your clothes...yes, think the worst).

But not until I moved to SF did I encounter "pantry moths". I am so frustrated. When I first noticed them they were contained in my chile cabinet. Whole dried chiles, ground chile, and nuts. But I have a bug phobia. I could not possibly clean out that cabinet. By the time my husband agreed to do it, the moths had invaded the baking cabinet...all my various flours, sugars, chocolates, etc., gone.

So we (he) threw all away, washed and sterilized with bleach those cabinets. Still empty...I don't know if if I can ever bring myself to use them again. We trapped many of the moths with Safer traps. We had a moth hiatus for a few weeks.....but they're back. I only have two cupboards left: the herb cupboard and the pantry which between them is $1000's worth of food. Everyday when I open the pantry I have a feeling of dread. If a moth flies out I am doomed.

Oh, I also had the house fumigated...didn't bother the damn moths one bit. Someone must have a solution. Please help!

Lobster.

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Pantry moths or Indian moths as I know them, always a shock to those of us who have moved from colder climates. They seem to thrive here on the West Coast. (I'm sure there are threads that have dealt with this in the past but here goes....)

Once you have cleaned them out the only way to keep them at bay (and that only works if you don't bring them back in with new purchases - often from bulk stores) is to keep everthing in glass or heavy plastic containers that are completely sealed. The little buggers can eat their way through regular plastic bags so the trick is to use heavy duty containers that seal perfectly.

Once I did this I have almost never had a problem. Occasionally as I said before they can be reintroduced in contaminated bulk items. Distasteful as they are I would rather deal with them then 3 inch flying cockroaches or ants!

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So sorry IrishCream. Whatever is in jars or cans in your pantry can stay - they like chocolate and dried fruit, that's the first thing to go. You have to go through the pantry and get rid of especially mixes in boxes, rice, dried beans, flours, etc. And once that's done, wipe down the outside of the jars and cans that are left, cleaning out the cabinet, paying special attention to any nooks and crannies where the larvae can go to incubate. If you can't bear to throw something away, you can freeze it for a week and know that it will kill both the moths and the larvae. The larvae migrate - so you will want to do this just as soon as you can. Sorry you're going through this.

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I have opted to keep the things they like best in the freezer. If that is an option for you I do most heartily recommend it. Also, they are repelled by bay leaves, so I put those in the containers of the items I have to keep outside of the freezer due to space issues. I really really want to get a tuckerbox, but we'll see.

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I used to have them too, and still get them once in a while if I've lost track of what I have in the pantry. The main thing is not to store food. Buy it and use it. It's easy for me because I work in a food store. But if you are used to buying flour, chilis, etc. in large quantities, you might want to rethink that and buy less.

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I have had these buggers more than once in Michigan. I think I finally have a system down to keep them out of my kitchen. After the last infestation, I invested in hard plastic containers for everything grain related (rice, flour, etc.). Whenever I buy rice or flour or other grain products, they go into the freezer for 24 hours. This will kill any larvae that are lurking in the package. That's usually how they get into your house - through something you buy in the market. I do the bay leaf thing too - figured it couldn't hurt. I got a bag of them at the Mexican market pretty cheaply and put them on every shelf.

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Hot Shot No Pest Strips. It is recommended that you keep them one cabinet away from any food. I hang one in a remote corner of the kitchen. Eliminates moths.

"Last week Uncle Vinnie came over from Sicily and we took him to the Olive Garden. The next day the family car exploded."

--Nick DePaolo

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Believe it or not I get those pantry moths in Brooklyn. If you live near a big park or botanical garden in NYC you get pests otherwise unseen in the big city.

I find that the really go for flours, chiles, rice, and dried beans. They don't care about sugar or corn starch.

My solution is to re-bag all items that they like in heavy duty freezer ziplocks, and to seal them carefully. If I see a moth in the house, then I know I have to go through everything in the pantry, where I'll usually find a contaminated item that I throw in the trash. I've never needed traps. I usually see the problem go away if I look carefully enough and stop the contamination early. If you see the larvae crawling around you've waited too long and you're in trouble!

Edited by SethG (log)

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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Unusual suggestion in addition to the rest. Get a cat. :smile: In one place I lived, we had the problem, and we put up fly paper which sorta helped but it's gross. Then we ended up with a cat, and somehow the problem stopped at the same time...he's a mighty bug hunter. :)

Joanna G. Hurley

"Civilization means food and literature all round." -Aldous Huxley

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Unusual suggestion in addition to the rest. Get a cat. :smile: In one place I lived, we had the problem, and we put up fly paper which sorta helped but it's gross. Then we ended up with a cat, and somehow the problem stopped at the same time...he's a mighty bug hunter.  :)

Well, I have ten (lazy) cats and they've never gone after a pantry moth.

In general I have found that flour etc. need to be stored in sealed glass containers. But I never thought of freezing, I'll start to do that now.

Can you freeze dried pasta?????

*****

"Did you see what Julia Child did to that chicken?" ... Howard Borden on "Bob Newhart"

*****

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Can you freeze dried pasta?????

I don't see why not. Make sure it's wrapped well, and don't leave it over a week. That amount of time ought to kill anything that's along for the ride, but I wouldn't think the pasta would be damaged.

Edited by jgm (log)
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...

Once you have cleaned them out the only way to keep them at bay (and that only works if you don't bring them back in with new purchases - often from bulk stores) is to keep everthing in glass or heavy plastic containers that are completely sealed. The little buggers can eat their way through regular plastic bags so the trick is to use heavy duty containers that seal perfectly.

Once I did this I have almost never had a problem. Occasionally as I said before they can be reintroduced in contaminated bulk items. Distasteful as they are I would rather deal with them then 3 inch flying cockroaches or ants!

Storing all grains, flours, rice, beans, bread crumbs, chiles, dried mushrooms, etc in sealed plastic tupperware has worked for me as well. I keep ground chile and paprika in the freezer.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Yeah, we had those durn moths here in Jersey too. Doesn't really seem to matter where you live, it's the plastic-bag storage, as mentioned above, that encourages them. Throwing out the contaminated grains/pastas etc. & storing the new stuff in sealed plastic containers or jars did the trick here too.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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Timely subject! I was ready to do ANOTHER google to look for help! I opened 'general' and here it was!

During the summer, I had a terrible infestation in dried fruit. Tossed almost the entire cabinet contents including all the small spice containers. Scoured the shelves, bought all new stuff and froze it all for 48 hours, put bay leaves everywhere inside packages and out ----- and thought I was finally on easy street. I even had several of those moth traps with pheromone, lying here and there as a lure to trap the male moth.

Not so! Even tho I thought I froze everything before it went in the cabinet, I must have missed something, because day before yesterday I saw a moth and sure enough --- they were back!

So back to basics again! I tossed, scoured, rebought and everything new is in the freezer. Also some new traps are lying around, and fresh bay leaves are everywhere.

What I will do this time, that I didn't do last time is use heavy zip-lock bags for the grains and dried fruits, and look for suitable jars and containers.

When I first had an infestation ------ aeons ago, I heard about bay leaves and they worked for years and years. But now there are more grains in my cabinet than I've ever had. Couscous, quinoa, different rices and crumbs and so on. Could it be the foodie generation is the cause? LOL! I even saw them INSIDE of unopened packages of Kasha. Not the box --- the hermetically sealed plastic package. They never got out of the package, but they were alive and well inside!

Also --- I read somewhere that before Jan. 2000, all spices and herbs were legally radiated. When Y2K came, the law ran out and all those little containers started bringing in the eggs and whatever. During one infestation, I checked each and every container, and sure enough, just under the screw cap, on the screw 'line' there were little cocoons with the worm inside.

Today, when I was in an A&P -- a large busy one, I saw a moth. I checked the plastic bags of brown rice. Sure enough! There were worms on the sealed edges of the packages!! The plastic packages I did buy, (from another brand) were washed thoroughly before they went into the freezer.

Sorry for the long rant, but it was therapy for me!!

BTW, I'm in Northern NJ. Those bugs live anywhere and everywhere!

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...They certainly do live in NJ but not in my house anymore!!!

I thought I dumped everything... I got the traps, the damn traps get fuzzed up so fast from their hairy little wings....

I threw out more stuff took all the spices put them in a 2 gallon zipper bag and froze them...got more traps

Started buying 1 big storage container a week at 12 bucks a pop

pasta boxes go into 2 gallon bags...as do breads, bread crumbs and cereal

I gave up and threw out everything not in a can...they were in all the jar rims

cat ate about 1 moth a week

MUST CLEAN

nooks, crannies, spider webs, behind the stove, behind the fridge, seems in the counter top/backsplash

dont forget the dog/cat/hampster food....20 pounds of infested cat food, she probabley didnt mind but

you will win

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

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Why are these things around so much, lately? I don't remember them as a kid, and not when I first married (45+ years) and even up to about 30 years ago. Were they always there and I just never noticed?

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I have what may seem a really dumb question: leaving aside the (totally understandable) "ick" factor of the bugs' presence, what harm can they actually do to one? Do they carry disease? If one inadvertently ingests one, can it make you ill? I mean, if I have an item that's obviously infested, it's going right in the trash in three seconds flat. But what if it's only a really tiny infestation and, erm, one just fails to notice?

(Okay, now I'm visualizing eGulleteers around the globe making mental notes to never ever dine at my house. :laugh: )

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I've never managed to find a tiny infestation. Once I find one moth or larva, there's always something crawling or cobwebbed with cocoons somewhere. I don't know of anything dire that would happen upon ingesting them, but once a foodstuff has become more bug than pantry item (as seems to always be the case once I find even one sole moth), it's history.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Because pet food and bird seed are not regulated and inspected like food for human consumption, they are a major source for these pests. In the retail store and the home, the larve can easily migrate to the human food packages. :shock:

Carpe Carp: Seize that fish!

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I've never managed to find a tiny infestation. Once I find one moth or larva, there's always something crawling or cobwebbed with cocoons somewhere. I don't know of anything dire that would happen upon ingesting them, but once a foodstuff has become more bug than pantry item (as seems to always be the case once I find even one sole moth), it's history.

Right! There's no such thing as a single moth. Last infestation, when I put out scent traps, I rarely saw a moth, but MANY got stuck in the traps. You see a moth and for sure there are going to be maggots somewhere. One box or bag with larva means that everything has been visited.

Sam - Bird seed is notorious! I keep all mine in a metal garbage can in the back yard. Maybe I should toss some bay leaves in with the seed! What do seed stores do? Use professional strength stuff? Sometimes I see moths in the stores, and sometimes I don't.

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I've started to put seed and grain in the freezer overnight before storing in my pantry. This has made a huge difference and seems to be nipping the problem in the bud.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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