Modern homeowners are moving away from the trend of visiting the supermarket several times per week and opting instead to maintain well-stocked household pantries. Although this is a great way to add convenience to you life, as well as to ensure that you've got a good store of rations in the event of a natural disaster, you need to be aware that a pantry moth infestation can destroy many of the contents of your pantry very quickly. Here's what to do if you discover pantry moths in your home and how to keep them from coming back after you get rid of them:

Act Quickly Once You Identify a Problem

Here are three signs of a pantry moth infestation:

  • Larvae -- you'll most likely notice it in cereals, grains, dried herbs, powdered milk, dried pasta and many other types of dried foods. The worms are tiny, white, and develop brown and black heads as they grow larger. The eggs are often present in the food that you bring into your home.
  • Cocoons -- these look like standard, papery moth cocoons and can be found in high places such in the corners of ceilings and tops of cabinets.
  • Full-fledged adults -- adult pantry months are brownish in color, one-half inch long, and are nocturnal. Like other moths, they are attracted to bright lights.

You need to take immediate action once you notice any trace of a pantry moth infestations.

Purge and Clean Thoroughly

If you can identify the source of the infestation, such as a particular cereal box or bag of rice, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and discard it immediately. If you suspect that more than one food item has become infested, you may need to discard the contents of your pantry entirely with the exception of canned goods. Pantry moth larvae are capable of chewing through most packaging materials, including cardboard, and since they can reproduce several times within the course of a year, it's best to take steps to ensure that you've thoroughly eradicated the problem. After you've removed any and all suspect food items, you should:

  • Remove everything from pantry shelves, including the paper, and vacuum up all crumbs. Wrap the vacuum cleaner bag tightly in plastic and discard immediately in an outdoor receptacle.
  • Scrub the shelves thoroughly will a bleach-based cleaning solution and allow them to dry completely If possible, remove the shelves, and be sure to pay special attention to cracks and crevices because these are likely to contain pantry moth eggs.
  • Install new shelf paper.
  • For an extra layer of protection, clean the area two or three times and allow to dry thoroughly after each round.

You will also need to take steps to prevent a reinfestation of pantry moths. Here's what to do:

  • Only purchase small quantities of grain and dried pasta products.
  • Freeze products for several days after you purchase them to kill any pantry moth eggs that may be present.
  • Store dried goods in plastic bug-proof containers in your pantry.
  • Keep grain products that you only use infrequently in the refrigerator.
  • Keep birdseed and pet food stored in plastic containers in the garage rather than in your household pantry. Birdseed in particular can harbor pantry moth eggs and larva.
  • Hang a pheromone based moth trap in the center of your pantry area to take care of any stray moths that may find their way into your home.

Keep in mind that your most potent weapon against pantry moth infestations is constant vigilance. The sooner you notice eggs or larva, the more likely it will be that you will be able to easily eradictate the problem. If you can't get rid of the infestation on  your own, you may want to call a local pest control company. To learn  more, visit