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At first I thought they are plain moths, until I noticed some larvae climbing towards the ceiling, always in the kitchen. I made an inventory and discovered a package of hazelnuts which contained more larvae and excrement than hazelnuts. I threw away all open nuts, grains, flour and chocolate packages I had, and started keeping all of them in tightly closed containers after opening. I also placed a pheromone trap in the kitchen.

But I am still seeing them, both larvae and adults, weeks after the big throw-away-day. I went again through the pantry, but this time, I didn't find contaminated food, just a few larvae outside of food containers. Periodically throwing the stuff away is too expensive, and it makes no sense if it doesn't get rid of them. Any idea how to remove the infestation? Also, are they just unpleasant, or can they present a health risk (e. g. as carriers of microorganisms which infect the food)?

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You may need to keep your dry goods in sealed plastic containers until you're sure you're rid of the infestation ... and that's not just after opening. Anything in paper or cardboard is at risk for being contaminated; it's possible that thin plastic bags might be too. –  Joe Mar 19 '11 at 20:35
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Unfortunately, they can definitely get through thin plastic bags. –  Jefromi Mar 20 '11 at 1:11
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They can get into sealed containers as well - I have found them stuck around the thread of jars with screwtop lids, and around the edges of plastic takeaway containers. You can put a bit of plastic wrap inside the lid of the jar before you screw it down, that seems to help. –  KimbaF Mar 20 '11 at 8:36
    
@Kimba: Sometimes that just means that they tried to get into sealed containers, and couldn't get past the actual seal. Be careful, obviously, but sometimes it's not quite as bad as it seems. –  Jefromi Mar 20 '11 at 19:25
    
If they are inside of a sealed container, that usually means that eggs have hatched since the item was contained. You'll see that in rice quite often. –  michael Mar 20 '11 at 21:37
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4 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

In addition to throwing things away as needed and using the pheromone traps, cleaning the pantry thoroughly once a week with hot water and a disinfectant (both shelves and outside of containers) helps.

They don't like bay leaves. Try scattering a couple of bay leaves on each shelf, closest to the 'high-risk' items like flour, rice and oats.

Good luck - they're a real nuisance!

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I like the idea to use bay leaves. I hope it helps. Especially as I don't have a freezer to kill the suspected eggs. –  rumtscho Mar 25 '11 at 21:57
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I had this same problem after I accidentally left some bird seed out for several months and the moths started there before invading my kitchen. I think you are going about things the right way: traps and closed containers. The only other thing I would add is to put things like flour and rice in the freezer, as this will kill off the eggs. (don't worry about eating them, they won't hurt you). Finally, have patience. There are probably some spots you haven't found where eggs will hatch, but if you remove the food source, they will eventually go away. Good luck.

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I have used essential oils either wiped over the cupboard surface walls or sprinkled on the shelves. Peppermint and spruce. It smells so clean and fresh too. Bay leaves inside the containers of rice. flour etc work too. And don't affect flavour too much either. Place some around the pantry shelves too.

I also agree on the above suggestions but not the spray mist insecticide. There is enough of these toxins in our food already without adding more. Sorry but I can't understand people having them constantly pervading the air they breathe either. Guess we all have our views on that though.

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You need an automatic insect spray system for your pantry. The Robocan or Mortein brand seems to work well for us. Not sure what is available in your home town, but there should be something, or you can order it from Amazon?

Typical Robocan system

They tend to leave a stick residue if used in a confined space. Place as high as you can, and put some newspaper in front to catch any sticky droplets

The continuous pyrethrin mist means as each new larvae hatches it dies

We also use these to control ants in bulk food stores. Any ants that come inside will die if they stay around, so no ant nests get setup between boxes, or behind racking etc

Probably best to first empty out the pantry and scrub it clean, top to bottom. Then check and clean each container before putting it back

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This thing creates perpetual all-natural toxic* fog in a room where I store food, cook, eat and breathe. Call me an opportunistic treehugger, but I'd rather keep the weevils. *Yes I know that pyrethrin is one of the safest insecticides, and that it is made from beautiful flowers. I've always liked the looks of datura blossoms too. –  rumtscho Mar 20 '11 at 21:36
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