How to get rid of pantry and flour moths

Cupboard and pantries are homes to moths

Cupboard and pantries are homes to pantry moths, flour weevils and maggots

If you’re like me, it’s seems that every time you dare to cook a meal from scratch, you end up having to throw one of the ingredients (i.e. brown rice or flour) out and run back to the corner store to buy a new bag because those damn, pesky pantry moths were living in them. We’ve all seem them in our cupboards.

How to get rid of pantry moths

Stupid pantry moth (aka flour moth) taunting me from my ceiling

Pantry moths almost inevitably seem to be in our grains, flour, nuts and seeds, but also go after foods with high sugar content like dried fruits, candies, cereals, cocoa powder and icing sugar. If you have pets, watch out for their food as well.

Eight (8) quick steps to get rid of pantry moths, also known as flour moths, and flour weevils:

  1. Remove everything from your pantry or cupboard and thoroughly clean the shelves with soapy water.
  2. Dry thoroughly before you put anything back.
  3. Inspect all your food. If you see webs in the corner of bags, bits of grains stuck together, grains hanging from the top of the bag or worse, the actual pantry moths themselves, throw the food out!
  4. Remove all food from plastic packaging and place in airtight sealed glass, ceramic or hard plastic jars. Pantry moths can actually poke holes through plastic bags.
  5. If you must use Ziploc bags, double bag them.
  6. Do not roll up plastic bags with an elastic (like I used to do with my rice). The moths will make their way into them.
  7. Place dried bay leaves in the corners of your shelves and in your flour, rice and grain containers. They deter pantry moths and flour weevils.
  8. Place all your containers back on the clean shelves.

Prevention is key so clean your cupboards and pantries every few months to deter them from coming back.

Remove dry food from plastic bags and place in jars

Moths can poke holes in plastic bags so place in airtight containers instead


If you run into maggots, like I did below with my roasted almonds, the same due care and attention above will help get rid of them. If you want to kill them naturally, place them in boiling water and wash your garbage bin out to prevent them from coming back. They like the smell of anything rotting. Watch out for dried fruits like dried figs. I once bit into figs only to have maggots crawl out of my mouth. True story!

If you do discover maggots, check your ceilings as well. They tend to make their way up to the top and hide out in ceiling corners. Get them down with a broom and throw outside or place in boiling water if you want to be sure to kill them. If you see their parents hanging around, aka house flies, kill them with a fly swatter.

Watch out for maggots in your nuts

Watch out for maggots in your nuts and dried fruit bags

Happy moth cleaning!

65 thoughts on “How to get rid of pantry and flour moths

  1. OMG!!! So its a flour moths, im getting crazy now thinking where this thing coming from, gosh i thought its coming from wood or walls. This moths is a nightmare, i have to hire a cleaning lady to clean my kitchen especially the pantry i kept seeing moths flying around my kitchen so when we clean it we saw lots and lots of maggots and moths and cobwebs in our dried foods especially in rice and flour, we threw everything away i mean everything!!! So then i went grocery shopping and after a few days their back!!! Im so hopeless till i found this site and read all your testimonys and found out im not alone. So tomorrow i will clean everyhting again, ill try the vinegar and soap and put bay leaves. Only one question do i put bal leaves inside the jars (with foods) or just leave it out? Thanks a lot!

  2. Hovex Pantry Moth Traps – one trap per room. Bought at Woolworths Supermarket. You will be amazed how many pantry moths you catch on this when placed in your pantry!!!

  3. Well, these darlings have migrated to our upstairs bathroom. I’ve vacuumed every nook and cranny and vent I can find – all the corners and along the ceiling and now they are worse than 2 days ago when I did this. It’s like I disturbed their space so they are going to take revenge on me.

    We figure the dampness is making them happy.

    After reading this I am going to mix up a spray of vinegar and essential oils and spray the bathroom like crazy. I have 2 traps in there and not a single moth in either. Meanwhile traps in my kitchen always need replacing.

    Kitchen has been cleaned, food tossed, frozen dry goods, etc. and they will appear now and then but in the bathroom it’s the worst.

  4. Rather than open apparently uninfested cardboard boxes, I pop them in the microwave for 60-90 seconds, enough time to cook them. If they contain webs or larvae when opened for use the package can be pitched.

    Any one know how successful vinigar is in killing these critters. I obviously don’t want to use an insecticide where our foodstuff is stored.

  5. I am about to go crazy fighting these moths. I thought I was going to get away with plastic containers, NOT! Last night I went to make cookies and got into my plastic container that I keep my recipes in and found it infested with the moths and larvae. They can get in plastic containers. I’m switching to glass. I just hope this doesn’t last all summer. Good luck and God bless everyone!

  6. the eggs that hatch out as larvae do come in any food stuff. I now freeze all for 3 weeks as I read about this time frame.
    I have used the moth traps for many years, cutting down the population, and done serious cleaning of every cupbord and drawer, spraying the cracks with home defense, and i still have moths. I will add bay leaves everywhere. Heard about the ultasonic repellers, but I do not want to chase them around. If they kill it would be great. I have them in several closets, as well as bathroom and kitchen. I have 9 traps set in my house (quad-level)

  7. We thought we were ahead of them. Washed every cupboard, counter wall and through out all food not in a can. Today, we look up to the ceiling and larvae were on the ceiling. Vinegar is what we googled for. Today, back to scrubbing the ceiling with fantastic with bleach and they just started dropping.

  8. I’ve just dried some figs. I alternated between outdoors during the day in metal screened containers and in the oven at around 100 to 130 degrees during the night (with a quick blast to 170 degrees for 15 minutes).

    Now what? Do I still need to put them in boiling water, dry, and then put in double plastic bags?

  9. I googled flying moths and chose this particular urban girl site. It was extremely helpful. Starting with the initial 8 steps to rid your home of them to all the comments in the thread. Thanks to everyone. Thank God for leading me to hear all others who have the same probs. I particularly liked the definition of the larvae as being the start of the moth. I can identify better with that than the term maggot. Think butterfly thoughts. Irregardless the bay leaves, glass jars with tight-fitting lids and freezing newly purchased items are such good tips. I disagree with the microwave idea. I did that once with brown sugar. It cooked whatever and then spoiled with a very bad odor. Thanks again for this site

  10. I have been infested with moths and have cleaned out the pantry item by item. I found larva not only in the nuts and food but in flip top lids, on the rubber seal of my blender,in the crevices of my chafing dish,under the lids of cardboard boxes,cardboard is their favorite,on the underside of coke bottles,in the ridges of water bottles, in the crevices of individually packaged vitamins,inside the roll of foil layers, inside the cardboard tubing of foil, paper towels,and cling wrap, inside the food saver plastic roll in layers,under the lids of jars, in a closed plastic jar of chocolate and nuts. Nothing was untouched including all my appliances. I tossed all flour, nuts etc. Washed every can (I found them in the ridges of cans) and container and left Pantry PestTraps out just in case. I fogged the pantry as well. The only question is will the fogger kill the larva? There are so many nooks they could get into and start another cycle.
    This has taken up so much of my time!!!!!!
    Thanks for the freezer idea and Bay leaf. I will be using those suggestions to hopefully prevent another infestation.

  11. Not sure how redundant this message will be, but I have had a pantry moth infestation recently, which I have 100% taken care of! I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE those little buggers. The solution to having this issue, is: 1.) Throw away all the stuff that has the eggs, larvae, bugs, etc. in it (look for grains, fruit, granola, certain kinds of nuts, cereal, spices, anything with carbs in it that you store in the pantry/cupboards. 2.) Take all the rest of the food OUT. 3.) Clean/scub all surfaces THOROUGHLY with vinegar, bleach also seems to work well. 4.) Look for additional bugs for the next few weeks, and kill any remaining bugs/larvae/eggs at once/right when you see them. You’ll know when they’re dead, when there is no more sign of them anywhere. Make sure to keep anything in the pantry/cupboard that is a starchy food/carb in tupperware containers, etc. from now on. Flimsy plastic bags are NOT going to help you here. Hope this helps.

  12. Please help I don’t know if I should go to the hospital or not. We got some food from a friend, then came to find out while I was putting thing in my pantry I found out that there was weevils in the items. I once I noticed I went threw items again very close. Haven’t seem them since.

    Now it has been a couple of months later and I noticed we have an abundant of flies on our house and months in the pantry. I just noticed there were maggots in some beans I was going to cook. So I went back through my pantry and found more in my rice. I threw all items away and noticed that there were some on my shelves. So I expected everything as I took everything out so I could clean and ended up throwing two trash bags full of food out due to infestation.
    But before I saw maggots in my party I was eating sOme wheat thins and some fell out of the box while I was watching tv. I ate them since they fell on my blanket and not the flore. When I got up to go get me something to drink I turned on the light and saw maggots crawling on my blanket where the wheat thins fell. I pulled the bag out of bow and there were more in bottOm of box. I threw away I was so disgusted not knowing if I might have eaten on. O went in the bathroom to try and throw up. Unfortunately I could only get a little to come up. Will I be ok or do I need to go to hospital. I don’t want maggots in my stomach.

  13. Hi All,

    Read every message and feel bad for all of you. I came across a single maggot that definitely came from a bag of chapatti flour that I bought yesterday.
    Anyway, I made some chappatis and after finishing the last one, I returned to the worktop to wipe it down to discover to my horror, an ugly white maggot gliding across quite quickly!! After screaming my head off, I checked the bag and saw a little round hole and a clump of white fluffy stuff.
    I threw all the flour out- a 10 kilo bag! Bleached everything, thoroughly washed everything that came into contact with the flour.
    I feel sick but after reading all the comments above, I haven’t encountered it on such a scale as you guys have and God willing, I wont. I’m worried that any flour particles might carry unhatched eggs- shudder. I had a terrible ant infestation this summer and it was horrendous.
    Gonna get the bay leaves.
    Is this more common in the states as I’m from the UK and never knew of such a thing before.

  14. One thing I just realized after dealing with moths that were seemingly coming from no where is that the webs/larvae were actually in the screw holes inside my cupboard. We had thrown away every ounce of food that could have possibly have any trace of the pests and each day we were still finding them! We had wiped down every shelf and can but they were still coming. I finally crawled as far in the cupboard as I could and noticed that each of the 8-10 screw holes on the wall of each shelf was stuffed up. I looked in my other cupboards and they were all clear. So I grabbed tweezers and manicure scissors and started gabbing at the holes with my vacuum close at hand and what came out of the holes was my nightmare come to life. I kept at it for about 40 holes and finally cleared them out, I then finished up by spraying each hole with bleach. I’m really hoping this does finally does the trick. Where else could they be coming from????

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