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How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths in Your Home or RV Camper

It’s safe to assume that bugs are one of the last things anyone wants to find in their pantry. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a home or RV, you might squirm at the thought of moths infiltrating your food. You’re not the first to face this issue, and you won’t be the last. Today, we’ll share how to get rid of pantry moths in your home or RV camper. Let’s get started.

pantry moth larva
If you see little worms like this, they will soon be a flying pest infestation if you don’t stop it!

What Are Pantry Moths?

A pantry moth is a small, winged insect typically found around food in pantries and cupboards. You may have also heard them referred to as Indian meal moths. An entomologist, who commonly found the bugs in cornmeal, gave the name to the species in the 1800s. They’re one of the most common household pests in the United States.

You can typically identify any foods that pantry moths have infested by webbing and clumps. This is especially common in unsealed flour. If left unresolved for long enough, larvae will grow and begin to move around in the flour.

Eventually, the larvae will start crawling around and you will find them in random places. They particularly like the ceiling.

How Do You Get Pantry Moths in Your Home or Camper?

These moths typically find their way into your home or camper through doors, windows, and other crevices. They can find their way into your home through dryer vents, plumbing lines, or even cables that pass through outside walls. You can also get these moths hitchhiking their way into the home in food from a store or warehouse. 

Once the moths enter your home, they will grow and multiply. Once they find a food source and a safe place to lay their eggs, they set up camp. If you don’t notice them until you see one flying around, it’s likely already laid eggs somewhere inside your home. At this point, they will continue to propagate and drive you nuts!

So how do you get rid of pantry moths? The first step is to prevent them from coming in.

If a pantry moth finds a food source, it is likely it will lay its eggs inside your pantry. This one is hanging from silk on the ceiling.

Preventing Pantry Moths

The best way to prevent pantry moths is to check your cupboards regularly. You don’t want to leave food in the same spot for long periods. If you find expired or out-of-date food, discard it. This is especially true if you have cereals, rice, nuts, or flour in your pantry.

You want to avoid storing food in containers that aren’t airtight. Things like dog, cat, and bird food are prime places for pantry moths to call home. People often store the food in loosely rolled food bags or containers without a cover. These can be all-you-can-eat buffets for these pests.

Pro Tip: Nobody wants crawly critters in their RV! If you need to get rid of stink bugs from your RV, Here’s How We Got Rid of Them when we had an invasion.

Pasta in glass jars in pantry.
Using air tight containers is the only way to keep moths from getting at your food.

Now let’s find out how to get rid of pantry moths once you find them.

How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths

If you’ve found a pantry moth in your home or RV, don’t worry. It’s not a big deal nor the end of the world. Luckily they are harmless, just very annoying and gross. So let’s look at what you should do to get rid of the pantry moths you’ve found.

1. Empty Your Cupboards Completely

If you’ve spotted a pantry moth, you should empty your pantry and your cupboards. Leave no containers behind in your search for any remaining pantry moths you need to rid from your home or camper. They may hide in or behind boxes or cans you haven’t touched for a while.

Trust me on this, you cant skip this step, these buggers hide everywhere.

2. Inspect Your Food & Containers

Now that all the food and containers are out of your cupboards, inspect everything. All containers, bags of food, and anything that came out of the cabinets needs a thorough inspection.

Anything that shows signs of pantry moths needs to go in the trash. You should discard the contents of any partially open containers. It may seem wasteful, but you don’t want to take any chances. It only takes one pantry moth to start an entire infestation.

3. Throw Away Non-Airtight Containers

Now that you have inspected your food and containers, toss any non-airtight containers into the garbage. Throwing away open food will help get rid of pantry moths. They likely found a comfortable place to set up camp inside them. Run to your favorite big-box retailer or online retailer and find a quality set of airtight containers for your replacement food. 

Pro Tip: Airtight containers aren’t the only thing you need in your RV kitchen. Check out these 33 Must-Have RV Kitchen Accessories.

Pantry filled with just glass jars.
Get rid of moths access to your food by using airtight containers only.

4. Clean Your Cupboards

While your cupboards and pantry are still empty, grab the vacuum and some anti-bacterial wipes. Sweep up any remaining bits of food and other gunk that might attract more pantry moths in the future. You want to create a clean space to prevent other pests.

Use vinegar or another cleaning solution that will kill the eggs. These are very small and you most likely will not see them.

5. Use Pantry Moth Traps with Pheromones

Because you are trying to eliminate pests around your food we do not recommend pesticides. While they may work a pheromone glue trap is completely safe for you and your pets.

We have had good success with the Dr. Killigan’s traps.

Dr. Killigan's Premium Pantry Moth Traps with...
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Pantry Moth Trap
The moths get stuck to the glue and die

Traps effectively get rid of pantry moths and prevent them from seeking refuge in your cabinets. These are odorless (to humans) strips covered in sticky material with pheromones that attract male moths. Any male moths that get into your pantry will be attracted to it and get stuck in the trap.

Note females will ignore the traps, but with no males around they cannot breed and will die off. You may need to squish them for a few weeks but within a month you should enjoy a moth-free home and camper.

pantry moth trap
While pantry moths are not harmful, you don’t want them making your home their own.

Are Pantry Moths Harmful to Your Health?

There is no significant risk of biting, stinging, or adverse health conditions from the pantry moths. However, they will contaminate your food, and you’ll likely have some financial loss from the waste. But can you get sick if you eat food contaminated by pantry moths?

In reality, you won’t experience any physical illnesses due to a pantry moth. However, you still don’t want gross bugs in your food. Additionally, if you get these intruders, you can attract other pests who also like your open food. Getting rid of pantry moths can keep your food safe and clean. 

Pro Tip: We recently had a ladybug infestation, and this is how we kept the critters out of our RV for good.

How To Get Rid Of Pantry Moths | Indian Meal Moth Traps That Work

Act Fast to Get Rid of Pantry Moths 

Discovering pantry moths in your home or camper is not exciting. After reading this article, it may gross you out. The thought of accidentally consuming a pantry moth in your food may lead you to clean your cabinets. You may also want to start using airtight containers from now on. 

You can follow the tips we’ve shared on how to get rid of pantry moths in your home or camper. Take a few preventative measures and enjoy a moth-free home.

Have you ever had to go to battle with pantry moths? Tell us in the comments!

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About Tom and Caitlin Morton

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of “Go North” on Amazon Prime Video, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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