How to Rid a Kitchen of Flour Moths Naturally

I guess I have been lucky because I’ve been living in New England for 12 years and this is the first year that I have been plagued with flour moths.  I had noticed that many New Englanders put unusual things in storage containers such as the contents of a box of cereal.  I always thought… so why would you do that if there is a perfectly good box and bag that the cereal already comes in?

Why?  Because of these guys:

But, where to get a bunch of containers ASAP?

Well, it turns out I didn’t need a bunch of containers ASAP because I had to throw most of my dry goods away pronto.  Bag after bag of rice, nuts, beans were infested with their little tiny eggs and maggot-looking larva.  The larva can actually eat right through an unopened plastic bag – and they can eat right through a cardboard (think oatmeal) box or cylinder.

Okay, what’s grosser than gross?  Before I realized that these foods were infested, I’m sure I ate some of those eggs mixed in with powdered sugar or flour.    Uhg… extra lean protein I suppose.

It was time to consult with Google, who directed me to the following resources:

Wikipedia: Indian Meal Moth

Colorado State Extention

What to Throw Away

Anything that wasn’t in a glass, metal or hard plastic container was dumped into my beautiful compost bin guerilla style.  It was really gross when I discovered a really infested bag of something.  It was also tough to let go of that much food, even though it was infested.  I think it was a win-win situation though; I get them immediately out of my house and they get to live in a giant bin of food.

So, the next thing to do was to vacuum out the cabinet, making sure to get all of the eggs that were expertly crammed into the corners and along the edges.  Also, I had to vacuum up two gross cocoons that had appeared on the ceiling.

Are you still reading?  Hmm – okay cool, I’ll go on…

Moth Proof Containers are the Only Ones Left Standing

Cleaning out the Cabinet

Finally, I sprayed the whole cabinet down with my trusty vinegar and water spray to kill any missed eggs.  Some websites recommend spraying bleach cleaner but that all you need to do the job is vinegar.


Eggs gone – check

Access to food gone – check

Keeping them Gone Long-term

So, to knock them out for good; anytime I bring home something in a plastic bag or box the contents will need to go directly into a tightly sealed storage container.  Effectively removing Indian Flour Moth larva supply of food and stopping their lifecycle dead in its tracks.  You can buy pesticides to spray in the corners and traps for the adult male moths but this should do the trick without any of that nicely.

About gaining containers, I did get a bunch of containers from Mat’s grandma’s yard sale pile.  Also, my Hannaford Brand Organic coffee tins provide a slow but steady stream of medium sized containers.  I know I could go out and buy a bunch and I probably will need to buy some however I would rather try and find things used or reuse stuff.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Meagan
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 00:33:13

    That is a new one to me, Emily! I hope you never have a return of the Flour Moths!


  2. Green Janie
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 21:47:52

    Meagan! Thanks, me too. I havent seen them since I did the big cleanout (o:


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