Can Pantry Moths Get Into Sealed Packages?


Pantry moths can get into sealed packages, but the damage they do is limited to the food inside, and the time they are in contact with it. 

They are tiny, translucent creatures attracted to light and often bite through the sealing tape on the packaging. They usually enter packages when a package is accidentally opened or damaged by human hands when removing items from it. 

In nearly all households, some kind of infestation is typical. However, as long as you take proactive measures, you should be able to prevent too much damage. One suitable method to stop pantry moths in their tracks is putting a piece of tin foil over your bagged item before sealing it with sealer tape.

Furthermore, there are a few homemade traps that you can make using dry cooking oil and brown paper bags. Sprinkle some cooking oil on the bottom of the bag, seal it up and place it in a dark cupboard. Leave it there for at least three days. You can tell if you have pantry moths by their small black droppings inside the bag. If the bag is full of these droppings, you know you have an infestation. 

However, if there are no droppings, you are safe from an invasion. If you have a few of these bags scattered throughout your kitchen, you should be able to eliminate the infestation.

It is important to note that most moths are not harmful to humans and will not feed on you or your family; they are only interested in food. So if you find an invasion, it likely won’t be coming from your food unless they damage it (which can happen). They are more likely to be attracted by existing light sources or your television set.

Lastly, you must remember that these moths have a short life cycle. Without the proper food, they will die out quickly. Therefore, it’s best to monitor your food closely or throw it away to avoid the possibility of damage.

How to protect food from pantry moths?

Every home has a pantry, and every pantry has food inside. So naturally, most of the food you find in your pantry will be infested with moths, who love to feast on grains, starches, and dried products. The best way to protect your food from these pests is to never let them in together; if you don’t keep their access blocked, they may eventually find ways around it.

But fear not; we have some ideas for you to keep moths out of your pantry and ensure they don’t find a way back in.

What Is the Problem?

The most common problem in homes is the pantry moth, a type of moth that loves to eat stored food. The larva of this moth passes through the life cycle in between 3 and 6 years (they can live up to 12 years), so one attack will not be enough to kill them; they’re very resilient.

Even with a thorough cleaning, the moths may return and continue to attack your food. So, why not just throw out all the food you find infested? 

Because there’s a chance that many of those items are safe to eat, the moths are attracted by the smell of your food and the warmth provided by a sealed pantry. So if you scrutinize each item, you can often save a lot of your food from being wasted.

What You Can Do

We have some options for you to choose from when protecting your pantry from moths. The first solution is:

1. Seal up your pantry.

First, you can use a product designed specifically for this purpose, such as cupboard moth guards. These products are made from a special kind of plastic that is permeated with a food-grade deodorizer. The idea is that the moths will not be able to enter through the plastic because they dislike any type of smell or taste.

If you don’t have these products ready, sealing your pantry will do just fine. The most direct and effective way of preventing moths from entering your pantry is by having drawers and wardrobes on one side of the wall and shelf units at floor level. 

This way, you can close both doors, and everything in between will be protected from moths (because they cannot fly or jump very high).

2. Using airtight containers

If you can’t find specific products for this purpose, the best way to prevent moths from entering your pantry is to eliminate their ability to come in contact with your food. This means using airtight containers to store your food, like glass jars and resealable bags. Also, empty your pantry every three months to ensure that nothing is hiding out of sight. 

After each inspection, it’s a good idea to wipe down all surfaces with a disinfecting solution (yes, even if they look clean).

What to do if the moths enter the pantry?

If you find that the moths have broken into your pantry, it’s essential to do something immediately. First, organize a meeting with your family and friends and get everyone involved in ensuring that the moths don’t make it back into your space again. 

  • Then, use a vacuum cleaner to remove any bugs in and around your kitchen. 
  • Or, if you’re feeling more ferocious and want to try trapping them yourself, think of yourself as an exterminator; start with a room or two (but don’t expect it to be easy), then move on to others as needed. 
  • This is the best way to catch any bugs in your home and avoid accidental misuse of your poisons.

Killing off insects is a great first step, but sometimes a thorough cleaning is still required to make sure that the moths aren’t hiding somewhere else in your home. 

Here’s how to get rid of them all at once.

This is what you need to do:

1. The first thing you need to do is figure out their source. There are many possible places where the moth can enter your home, including:

  • Open car doors
  • Door frames
  • Window frames
  • Sealed entry points around the house, such as the cracks around doors and windows, are sealed with caulk or putty. 
  • Damaged screens on windows or doors

2. Seal these areas or cover them with sticky traps (use either glue traps or “bait boxes”), and check them daily for signs of infestation (usually within five days).

3. Next, you should remove any food that has been exposed to the open air. If you have stored rotten or spoiled food in your basement, for example, then suspend its use for the time being.

4. If you find any evidence of an infestation, seal it off with sticky traps and follow steps one through three above.

5. Caulk any cracks and holes around doors and windows before re-sealing them with caulk or putty to prevent further infestation in the future.

6. Seal any damaged screens on windows or doors with heavy-duty glue (e.g., Elmer’s).

7. Examine all your food to ensure no pantry moths have made their way into it.

8. Take a damp rag and wipe down any surfaces where you have found the moths’ traces. This will prevent them from laying eggs on these surfaces in the future.

Can Pantry Moths Get Into Unopened Boxes?

Moths are insects that often invade your pantry and feast on your food. These creatures have been known to make their way into packages and containers in which food has been sealed, including jars, boxes, and squeeze bottles. 

Moths can be a severe problem if you find them flying around your pantry and eating food items. A moth’s diet is based on food, so you must ensure that your pantry is mothproof.

When a moth recognizes an ideal place to live and lays its eggs, it will start searching for a non-pest-resistant area since it may not have anything else to eat except other insects. When a food item has been tampered with, the moths multiply rapidly because they feed on a ready-made food source.

You can take some apparent precautions to prevent moths from invading your pantry. 

Most effective steps to prevent moth in your pantry.

1. Be careful with what you purchase. 

When shopping for food in the supermarket, always buy foods that have sealed packaging to avoid getting moths on your food items. This does not apply to jars and boxes, which should be mothproof if appropriately made. Ensure that all holes used for water set-up are also sealed and covered. Moth eggs can remain dormant in these areas for many years until they hatch into new moth larvae.

2. Do not try to save food items that already have months in them. 

Throw the entire container away into a sealed garbage bag or container. The moths will reproduce if they are left to breed and feed on your food at night.

3. Remove all unnecessary clutter from your pantry. 

At least once a year, clean out your pantry and throw away everything that has been damaged or has gone stale. So many people forget their old bread, crackers, cookies, and other goodies that have been sitting on the counter for months and have never been used. Moths love these things.

4. Remove certain types of food items from your pantry shelves. 

This includes any food that is packaged in cardboard or plastic that is easily chewable by moths. Replace them with foods in glass jars or metal containers with an airtight seal.

Moths are capable of chewing through containers, including wrapping paper, cardboard, plastic wrap, and even rubber bands on jars and containers. This makes it hard to keep them out of your food items if they have already gotten in. However, there are some ways to prevent them from getting into your food in the first place.

The best way to keep moths out of your pantry is by always keeping them clean. Wash off the shelves once a month with a mixture of water and vinegar or lemon juice. If you have an oily substance, such as oil or dish soap, use it to keep out other insects.

The easiest and most effective way to keep moths out of your food items is by properly ensuring no holes in your containers, jars, or boxes. If you need to store food items in these containers, make sure the holes are sealed using a rubber band or other sealing material. A moth egg can stay dormant for years in something like a bag or box without food for a long time.

Moths can chew through plastic, cardboard, and even paper to ensure no holes on either side of the package. If you have a jar with a top, make sure that the lid is securely closed to keep out moths.

If you do not have time to clean your pantry regularly, you can always freeze or burn food items in sealed containers. This may not taste but should kill off any eggs or insects on your food. Freezing is more effective since it kills all living organisms and stops them from reproducing. Though this does not kill the eggs, if you find an infestation after freezing, dispose of the entire package, as it will start producing again once thawed out.

If you do not intend to use the food item forever, keep it in a sealed container with airtight sealing so that moths cannot get back in. This applies to unopened packages as well.

If you have any concerns about your bins or containers, call the product manufacturer since they are responsible for keeping their products pest-free. If unsatisfied, they may replace or refund their product purchase.

Moths have been known to damage paper cups and mug packaging due to the opening at the top. In coffee shops, the moths may get into the cups while preparing and come back to drink coffee throughout the night. To avoid this problem, keep your cups out of sight when you are not using them.

This means that it is essential that you have a complete mothproof system for all food items in your pantry. A complete set of moth prevention methods will help keep pests from leaving any harmful dents or holes in your food storage. Ensure that all food containers, jars, and boxes are fully sealed before use. This includes both jars and boxes. If you do not own an airtight sealer, it is best to use one.

When handling your food, make sure that you store the leftovers in airtight containers immediately after use. This applies to both dry and wet food items. Likewise, ensure that you dispose of all other packaging and containers properly as soon as you finish them.

If you cannot find an airtight sealer for your jars and boxes, placing them in a freezer before storage is best. This is more effective than freezing since frozen foods become more solid and thus provide a better barrier from bugs than room temperature foods. However, if the freezer causes damage to the container or jar, there may be something wrong with it.

To prevent moths from getting into your food, it is best to ensure there are no holes in the container, jar, or box you are using. This includes airtight-sealing bags and boxes, so do not forget about them.

If you find any holes in the lid of your container, use a rubber band to cover the hole and ensure that it is securely sealed so that moths cannot get in.

You can also apply vegetable or cooking oil to all containers before storage. This helps prevent insects and molds from permanently damaging your food storage one way or another.

Roasting pans and baking sheets are other culprits that haunt your pantry. Moth larvae love it when they find sugar, flour, or different types of food ingredients to work on. So the next time you see signs of infestation around your pan, wipe it out and ensure it is completely dry before reusing it.

Moth larvae love to chew through the paper as well. So make sure your paper is not old or damaged, since you would also tempt these insects to chew on it. 

When preparing food for cooking, take utmost care of the utensils you use. If you find moth larvae resting in the utensils, remove them immediately and throw them away. Wash the utensils thoroughly with soap and hot water, and ensure they are adequately dried before using them again.

When storing flour, sugar, or other dry food items, ensure that all the bags are tightly sealed. Also, ensure no holes in the bags you use for storage. This is especially important for dry food items since moths love to chew through dry materials to get the moisture out.

One way of ensuring that your plastic bag seals tightly against air is by using a vacuum sealer. Though this may be a little pricier option than using a rubber band or other sealing materials, it will keep your food from getting damaged by insects. However, it is better to use this method if you have access to one.

If you have an infestation of moths in your food items, such as flour, sugar, or dry food items, make sure that you store them in airtight packaging and do not place them on shelves where they are exposed to the sun.

This also includes pots and pans that you use for cooking food. For example, if the pan surface is rough, it attracts insects. You can solve this by using fine-grained oil over the cooking surface before storing your pans away. If this does not help and you want to get rid of the moth infestation, clean it off with a brush and ensure there are no holes.

If you find holes in the pan once you clean it, replace the container. This is because moths would have laid eggs within the holes, and once hatched, you would have a new colony of moth larvae to deal with.

Guidelines for Cleaning Your Pantry and Storing Food Items

Cleaning up your pantry is essential in preventing infestations by moths and other insects. After all, an organized home tends to be less messy, and it would be easier to get rid of pests if they are hiding around at particular points within your home or office. Aside from this, it is essential that you also clean up your food items before storing them.

Here are some simple steps that you can use to clean up your pantry and store food items properly:

  1. Dust your shelves and corners thoroughly every week to ensure that no pests have a home in your food storage area.
  2. Remove as much as possible from the room you will use for food storage. This can include anything from bookshelves to tables to shelves. If this is not practical or possible, remove all unnecessary furniture before tackling the problem.
  3. Empty the containers one by one, so you do not forget about them while cleaning up your pantry.
  4. Thoroughly clean up the containers’ surfaces and ensure they do not have any traces of dust or dirt. If possible, use hot water to clean them thoroughly to remove any traces of residue left over from previous use.
  5. Make sure that all containers have a tight-sealing lid, and if they have airtight seals, open them slightly so that you can clean off any residue on the lid.
  6. Disinfect every container with hot water and soap. Ensure that you boil the soap before using it, which is potent for cleaning purposes. Afterward, rinse off all containers with hot water and dry them thoroughly with a clean towel or sheets of paper towels.
  7. Thoroughly clean your shelves and walls before storing the food items again. Discard any food items that have been opened or touched by a person or animal.
  8. Store your food in airtight containers that are correctly sealed. This will prevent insects from entering your food storage area, especially if they are attracted to moisture.
  9. Thoroughly clean all containers before you store your food again, since you may have some residue on the container lids or surfaces after storing them for some time. Take care not to let them touch each other, so they do not get contaminated with residues.
  10. Ensure all the paper items are stored properly and away from the food containers. Also, ensure that you have products to deal with infestations when you find them in your place.
  11. For best results, clean up your pantry once in a while, then use appropriate methods for storage. Air and sunlight may also damage your stored items, so ensure they do not come into contact with any of these factors.
  12. If you find insect larvae while cleaning up your pantry, throw away the food immediately, clean the container, or eliminate the infested container. Moths can be hard to get rid of, so make sure you get rid of them as soon as possible.
  13. When storing food items, make sure you store them out of reach of children and animals. Store the food items in airtight containers to prevent moths and insects from entering the food storage area.
  14. If you find it hard to keep your pantry clean all the time, then buy a vacuum sealer. Vacuum sealing will ensure that your containers are tightly sealed so that moths and other insects do not have a place to hide within your pantry.
  15. Store the food items in a clean environment and ensure that nothing attracts insects to your food storage area. If you have pets, keeping them out of your pantry is also best.

Tips for Food Storage

1) Keep all foods away from heat sources.

This includes sunlight and heating appliances, so bacteria and moths do not get in.

2) Store food in airtight containers.

While your pantry may be sealed off from moths, other insects may still get through due to small holes and cracks in your container lids. Therefore, it is best to either buy brand-new containers or tightly seal the ones you currently have.

3) Keep food containers away from window sills.

Keep food containers away from window sills or other areas where they can be exposed to sunlight. This will prevent moths from getting into the food storage area.

4) Keep all foods away from moisture.

Keep all foods away from moisture and dispose of any items that have been contaminated by moisture. This can include anything from food to papers, often pests’ favorite hiding place.

5) Ensure that no food products have expired.

Throw away any food items that have gone bad and dispose of them properly. Moths will not go for spoiled food, but throwing out any old products is best since you would not want anyone or anything to eat them.

6) Keep your items clean before storing your food again.

This includes washing all containers thoroughly with soap and water beforehand and vacuuming the inside of your crumb tray at least once weekly.

7) Store all foods in separate areas in the kitchen.

Separate the food items according to their type so you can easily store them in one spot.

8) Only store a limited amount of foods per shelf.

It is best to space out your food items on different shelves to prevent pest infestations from either rotting your food or destroying its shape and texture.

9) Keep your food storage area clean after storing it.

It is best to clean up all traces of residue that may have accumulated on objects such as shelves, tables, and containers, then wash them with hot water. This will help prevent infestations in the future.

10) Keep your food containers away from rodents.

Keep your food containers away from areas where there are pests or rodents. If you suspect pests in other areas of your house, keep your food away from these infested areas as well.

11) Store foods in their original packaging if possible.

Not only does this help keep the fresh food longer, but it also helps prevent any contamination that may occur when you purchase it, increasing the shelf life of the food and preventing infestations.

12) Store similar foods together.

You do not want to mix sweet, sour, and salty foods since these can attract moths due to the different types of sugar found in them. So it is best to store these types of foods in separate areas.

13) Keep your pantry clean.

If you cannot keep your shelves clean, try and buy a vacuum sealer to help eliminate bugs from infesting your food storage area.

14) Ensure that all food items are clean and free from pests.

This includes checking the seal, opening the containers, and cooking them properly before putting them away for storage. And make sure that you have the proper cleaning supplies for this purpose.

15) Store fruit products away from meats and fish products.

This is due to concerns over the insects getting into food items such as fruits infested with pests like moths.

16) buy a vacuum sealer to help keep the food fresh and free from pests.

This will help you save on costs, especially for larger food storage areas like your pantry.

17) Be sure to clean and maintain the countertops in your kitchen.

If you do not, it is more likely that moths and insects will infest your food.

18) Keep your food storage items out of the reach of pets, children, and small animals.

They may knock over your containers and contaminate them with their saliva or eat away at any food they can get into, which will cause the food products to be wasted.

19) Avoid storing food products in contact with other food products.

You must store similar foods, such as fruits or vegetables, in separate sections of your pantry. Otherwise, pests like moths will eat the food first before they start on your other foods.

20) Keep all food items away from pets and children.

Keep all food items away from areas where pets and children are allowed to enter. This includes pet dishes, dog beds, pet toys, and areas where children play.

21) Use a vacuum sealer to keep the food fresh for longer.

This will help you save funds and prevent moths from infesting your food storage area.

22) Ensure that all containers are clean before storing your food.

This includes thoroughly inspecting the surface of the container and removing any debris, residue, or food particles.

23) Keep a stock of mothballs in your food storage area.

These help to effectively repel moths and other pests from infesting your food storage area.

24) Seal cracks, doors, and holes.

Seal cracks, doors, holes, and other entry points to your food storage area. This not only helps to keep pests out of your food storage area but also helps to keep insects from entering any part of the house.

25) Store non-food items away

Be sure to store non-food items away from the areas where you store your food. Non-food items such as papers or clothes can attract pests like moths if stored with them.

26) Avoid storing your food in areas high up and close to the kitchen wall.

This is because it is easy for you to forget about them, so pests can easily enter the pantry through these entry points.

27) Avoid storing food items in areas with high humidity.

Avoid storing food items in areas with high humidity or large amounts of moisture. This is due to rotting or rot forming on certain types of foods. It is best to store your food in areas where it will not be exposed to high humidity levels.

28) Do not store foods high up in your cabinets.

They may leak and get infested by pests like moths. So instead, place them lower down, so they are out of harm’s way from pests as much as possible.

29) Do not store foods with high moisture content near your heat source.

This includes meats, fish, and vegetables that are often dried out or may have too much moisture to store properly. It is best to store these items away from heat sources.

30) Store foods in tight-fitting containers.

Insects like moths may be able to get into smaller container openings than larger ones. So it is best to keep your food storage area as tightly packed as possible so that it is full of air and tightly sealed, preventing pests from getting in.

31) Ensure that your containers are broad-based.

For this reason, food items such as meat, fish, and vegetables are usually lower. But you should ensure they are placed on a broad base to be easily accessible.

32) Keep your food items in tightly sealed containers.

This is especially important if you have items that need to be refrigerated or frozen. Moths can easily get into these items, so it is best to use the right type of storage container to keep them away from infestations.

33) Ensure that your containers are at room temperature when storing them.

You should always store foods like meats and vegetables at room temperature, while fruits should not be refrigerated since they will dry out and lose their nutritional value.

34) Do not store your food too far from heat sources.

If you do, it is more likely that pests like moths will infest your food storage area and contaminate it with germs.

35) Store food in areas that are well-lit but dark.

Pests, like moths, are attracted to bright light conditions, so storing your food away from them is a good way to prevent infestation.

36) Make sure your floor is clean and free of dirt and debris.

This also helps keep moths away from the area as they travel along walls, floors, or any other surface where they can find a path into the room.

37) Store high-value items up high.

Keep your most important food items, such as meat and vegetables, high so they are not a target for pests.

38) Keep your pantry door closed when storing your food items.

This is to keep insects and pests away from invading the area.

39) Keep all bulk foods in tightly sealed containers.

This is to prevent insects like moths from getting into them and contaminating them.

40) Seal off all holes in the walls of your pantry.

If you do not, these areas can develop cracks that pests like moths can use as entry points into the storage area. Seal off all holes to prevent insects from entering your food storage area. This is especially important if the holes are close to areas where pets sleep or play. If in doubt, make sure that the holes are completely blocked off.

41) Ensure that you regularly check

Ensure that you regularly check the condition of your food storage area. This will help you notice if any pests are entering, allowing you to take corrective action early on.

42) Use your food storage as a tool for pest control.

When storing high-value foods like grains, spices, and oils, you prevent pests from getting into them. So, instead of wasting money on pesticides and unnecessary chemicals, invest in good-quality food storage containers that safely keep your stored items away from pests.

43) Make sure you regularly check your stores to ensure they are pest-free.

This is so that you can spot any infestations as early as possible. If anything looks suspicious, then you should take action to prevent pests from entering your food storage area.

44) Moth traps are a great way to keep pests out of the food storage area.

These days, you can find moth traps that kill moths before they ever enter your home and follow their path into the room, effectively preventing them from getting inside your food storage area.

45) Keep all food items in containers with tightly sealed lids.

This will prevent insects like moths from getting into them and contaminating the food inside.

46) Use airtight containers to store your food inside your pantry.

This is because airtight containers can prevent insects from getting into them and contaminating the food inside.

47) Store all your food in areas with plenty of sunshine.

This is because sunlight can help keep your food free from harmful bacteria, which is essential to the bacteria-based cycle that affects insects like moths.

48) Check regularly and change any pest prevention methods that you have in place.

Be sure to use the proper methods to prevent any pests from entering your food storage area, as this is where they thrive.

49) Wash your dishes before preparing your food.

This is because insects like moths can often lay their eggs on surfaces like your sink, dishwasher, or garbage disposal. When doing this, you are making it easier for the eggs to hatch and get into the food storage area without being killed in advance by pest control methods.

50) Do not store perishable foods close to a heat source.

Do not store perishable foods such as meat, fish, or other foods that spoil easily too close to a heat source. This will make them more likely to contaminate your food storage area with harmful bacteria.

51) Keep your pantry in a dry, cool, and well-lit location.

This is because pests like moths are attracted to heat, light, and moisture.

52) Keep the kitchen and pantry free of clutter.

Most insects, like moths, stay in the kitchen, so keep it clean, well-lit, and free of clutter. This is the perfect place for them to make their home. So you will need to keep this area clean, well-lit, and free of clutter.

53) Use a small towel or cardboard box to cover your food storage.

Use a small towel or cardboard box to cover your food storage area when you are not using it. This is useful if you need to store something like groceries inside the pantry.

Conclusion

Killing off insects is a great first step, but sometimes a thorough cleaning is still required to make sure that the moths aren’t hiding somewhere else in your home.

These simple tips above can prevent moths from infesting your food storage area and help you get rid of infestations on an easy note. First, store your food items under proper conditions so that it does not attract pests in the first place. Then, to prevent contamination, clean your shelves and walls thoroughly before storing the food.

Charles

Charles is a freelance writer whose areas of expertise include home renovation, gardening, and design. A graduate with a degree in Digital Marketing and Business Management. Charles formerly worked as a freelance writer for a range of local blogs and business media. Always typing away on his laptop or tackling his newest home improvement project.

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