How to Get Rid of Bird Seed Flour Moths

Controlling Flour Moths in Bird Food

Pantry moths and flour moths live inside most grain based food.  If you eat grain based food or you have grain based pet bird food in your home, you are at risk for a pantry moth infestation.  It’s unlikely that you can avoid a flour moth problem even if you buy the freshest bird food. If you see one pantry moth flying around your bird room you’ve got a pantry flour moth infestation. This particular pantry moth has moved from the egg stage, through the larvae and pupae stages to an adult. Now it is ready to lay more eggs.

Controlling a full blown pantry moth infestation is important. Since each adult pantry moth is capable of laying up to 400 eggs, it is easy to imagine how quickly the infestation can get out of hand.

If you’ve seen an adult pantry moth flying around your house or drowned in your bird’s water dish start looking for the eggs, larvae and pupae.  Look in corners and crevices as well as under shelves. This particular pantry moth has moved from the egg stage, through the larvae and pupae stages to an adult. Now it is ready to lay eggs. This moth may have been only one of 400 eggs!

How to Clean to Get Rid Of Pantry Moths

The first step to getting rid of a pantry moth infestation is to find eggs, larvae and cocoons and eliminate them. Squish larvae, bag and outside trash all food with webbing in it. Wipe cocoons with vinegar and toss them in the garbage disposal or outside your hoem.  Your goal is to eliminate the next wave of eggs from hatching to stop larvae and pupae from turning into adult moths and thereby laying even more eggs.

 Carefully examine bird food for webbing or worm-like moth larvae.  Eggs are very small and hard to see.  As a pantry moth may lay up to 400 eggs at a time, you may find it causes less grief to toss the bird food and thoroughly clean your food storage container.

Eggs hatch into larvae. Larvae are little off-white worms with a brown head.  Larvae eat the food prior to progressing to the cocoon stage. When you control the source of food, you control the next wave of infestation.

Cocoons tend to populate in corners, crevices in ceilings, floor boards, shelving and food storage containers.  Carefully examine corners and crevices where larvae feel safe.  Examine the seal of food storage containers as well inside the screw tops.  Caulk around all floor boards, if possible. Any crevice is an inviting place for cocoons to develop. Be on the lookout for spider web like webbing. If spotted, wipe area with vinegar.

Once the source of the pantry moths has been located it’s time to find out if they’ve spread to other food sources in your home, such as your kitchen pantry. Once you’ve located infested food sources, just put them in a garbage bag, seal it and throw it away in an outside garbage can.

Cleaning the Pantry

  1. Inspect all package of food whether open or sealed.
  2. Examine all jars and plastic lids that provide refuge for pupae to develop.  Look for webbing.
  3. Check pasta, pet treats, any source of grain.
  4. Replace all shelf lining and wipe all shelf surfaces with vinegar. Examine any shelf hardware for pupae.
  5. Vacuum baseboards, corners where carpet meets the walls, door trim, corners, corner of ceiling and wall, and any other crevice that would be inviting to pupae.
  6. Wash down all walls, floors and especially the inside of the door hinges and door jamb. Remove the vacuum bag to an outside garbage can.
  7. Install Flour Moth Traps.
  8.  Use plastic food storage containers to store pet food, thereby containing pantry moths and minimizing the possibility a future infestation. 

Finally, smash or trap and kill the adults so they do not reproduce. The most effective way to do this is to use pheromone based flour moth traps. These flour moth traps are designed to attract the adult males with pheromone on a glue based board. Flour Moth Traps take the male population out of the picture and the moths cannot reproduce. The free females soon die off. This process will take about 6 weeks more or less, depending on where they are in their life cycle.  To speed the process, spray any live moths with Control Aviary Spray and follow the above cleaning procedures.


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