Tips for Moth Problems

Category: Home Management Advice

"A few months ago we bought some rice in bulk and ended up with moths too. Even after throwing out the bag, and combing through the rest of our food to make sure there weren't any more infestations, we still have moths flying around our kitchen. Does anyone have ideas for a surefire (and not too toxic) way to get rid of them?"

Check out member advice below, and read reviews for local exterminators HERE on the PSP website!




"We have had the same problem - the best I can suggest is to buy the pantry pest traps (available at the food coop, or online - just search for "pantry pest trap") in bulk and put them in a bunch of places around the pantry and anywhere else you see moths. That really helped us - I still tend to put some grains in the fridge these days (e.g., the Cheerios) to make sure the problem doesn't come back, but the infestation is gone at least."


"We've had the problem in the past - moth traps did the trick. We got ours from Gardener's Supply Company. Here's a website I found when investigating moth infestation for a good friend who had the same problem.
It has a list of do it your self pest control including moths. I found it helpful.
PS - my mom always stored rice in the freezer but I don't have the room!"


"We went through this awhile ago. We tried moth traps, called our exterminator...the only thing that worked was to buy plastic bags (the off-brand kind are perfect for this) and simply zip every box with grain or cereal in it. In about a week, the bugs were gone. Added plus: no chemicals."


"I was plagued for a year with them on and off until I realized you have to be ruthless. The eggs are so small you won't know your other products have been infested until you see worms or the moths. I wound up throwing out all my grain products. For at least the following month after you dispose of old boxes, place all new boxes of cereal, pasta, rice, etc in the fridge or keep out of the cupboards in a well-lit area. Wipe down all your closets. Some people say you need to spray, but I didn't.

The key is you really have to be ruthless in the disposal process. Sun-dried tomatoes, raisins, cereal, etc. Don't keep one item even if you think it escaped the moth eggs. It likely didn't. I found if I kept one item, the process started again. It took me three times over one year of throwing out a lot of food before I learned my lesson."


"I had that happen. I had to empty all my pantry shelves, put things in air tight containers or in zip lock bags, put what I could in the refrigerator and have an exterminator spray the shelves. It worked, but was annoying."


"Uggh do you really want to know? You need to throw almost EVERYTHING out. They bore through plastic, cardboard. They love flour, rice, raisins, dried fruit (you can get the list on line). You can start by looking for webbing and at the least throwing that out (the baby caterillars make a webbing I think). Then you need to buy those sticky moth traps and set them up all over the place--they aren't poisonous they use a pherome to attract them and they get stuck. Don't buy much food until you get rid of the moth problem because they will just reinfest the new food. We brought them home this summer in some cheerios and it was truly a nightmare to deal with. Once we got serious and tossed out almost everything in our pantry we got rid of the problem in about three weeks."


"It is tough to get rid of those moths. One they don't like the cold. We put pet food in bins in our back yard. Anything with flour or sugar or starch in the freezer including halloween candy. Then we bought a lot of moth traps from the Gardener's Supply Co. although we found them at the hardware store at Newkirk Plaza. We cleaned all shelves, threw out anything with flour, sugar or starch that wouldn't fit in our freezer and had a no tolerance policy for killing any moth that appeared.It took us about a year to get rid of them."


"We had major cloth moths invasions on two occasions, and it is a major pain and the last thing you need when you have small kids!  I had considered getting our place sprayed but they cannot use "green" products against moths, and it would have been expensive (800$/round with no guarantee how many rounds are needed). Some of the tips below are from the company I had contacted, and I found they helped to control the problem:

- put your rug into a 'contractor' (extra heavy duty) garbage bag, which you can buy in the supermarket, and ask any dry cleaner that would usually clean rugs if you can bring it in the bag so not to infest their other stuff.
- go through all your woolens to make sure they have not been affected. This is very tedious to do with toddlers, let alone twins I can imagine, but if you don't do it the problem will get worse or come back.
- What I found the most effective (and affordable) is to put any of the cloths you think have been affected either in the freezer for 24 hours, or wash and dry them in the machine on high heat if the fabrics can handle it. Both options will kill the moths eggs and lava and saves you taking them/paying for dry cleaning. 
- After cleaning your items, keep any woolens in airtight plastic boxes.
- You can buy these sticky moth traps and put a few of them up in your place. The live moths will fly into them and this way you will know if you still have moths or not.

Many of the other products you can buy, including moths balls, are quite poisonous and not recommended especially if you have small children. We have used mothballs in airtight containers, but had a lot of storage room in our basement to do that. I really feel for you - I have lost a lot of my favorite cloths to moths and do not wish anybody the extra work of having to sort through their stuff repeatedly! Especially in old houses this seems to be a recurrent problem, so for anybody who notices holes in their cloths it is worth paying attention to."


And if you've got moths attacking your clothes rather than your kitchen...



"Our apartment has been infested by the dreaded clothing moths! They ate all our wool and winter gear, have taken over our ceilings and closets....I’ve done all my research and spent the past 2 weeks deep cleaning with vinegar, washing clothes with hot water, dry cleaning, putting clothes in oven, vacuuming, etc...but I am now EXHAUSTED and nowhere near done and I am still seeing them everywhere! Does anyone have advice on any natural exterminators (is there such a thing) or a cleaning service that specializes in something like this? We have a 5 month old and 2 cats so chemicals are not an option, and I am slowly losing my sanity. (Also, we are getting out of town for a few months next week and I’m worried this will only get worse while we’re gone. The cat sitter will be staying here with our cats so again, everything needs to be natural for everyone’s safety)."



"I had this happen. The only thing you can do in addition is to put all your wool clothes into vacuum bags (those space-saver bags where you vacuum out the air after zipping in). You can add a few moth balls to be sure. Since these are vacuum sealed and plastic and if these are your clothes, moth balls won’t affect anyone. After you get clothes out then you would need to either wash/dry clean again or put outside (if you have outdoor space) to air out.

since you are going away - moths don’t like light and air. Empty out your closet as much as you can, put clothes in airtight containers, open door and ask your cat sitter to just shake up things in the closet here and there.
anything other than wool and silk won’t be harmed. The larvae may still stick to your cotton/synthetic clothes and just look gross but they don’t eat through it.

but there’s no magic bullet other than thorough cleaning, light, air and moth balls where you can (airtight containers).

doing all of this helped a lot but I still saw an occasional moth flying around. But it wasn’t nearly as bad. Then we moved out. So can’t tell you exactly how it ended. All clothes I absolutely don’t need are still in vacuum sealed bags until i need them.

cedar and lavender things are useless unless you have gallons of it, so I wouldn’t bother.

good luck!"