Today I… Organized My Pantry!


This one has been a long time coming.


And, perhaps this is TMI, but this particular purge/organize was even more important because we seem to have developed an infestation of pantry moths. These little buggers seem to love dried chiles, chocolate and nuts of any kind, and I have to say, it’s pretty amazing the sealed storage they seem to be able to make their way into. Anyone else have these? If so, how did you get rid of them? I’ve heard bay leaves help.

14 thoughts on “Today I… Organized My Pantry!

  1. Looking at your photo makes me want to go in my kitchen and do mine right now. I love the feeling of clean cupboards. I did this last year and found a bag of chocolate stuffed in every corner. I couldn’t believe how much chocolate I had squirreled away. Of course I had to make cookies…

  2. Dear Lara,
    Probably you brought them home in some lovely pine nut package, the expiry date an eternity from now (happened to me in spring). Tried everything possible, throwing away tons of invaded food + containers, they even made their way into Tupperware containers. The kitchen looked very tidy afterwards but the creatures were still here! Sorry, nothing helped except a moth trap which attracted the male moths.
    Hope this helps you, wish you a mothfree 2011!

  3. Sorry to hear! We got pantry moths about a year ago. I think they came with some bulk pistachios and got into everything. It was awful. We threw away everything, washed the pantry walls and shelves and cracks and crevices with bleach water and left it empty for weeks before starting over with everything in sealed jars. We still find them sometimes. Arghhhhh.

  4. I had these in Montlake too. I can tell you how I got rid of them: I moved!

    No, actually, there are methods.

    Anything you want to keep, put in the freezer for 4 days. Wash every surface, even cans. Open (or freeze) all jars–they worm their way up the threads and lay eggs in there (euuw!).

    I ended up throwing a lot away. They got into everything!

    So sorry you’ve got them too. Good luck.

    And hey, lunch soon? I owe you!

  5. freezing foodstuffs helps as do bayleaves – I have taken to bayleaves in my flours that I use a lot and in my nuts and seeds shelf and I now store flours I use less in the fridge – I found that I had some in a packet of rice from the supermarket after I got these moths which gave me a clue as to how I got them – good luck with scaring the little blighters away

  6. I just suffered from the infestation a couple of months ago. every day i look for bugs or larvae (GROSS) in my pantry.

    After cleaning all of the shelves with bleach, and throwing out all the items they got into, I put a piece of moth repellent cedar on every shelf to deter them. It works out OK. I get a moth here and there. The most important thing is to continue to check on all of your items every day. It sucks, but after all the stuff I had to throw away, everything is an asset now.

    Good luck!!

  7. Bay leaves have never made a difference for me. I had one really really bad infestation. I cleared all the infected food items, they do get into things even sealed in bags. Didn’t make a difference. Froze anything suspicious, scraped their cocoons off of every place I could find them, none of that made a difference. Finally, I gave up and kept a vacuum with a hose attachment in the kitchen. Every time I saw a moth, sucked it up. Worked like a charm!

  8. I get these regularly in Spain and clear out everything in the infested cupboard the moment I see any sign of one. Lately, I’ve started keeping expensive powdered goods in the freezer because they seem to adore those. :/

    My advice is similar to the others: throw away anything with threads in or that might be infested, put everything into sealed plastic containers (my experience is if they are well-sealed thick plastic containers, the moths only get in while you are cooking and most importantly, they can’t get out – so if eggs get in, they don’t spread out of the container. Opening one to find it full of moths is pretty gross through.). Disinfect and wipe all shelves and containers and leave overnight (with cupboard doors closed). It can take two or three tries to clear a cupboard if you are trying to keep the goods that appear uninfested though. 🙁

    There’s sticky “moth attractor” similar to fly-paper which I’ve had some success with – they stop the moths from running rampant through the entire kitchen because the adults get trapped as soon as they try to fly around. I have no idea if it is available in the US.

  9. oh yeah, I’ve had them. Pantry moth traps. I use Safer brand, has pantry moth pheromone. Not inexpensive but completely worth it. I can place them where the cat can’t get to and they will also attack spiders. Usually had small infestations from grocery store bought cereal. I’ve gradually collected glass jars, glass boxes and heavy plastic containers that seal with rubber gaskets to keep anything they might get into or be in. The larva feed on grain/nuts but the moths lay eggs where it’s dark, sometimes where packages and boxes fold shut. Clean shelves once a month. Vacuum a lot. Seal any cracks around shelves as it takes only a small area that is dark for one moth to lay eggs in. I have a bay tree, 8 feet tall, in the kitchen for the winter. I’ve tried putting leaves around on shelves, but it doesn’t seem to deter any of the bugs I get. Doesn’t keep weevils from hatching out in rice, I have tried that.

    A few years ago I moved into a nice rehabbed house only to wake up one morning to small ivory worms crawling up a wall next to the refrigerator and the cabinets. A few dozen the first day. I cleaned and checked everything but each day there were more and more. Until there was over a hundred and when they get to the ceiling they crawl across it. Drove the cats to distraction. The previous tenant, a restaurant chef, had dropped cereal behind a cabinet I didn’t realize was slightly loose from the wall and hadn’t bothered to try and kill the larva/moths in the 3 years he had lived there.

    Up side of deep cleaning shelves every few weeks is I know how much of what I have. Less of did I use all of…or put it someplace….

  10. My mother swears that if you leave a stick up juicy fruit gum (it has to be juicy fruit) opened up in the wrapper it will get rid of all pantry bug (weevels, moths). Perhaps, it might work better than any pestacides.

  11. Hmmm – I just consider them another source of protein.

    In all seriousness, one of the nice things about living in SF is access to bulk food stores where I can buy small batches of dry goods that can fit in sealable jars. Even though I go through flour a lot, if it’s not a variety I am going to use frequently, it goes in the freezer, which makes it easier to use for pastry as well. Sometimes though, buying in small volumes isn’t an option and I still try to keep an eye on what I’m buying.

  12. hey i had these.. itried every spice in my cupboard and cloves work !! i dont know where they all dissapeared to but they re no longer in my pantry. just scatter some cloves in the corner of your cupboard ! =)

  13. I had a terrible problem with them too. Threw out everything, used the traps, nothing worked. Then I realized they were laying eggs under my shelf paper. Tore it all out, threw out everything that wasn’t sealed again, and I haven’t seen any since.

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