Dear Tiaralestari, I’ve got the plague: the pantry moth plague. How do I get rid of these hideous creatures? Yours sincerely, Airborne Bug-a-geddon, QLD.
OK, confession time: pantry moths are among my top three most-hated insects of all time (to find out the other two, you’ll need to buy me dinner and a drink).
These pathetic little creatures are like Newman from Seinfeld, except not remotely funny. Always needling their way in uninvited, always surprising you with their disgusting presence, always feasting on your delicious snacks when you’ve specifically told them that you’re saving those Pringles for a night when your husband is out and you can binge-watch UnReal and pour them into your mouth unbridled.
All of this is to say: I feel your pain. So here’s how to get rid of these horrid carbuncles.
1. Take everything out of your pantry. I mean everything. Wipe down every shelf, wall and door with white vinegar, then warm water, and then eucalyptus or peppermint oil (which help to repel them). In a small bowl, lay out a few bay leaves and pop in a corner of your pantry (moths hate bay leaves).
2. Inspect everything you’ve taken out. If it’s got moths (or tiny wriggling white worms, which are basically pre-moths), it goes in the bin (and once everything is in the bin, tie that sucker up, put it in another bag, tie that sucker up and put it in your outdoor bin. I’m not kidding).
3. Anything that’s moth-free can stay, but before you put it back in the pantry, put it in the freezer overnight to kill any moth eggs that may be present. This is a good rule for any dry good you bring home, actually — a quick trip to the freezer will kill eggs on arrival.
4. Repeat after me: from now on, everything is decanted into clean, airtight containers (catchy, isn’t it?). No more semi-closed bags of flour. No more half-heartedly tied pasta bags. If you’re using containers that have previously lived in your moth-infested pantry, clean them thoroughly first.
5. Take a look at pantry anytime you feel like deviating from the script above. Do you think Khloe gets pantry moths? No. No, she does not.