Visitors are coming this weekend, which is the perfect opportunity to try out the new Gugelhupf recipe. But as soon as you open the flour package, a small brown creature flutters towards you, its mates still sitting idly in the package as if nothing could disturb them. Now you also notice the fine webs of thread and the empty pupa cases on the bag. The desire to bake has disappeared for the time being. 

For the time being, it’s time to take decisive action. Because anyone who hesitates or does not proceed systematically in the case of food moths will soon have a real problem. Although the small moths do not pose a direct health risk, they are unappetizing when they populate the kitchen cupboard, from cereal to breadcrumbs to dog food. And it doesn’t stop there: the maggots crawl behind the cupboard walls, nest in cookbooks and drill holes, crawl up the wallpaper – some people have already discovered a nest behind the socket cover! So, here are 10 tips on how to get rid of the pest in a fundamental and lasting way. 

1) Garbage can 

The first step to getting rid of food moths is to rigorously remove all suspected packaging. Since the greedy larvae of the moth squeeze through even the smallest cracks and bite through materials such as paper, foil or cardboard with ease, it is imperative to check even unopened packaging. It is better to throw away too much than to be annoyed afterwards, is the motto. 

2) Freezer 

Food that has passed the visual inspection, but which you are not completely sure about, can be put in the freezer overnight. The cold will kill the moth’s inconspicuous eggs. 

3) Vinegar 

After the mucking out comes the cleaning: Mix water and household vinegar in a 2 to 1 ratio and use it to wipe out the emptied kitchen cabinets. It is best to take out the shelves and clean every crevice and the sides. 

4) Hair dryer 

You can’t get into every crack with a rag. You can blow-dry crevices, drill holes or hinges on the hottest setting without damaging the veneer. The hair dryer not only blows out the moth hiding places, but the heat also kills the larvae. 

5) Diatomaceous earth 

If the infestation is already advanced, it is worthwhile to observe where the moths and larvae are coming from. If they have built nests behind the cabinet wall, in the vent of the refrigerator or in the wallpaper, often only insect spray helps. However, make sure to wipe everything thoroughly with water later. Also, the cabinets should only be put away again after about 3 days, in order to be able to spray again in case of emergency. An alternative to the chemical club is diatomaceous earth. The powder made from dead diatoms is an effective insect killer and completely safe for humans and pets. Sprinkle some diatomaceous earth in the cracks and corners of your closet. After a few days you can vacuum the powder. 

6) Baking powder 

Baking soda is used to help control food moths. However, it is also suitable as a remedy when the infestation is not yet severe. Mix the baking powder with flour and put a small bowl of it in your kitchen cupboard. The moths will lay their eggs in the bowl. If the larvae have hatched, they will die when they eat the baking powder. 

7) Parasitic wasps 

If the moths keep returning despite all the measures taken, then the only option is the “war of the insects”. This method is not exactly cheap, but extremely effective. On the Internet you can buy cards with ichneumon wasps against food moths. These are equipped with 1,000 to 3,000 eggs, which you hang in the affected cupboards and corners. The ichneumon wasps unerringly seek out the moths’ eggs and lay their own in them. Once the moths have died out, the ichneumon wasps also die – so there is no threat of a second plague. 

8) Caution 

Food moths sometimes come flying through windows, especially if there are garbage cans in the immediate vicinity. By far the most common way of immigration, however, is the introduction of moths through purchased food. In the store, you should therefore look closely at flour, semolina or cereal packages to see if there are small holes or webs. 

9) Firm closures 

Ready-made goods packed in bags should not be stocked up. Moths look for quiet places to lay their eggs: anything that has not been touched for a long time is particularly at risk. It is best to pack all supplies in tight plastic or glass closures. In addition, it is important not to leave any spilled goods or flour dust in the kitchen cupboard. Here are 20 tidying tricks that will help you keep the cupboards really clean. 

10) Scents 

Certain scents moths don’t like at all. These include lavender, cedarwood, laurel and cloves. Hang scented sachets in the closet and the moths will stay away. Fresh lavender on the kitchen window looks very decorative to boot.  

Food moths belong to the family of beetles. Clothes moths, on the other hand, are moths. If you discover mysterious holes in your T-shirts, you should first check whether another reason is responsible. However, if you have clearly identified clothes moths, you should treat them in the same way as food moths: Clean out the closet completely, wipe it down with vinegar water, blow-dry holes and crevices, and either put affected clothes in the freezer for a few days or wash them at 140 °F. Scented sachets with lavender work as a preventative.