Pantry Pests – What Are They & Tips For Preventing Infestations

Have you ever opened a packet of biscuits from the back of your pantry or cupboard, eager to dig in, only to find they have already been devoured or at least partially devoured by something else. I know this had happened to many of us over the years. Generally the first thought is mice, but more than likely it’s the little critters we call pantry pests.

What Are Pantry Pests?

Pantry pests are critters that reside in your home and tend to have an appetite for stored food in cupboards, draws, your pantry, and any other areas you may have stored food in your home. Common species of pantry pests include the almond moth. weevils, indian meal moth,  ants, cheese mites, biscuit beetles, flour beetles and a range of other creepy crawlies.


pantry pests adelaide

Image source:


Example Of Pantry Moths in Food



Tips For Preventing Pantry Pests

It certainly can be one of the most stomach churning sites……..seeing a bunch of moths fluttering around in your pantry. However this is not the most disturbing part. More than likely their larvae will be happily munching away on your grains, wheat, feed, dried fruit, nuts, flour and even pet food.

It’s thought that the first pantry pests probably arrived with the first fleet, when sacks of flour were transported. Ever since, food producers and consumers have been dealing with the problem ever since.

You may also notice cobweb like fibres in your flour, or a powdery residue in cereal of fruit mix.

Simple strategies to prevent infestations include:

  • Sealed containers: This is one is simple and obvious, but it’s also the easiest. If you have kids we know they tend to just open a packet of biscuits for example and put the open packet back in the pantry. It’s best once opened to put any food in a sealed container.
  • If you find cobwebs or residue, completely remove everything from the pantry, and thoroughly clean the entire area. Make sure you really clean the cracks and edges carefully to remove all larvae. It’s even worth getting the vacuum cleaner out.
  • If you find any indication of an infestation, make sure you remove all food you believe may be infested, and remove from the property.
  • If you’re unsure if a food item is infested or not, and you don’t want to throw it out, you can always freeze the food, which will kill any larvae.

However it’s important to remember that pantry pests are a natural part of the eco system, so we do not want to completely obliterate them from the face of the earth, but we do want to keep them away from our food.

indian meal moths infesting rice


Parliament House Infested With Pantry Moths

Even the most resourceful venues in Australia have had infestations. Staff at Parliament House in Canberra, noted in 2018 they had a moth infestation, however it was particularly a problem in the clothing and carpets.

“The moths feed on natural fibres and — despite various treatments late last year — the current infestation has already affected carpets, furnishing fabrics and personal items of Senators and Members. If not contained this has the potential to have a wider impact, including on items in the art collection.” Source:

Sticky Pheromone Traps

Possibly the cheapest and easiest methods to actually catch pantry pests is by using sticky pheromone traps. These work by placing the trap in an infected area.

You can see how they work with this video:



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