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How to Get Rid of Birdseed Moths

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If you are a fan of watching birds in your home, you may be concerned with how to get rid of birdseed moths that can get into your birdseed storage. We have some simple tips to help avoid these moths.

Birdseed in hand

How to Get Rid of Birdseed Moths

If you have large moths in your pantry or storage areas, you may be dealing with Indian Meal Moths. These are large and vary in color from brown and gray to a copper, reddish color. They are larger moths, growing up to about 3/4″ as adult moths. They are also the most common of the ones we see as pantry moths.

If you have these moths in your bird food or other pet food storage, it doesn't mean you're not doing a good job of keeping a clean storage area. They can actually be brought home already inside the grain, seed, or animal feed. Even dry goods from the grocery store can have these moths. Unfortunately, if you see these moths in your plastic bags of birdseed or food products, chances are they have already done some damage. The larvae of the Indian Meal Moth can eat a lot. Pantry moth larvae can be pretty destructive just like other insect larvae we see in vegetable gardens and outside.

What can you do for Pantry Moth Infestation?

First, identify your moths by the color, shape and size. The larvae are also have characteristics you can identify. We recommend looking up a photo with a quick internet search to properly identify insects. You can also find a reliable website.

Sadly, you will have to discard any food items including birdseed, dog food, and other dry goods you find them in. There is not a way to get the moths, eggs, and larvae out of the contaminated dry goods. These pantry pests will get in pretty tightly wrapped containers, so it's a good idea to look through all of the items in the pantry. Each storage bin should be cleaned if it's empty, since moths can lay eggs anywhere. The grain products should be discarded if you suspect ANY moths have taken residence inside.

How to get rid of birdseed moths- photo of brown moth

Next, you will need to thoroughly clean the pantry. Use a vacuum cleaner to get all of the areas of the pantry or storage area. If you have shelf liners, it's a good idea to take them out and vacuum/clean the surface of your cabinet. you can always replace with new liners. You can also wash the surface with hot soapy water and allow to air dry. Wash food containers after they are empty, and allow to dry thoroughly before you fill again. Do not fill your food storage containers or replace them in the pantry before completing the pantry clean out!

Traps and Insecticide

Some sources recommend insecticide for severe infestations. If the moths have taken over the entire pantry, the whole house, or you are dealing with an indoor pantry that is also used for human food, the fastest way to ensure the moths are gone is to use good insecticides. You can find some ideas online or call an exterminator. If you're not sure about this step, you can find sticky trap options for moths at your hardware store, Amazon, or any large shopping center. Old-fashioned fly strips hanging inside the pantry may also catch adult moths.

The Pro Pest Pantry Moth traps are easy to set out and don't involve covering the entire pantry surface with insecticide.

Airtight Containers

The main recommendation we have here is to keep dry food completely sealed. You can find a large, good quality plastic container for dry pet food. For your birdseed, try a vacuum bag, or dividing up into smaller closed containers. While these air-tight containers might be time consuming to deal with, you will ensure that this common pest doesn't get into your birdseed again and destroy more valuable seed. Basically you need to ensure any food sources for the moths are removed, and the affected area for storage is clean and dry. These steps will hopefully prevent another pantry moth problem.

Sealed bin for food storage - How to get rid of birdseed moths

Essential Oils as Insect Repellants

While these other cleaning ideas may work, if you are looking to prevent additional bird seed bugs and insects, you can use Essential Oils to repel insects. We do use them around the garden since some scents naturally repel bugs. Apply an essential oil mix to cotton balls or make your own DIY spray that you can apply to the shelving (while empty) and again later on. Ensure the essential oils do not come in contact with any pantry items or food, especially for animals.

Peppermint oil, lemongrass, and even cinnamon are said to repel insects with their scents. If you're interested in a more natural way to repel these grain moths, this is another option! We have had some success with our ant prevention here– so you can also try that for moths.

Thanks for Reading!

While there's several ways to rid yourself of these pesky pantry moths, some tips may work better than others. Keep a close eye out for these insects and keep a clean storage area, and hopefully any issues with bird seed moths will be few and easily manageable. Don't miss our other posts about wild birds and bird watching here on the blog.

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