The fact that you store potting soil, dog food, birdseed, and other such items in your garage means that you will have to contend with pantry moths. No amount of cleaning the garage space can guarantee you the absence of these moths. This is because, in most cases, they get into the packaging from the factory, as mere eggs.
One moth can lay up to 400 eggs at once, and they always look for the coziest spaces to lay the eggs, such as in the sacks. This explains why the moths can just appear in a bag of dog feed that was well sealed at the factory and has never been opened.
They are carried in the bag and over time, they hatch into larvae. With a favorable environment, the larvae grow and metamorphose into pupa and finally a fully developed moth.
This cycle can take as little time as one month or span to a period of 10 months, depending on the prevailing conditions and what they are feeding on.
Are Pantry Moths Harmful?
While the pantry moths are not harmful to either humans or plants or pets, having them all over your garage is not a good sight. Remember one can hatch so many eggs and this means very few of them can come with the packaged products, but they end up multiplying very fast.
The biggest problem with the pantry moths is that they can make a place to look filthy. Once they infest the products, it becomes hard to consume them especially if food is in question. Filthiness is the main problem since it does not transmit any parasites or diseases.
How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths in the Garage
1. Clean the Garage Frequently
Pantry moths can find their way into your garage accidentally but at that point, they can be eliminated by a simple cleaning up. Cleaning up the garage thoroughly and regularly will get rid of the moths at all stages.
Remember one of the how the moths get into the garage is from the eggs that got into the packages when the seeds or potting soil were being packed. If these develop into fully grown moths, they will lay eggs in the shelves, cracks, and corners of the garage.
If you take too long to clean up the place, the eggs will metamorphose, and eventually, you will have too many pantry moths flying around. As harmless as they may be, they are not a good sight.
2. Get Rid of Stuff that Seems to be Infested
The stuff that you store in the garage could be harboring pantry moths. You need to check them out more often and discard anything that seems to be infested.
While the bag of seeds or soil might have brought in a few eggs, they can multiply into hundreds of moths. This is because one female pantry moth lays between 400 and 500 eggs. Now figure out how the situation will be if there are several of them at the start.
You will have moths flying all over the place and still increasing in number. This will be a menace. You are, therefore, better off getting rid of the stuff that you have identified to be infested.
3. Avoid Storing Trash in the Garage
Trash is a sure source of moths, especially if you have discarded stuff that was already infested in the trash bags. Most people find it convenient to store the trash in the garage or just outside the garage door awaiting collection.
Grown moths and larvae can find their way out of the trash bag and back into the garage, where they will continue to multiply.
To prevent the problem, you should place trash away from the house and open windows.
The best place to store the trash is at the corner of the compound or near the gate, assuming the gate is relatively far from the house.
4. Store Pet Food in the Freezer
Pantry moths in all its stages cannot survive in low temperatures. It needs warmth to even undergo metamorphosis.
When you buy pet food, considering the possibility that the package might be carrying eggs, you should store in the freezer. This will kill all the eggs and any fully developed moths.
Pet owners should have separate refrigerators for their pet food and human food. Human food can be delicate and any form of contamination might lead to food poisoning.
Having a separate pet food freezer will also mean that pet food can be stored in the garage, creating more space for more relevant items in the kitchen pantry.
Pantry moths are not harmful and for this reason, you do not need to inspect the pet food before feeding the pets. In case there are dead moths in the food packages, you do not need to discard the food.
5. Seal Crevices on the Wall
Just like any other pests, pantry moths hide in cracks on the wall especially when they are at the larva stage. They also lay their eggs in the cracks.
This means that you can clean the garage thoroughly but still fail to eliminate the moths.
The solution to this is to vacuum the entire garage with a specific focus on the crevices, to eliminate any larva or eggs already in there.
You should then seal out the cracks using caulk to ensure that the pantry moths do not have a breeding ground. While at it, you should also check out spaces left when fixing the doors and windows, as well as spaces in between the walls and shelves.
6. Use of Pantry Moths Trap
A pantry moth trap is a glue board that contains pheromones. It is easy to use since all you need to do is to peel off the protective layer and place the bait at the most appropriate location.
For a big garage or a scenario where there are too many moths, you can have several moth traps in different locations.
The Pheromone will attract the pantry moths, and once they land on the trap, they will stick to the glue. How long the trap will last depends on the level of infestation. Initially, it will get filled up faster but as the number of moths reduces, it can last up to 90 days.
While using the glue trap, you should also incorporate other measures such as cleaning the garage, vacuuming, and sealing off the crevices to achieve a long term outcome.
7. Use of Insecticide
Last but not least, you can use an insecticide to get rid of pantry moths from your garage. Considering the harmless nature of the pantry moths, this is usually the last option. Most people shy away from insecticide because they contain chemicals that if not handled properly can be hazardous.
However, in cases where the pantry moths have proven to be a menace and all other solutions seem not to be working, you can get Pyrid aerosol or Novacide from a store near you and apply as per the instructions on the packaging.
While applying the insecticide, remember to remove the pet food or store in airtight containers to prevent contamination.
Most insecticides last up to six months, hence you only need to spray the garage twice in a year.
With all these possible solutions, you do not have to wait until your garage is fully infested by pantry moths for you to take action.
Pantry moths are more harmful at the larva stage because that is when they eat everything and anything, including the packaging bags. Unless they are hiding in cracks, the larvae are usually visible; hence they can be eliminated before they develop into full-grown moths.