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Thread: Tiny White Worms in my Kitchen...Help!

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Tiny White Worms in my Kitchen...Help!

    Okay here's the story...few weeks ago i opened up my jar of peanut butter (to make some Death Balls) and there were these little white worms in the jar (DH thinks they might have gotten there from when i scoop my apple into the jar! oops). So i threw out the jar, but now i have them all over the place!! Well, mainly in one corner of the kitchen--about 5-7 of them at a time "appear" on our kitchen ceiling or heading up the wall to the ceiling or they have dropped from the ceiling and are laying on the counter. They are starting to gross me out and frustrate me b/c we can't figure out where they are coming from! They just seem to appear...anyone have any clues or experience in getting rid of them?? TIA!

  2. #2
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    They could be pantry moths - have you seen any moths or webbing in your kitchen? If that's what they are, they are a real pain to get rid of, because they will lay eggs in any crack, which will hatch into a new brood a few weeks later :mad: . To get rid of them, you need to freeze or throw out any food that's not in an airtight container (they will make their way into plastic bags quite easily), thoroughly clean every nook and cranny, then get some pantry moth traps. There have been a number of previous threads on this pest - if you do a search on pantry moths, you should come up with them.
    The motive power of democracy is love. ~ Henri Bergson

  3. #3
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    That HAS got to be it...I did notice some of the pantry moths in my PANTRY but haven't seen any worms in that room which is odd, but i have seen the webbing, etc. and they are probably in some of our cereal boxes, etc. in our kitchen cabinet. ARRGGH...so frustrating--how do they get into sealed packages!? thank you for replying--i am off to check out the pantry moth threads and go thru my boxes of foods!

  4. #4
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    You have my sympathies - I hate those little buggers. We went through this last year - if I could give you one piece of advice - throw out EVERYTHING that's not vacuum sealed shut. Anything new that you bring into the house that can be frozen temporarily should go into your freezer for 48 hours to kill any eggs that might be in it.

    Get the traps and put bay leaves all over your shelves.

    The good news is that they're harmless.

  5. #5
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    holy cow! i just read all the threads about the pantry moths and how to kill/clean, etc. THANK YOU!!! i had no idea that those little worms were related to the moths i had encountered a few months ago in our pantry! i just threw out almost all of the food in my cabinet in the kitchen (very deep and on bottom shelf in my kitchen=difficult to clean with my big ninth month of pregnancy belly!) and went thru everything in our pantry (a totally separate room) and WOW--two huge trash cans full but that's okay, just want to get rid of this boogers. And DH is going to the hardware store on his way home to get pantry moth traps. THANKS AGAIN!!

  6. #6

    Pantry Moths

    I also had these skinny white worms crawling all around my pantry room ceiling. I knew they were too skinny to be maguts, but didn't know what the heck they were until coming across this thread and other websites.
    I deep cleaned the pantry room and the entire kitchen (edges, cracks, bottom of everything) with white vinegar. It killed everything (so far)!
    BEWARE: if you have clothes in the room where the worms are, they are probably in the clothes also. My washer and dryer are in this room so I have clothes in there. I found several eggs and worms in the basket. Go outside and shake out the clothes. You may have to flick them off too.
    I ran to Home Depot and bought several pantry moth traps and moth balls. I set these all over the pantry room and kitchen until I see that all these moths are gone! I've been seeing several moths in these two rooms for about 2 months already but didn't think much of it (I live in FL, and bugs aren't much of a suprise).
    BEWARE! The worms and moths are also in plastic bags/freezer bags! All of my paper towels wrapped in plastic were infested as well as all of my dog's bones which I had stored in freezer bags.
    SO: throw out all cereals and such; take out clothes which will be infested; wash down walls and cracks with vinegar; and get moth traps. The only way you will rid the eggs and worms is to KILL THE MOTHS!!
    Hope this helps. You guys helped me alot!

  7. #7
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    I've had my battles with those pantry moths... usually we end up taking everything out of the cabinets trying to find the source. Last time it was a box of Panko bread crumbs. As soon as we opened the top we knew we'd found the Mother Ship!

    I haven't had a problem now in three years. My MIL gave me the tip of scattering bay leaves in my cabinets and replacing them once per year. I usually keep my Penzey's bay leaves for cooking and buy the bulk bay leaves for the cabinets. Between the bay leaves and storing most of my things in Lock & Lock containers I haven't had any issues!
    ~ "The right shoe can change your life...."- Cinderella ~

  8. #8
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    I have gone thru this nightmare too. After chcecking all boxes, bags etc., I emptied the pantry and vacuumed the entire place including every crack. Then I used the moth traps. I still keep traps in my pantry to catch any new visitors. Also, I started keeping all grains in quart canning jars sealed with my Foodsaver. I have not had a problem since I started this.

  9. #9
    OMG thank you so much, I have been going nuts and it is a relief I find someone having the exact same story - When I first saw the moths I thought they were flies that came when I left the window open or something - couple weeks ago I started seeing the worms GROSSS

    I have a pantry room which I didnt see anything even close to it probably because I have everything (rice, seeds and more) in big metal containers.
    However they appeared the most over my kitchen cabinet by my fridge where I always left the cereal boxes. and there is another cabinet right next to it that had the zip lock bags with biscuits and crackers.
    There where I always saw the moths and right above it now I see the worms.
    I emptied everything , threw everything, scrubbed everything and sprayed it (with insect killer silly me)

    two hours later I still saw two more worms!
    but appreantely they laid eggs in there as when I was emptying I saw two more moths.
    My question is for now after emptying and cleaning - traps and balls are the next step? I am concerned about the eggs in the craks things? Is there a way to make sure I cleaned everything?
    It's the very top kitchen cabinet with a lot of craks in it!!

    Help please

  10. #10
    You have my complete sympathy. Those little buggers are totally EVIL! If you ever get rid of them don't get complacent. Once they know where you live they will come back. I have actually had things like rice in mason jars and found the larvae in the spiral threads of the jar . I also had things like Bisquick where they drilled holes through the cardboard box and got in. You can actually hold the empty box up to the light and see holes all over the place. Now I use the traps. clean my pantry out as often as possible, vacuum in the pantry whenever I can, vacuum the outside of the pantry whenever I run the sweeper elsewhere (they seem to like to set up camp under the pantry in that toe space). When you see the adult moths flying you know you have a potential problem. Fortunately the adults are very slow and stupid and easy to kill. Good luck.
    Last edited by NancyR; 01-03-2011 at 09:04 AM.
    "When you are in love with someone you want to be near him all the time, except when you are out buying things and charging them to him." Miss Piggy

  11. #11
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    I had these awful villains 2 yrs ago and I threw out almost everything in my pantry!!!! It was awful and I started keeping almost all my bread making stuff in the freezer for a long time after the event. I think I brought them home in a box of dog treats I bought at Target and kept in a sealed box in the pantry! Now I keep those sticky traps in my pantry all the time to keep those bastards at bay!
    It just seemed so gross to have them invade my food!
    Good luck!

  12. #12
    Check your chili powder, too--they like some spices. I even found them hatching out of the bar bait I keep under the sink for the little mousies who like to visit. Bird seed is another source.

    The freezer is your friend--48 hours below zero will kill the eggs that hatch into the larvae that make the moths.

    If you have recurring problems with pantry pests, it could be a sign that you are keeping things too long. If you like to stock up, which some of us do, be sure to freeze things and then store them in airtight containers. I think glass is best, and use lots of mason jars, but heavy plastic with airtight lids work for some folks. Plastic bags and paper don't even slow the little so-and-sos down.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by sparrowgrass View Post
    I think glass is best, and use lots of mason jars, .
    I thought that too until I found them in the threads of the jar !!!!! No joke. I unscrewed the jar and they were all along the threads. I came close to losing my lunch over that one. They also seem to like the little boxes that paper and plastic goods come in (waxed paper rolls, Saran Wrap, Ziploc bags, etc). Yuck, yuck, yuck.
    "When you are in love with someone you want to be near him all the time, except when you are out buying things and charging them to him." Miss Piggy

  14. #14
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    Thank goodness I have never had this issue, but now I am terrified it could happen.

    Thanks for all the advice. Cleaning out the pantry and getting some bay leaves are on the agenda for this weekend.
    Write your hurts in sand, carve your blessings in stone.

  15. #15
    They may be in the threads, but they can't get by the rubber seal on the flat part of the lid.

    Any kind of container has a lid, and if you have a bad infestation, you need to inspect every surface.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    after i had them in my pantry and lost TONS of food, i started putting everything through the freezer in ziploc bags for a few days to kill any larvae/eggs that might be there. and it worked. sugar, flour, grains... i just let them truly thaw thoroughly afterwards, put them into airtight comtainers and tossed the bags i'd used to freeze them in.

  17. #17

    Update update:D

    I am not sure if I should celebrate victory just yet LOL
    Here we go - so actually my pantry is safe (so far!) it's the kitchen cabinet with all the nuts and cereal that was attacked, this where we always saw them - no where else!
    Neeeways, so I emptied everything, cleaned everything , threw away everything. same day a couple of worms showed up. Killed those suckers. I got the traps put them where we usually saw them, yet nothing stuck since yesterday!
    Today I saw one moth flying, killed it and that's it.
    How do I know they're gone? if the trap doesn't catch anything?

    Any idea?
    AM I FREE??? seriously am I done with this extremely GROSS issue?
    HELP!!

  18. #18
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    We had them too! I lost quite a bit of things...we used traps and bay leaves...and washed the walls and shelves and doors...lots of work only to have them show up again shortly after ...So I took down all of the metal tracking from the walls the shelves are hooked into and found them behind that. I washed and scrubbed that with bleach water and then cleaned the walls, shelves etc...and put back the bay leaves and traps and finally they were gone...it's been a year but oh what a pain!!!
    EmptyNestMom
    Grandma Pam to 3


    "The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude." – Julia Child

  19. #19
    OMG ! well just today the trap got 3 of them! I am not 100 % sure they are gone, I am pulling out the fridge and doing some extra deep cleaning! Oh this is so gross.
    So what are the signs that they are completly gone?
    how do you really know?
    because my cabinet is basically empty , I am afraid to put any food back there yet!
    the three that showed today came on an empty location!!

    How do I make sure they are completely gone you think?

  20. #20
    oh and another question please for whoever can help!
    they come back in both shapes (flying and worms) is that an indication for anything??
    cuz i really dunno which came first!

    Thank you

  21. #21
    I hate to tell you but I don't think you can ever be sure they are gone. My bad infestation was about 6 years ago and unless I am careful they try to move back in. I think a lot of it has to do with where you live. I live in the country surrounded by woods so "nature" is just part of my life. Whenever I vacuum I always stick the nozzle in the pantry just on general principles and I always keep traps set. Whenever I see that I caught something then I get more cautious. Don't get me wrong, you can go for VERY long stretches without them.
    "When you are in love with someone you want to be near him all the time, except when you are out buying things and charging them to him." Miss Piggy

  22. #22
    Join Date
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    You need to think of the life cycle of the pantry moth, (butterfly etc). The tiny worms will find a place to spin a little cocoon and in there it will turn into a moth, which emerges and attacks our grain foods. By vacuuming the worms you have gotten a great part of the problem. Look for little spun web things along where the walls meet and where the walls meet the ceiling and in crevices and get them. The traps are charged with pheromones and will only trap the males which will stop the breeding but as I said in an earlier post,I always keeps a trap in the pantry and one in a couple of cabinets. You will still get some moths from cocoons you missed but the trrap should stop those from breeding. Check carefully for webs when opening new flour sacks and if found return to your store. My Kroger had such a problem once the moths were flying around the flour isle!

  23. #23

    Thank you !

    Thank you guys so much!
    I still can see one to two moths daily!
    no worms however!
    I will do the vacuum and I will keep the traps.
    Thanks again for all the help!

    This is sooooo annoying and sooo groos!
    Oh I have a final question what would be the best thing for storage?
    I mean since I discovered that and I took everything out, but I need to put cereal, bread crumbs, tea and coffee back
    Would plastic containers with lids (like cereal keepers) work?
    Or that is still a big NO!!

    I took away all plastic bags and paper boxes, just wanted to make sure how to start storing things back?

    Thank you

  24. #24

    Our War

    Our war raged on for years. We had bought a small house about 15 years ago and soon after the trouble with the moths began.
    I started noticing larvae and small moths with their webby material in things like flour and grains. Things were thrown out and replaced in snap shut containers. Shelves were washed thoroghly. The problem continued to where we were finding the little creepies in sealed boxes of past, bags of rice, jars of spices. At one point they even got into a bottle of dried chili peppers!
    The next step was to buy a huge chest freezer and everything except cans went in there yet we still had moths.
    After 5 or so years we decided we needed a larger home due to our growing family. Our house was leveled to the ground and taken away bit by bit to the scrapyard while we lived with relatives for a year while we built a new house.
    The problem was solved. Guess the trick is to tear down your house! I truly believe the bugs were living in the walls.
    10 years later I still inspect every single package and jar I open. It's become a habit and a way of life.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by shelleybean View Post
    Our war raged on for years. We had bought a small house about 15 years ago and soon after the trouble with the moths began.
    I started noticing larvae and small moths with their webby material in things like flour and grains. Things were thrown out and replaced in snap shut containers. Shelves were washed thoroghly. The problem continued to where we were finding the little creepies in sealed boxes of past, bags of rice, jars of spices. At one point they even got into a bottle of dried chili peppers!
    The next step was to buy a huge chest freezer and everything except cans went in there yet we still had moths.
    After 5 or so years we decided we needed a larger home due to our growing family. Our house was leveled to the ground and taken away bit by bit to the scrapyard while we lived with relatives for a year while we built a new house.
    The problem was solved. Guess the trick is to tear down your house! I truly believe the bugs were living in the walls.
    10 years later I still inspect every single package and jar I open. It's become a habit and a way of life.
    Here's the truth; the eggs are already in the flour, pancake mix, cereal box when you buy it. Under the right conditions, they will start their life cycle.
    Inspecting only helps after they've started.

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