Moth Larvae on Your Kitchen Ceiling? Here's What to Do!

a mother and daughter making a cake in their kitchen

Are moths quite literally driving you up the wall? If you have started to notice small white, brown, or yellow worms up high in your kitchen near or on the ceiling, you may have a moth infestation. Pantry Moths love to eat dry goods and are often attracted to kitchen areas in the home. The larvae of these moths look like small worms and can quickly begin tunneling through stored food items. If left unaddressed, they can cause serious problems in your household.

If you are wondering how to get rid of Pantry Moth Larvae on your ceiling areas, you are not alone. To treat an infestation up high, there are a few surefire things that can be done. Below, we will cover how to get rid of these creepy crawlies and keep them away from your ceiling, pantry, and home, for good!

How to get rid of Pantry Moth Larvae on your ceiling?

Moth larvae on the ceiling usually indicate an infestation nearby. Pantry Moths love to infest dried food goods such as unsealed bags of grain. Pheromone Pantry Moth Traps can be used to catch adult male flying Pantry Moths. You may need to consider natural Moth-killing sprays as well.

Most importantly, you need to discover which food source the moth larvae are feeding on. To remove a moth infestation and ensure that no more larvae will be spotted crawling overhead, you will first need to address the infestation at its source.

Which items in your home are attracting moths? Do you have dry goods stored up high that may be harboring a nest of these little caterpillars?

messy bags of pasta, flour, nuts and seeds stored up high in a cupboard

Once you find the source of an infestation, you can clear it out. After thoroughly cleaning and treating the most heavily infested areas, you can take care of the rest of your house, including the walls and ceilings, and may want to consider using a natural spray to kill eggs, larvae and moths.

Removing Moth Larvae in Kitchen Spaces

To remove Pantry Moth Larvae on kitchen ceiling stretches, you need to have a game plan in place. First off, it is essential to think about what you may need to tackle the infestation by way of Pantry Moth Traps and possibly non toxic moth killing spray. Additionally, you will need to eliminate a moth infestation at its source.

Understanding A Moth Larvae Infestation In The Kitchen

Infestations of moths in your kitchen are usually caused by Pantry Moths, otherwise known as the Indian Meal Moth. These moths mate and lay eggs near easy-to-access food sources. Their larvae love to eat shelf-stable items like flour, cornmeal, cereal, pasta, and sometimes even sugar!

The Diet of Pantry Moth Larvae

Pantry Moth Larvae will basically feed on anything edible and easy to access. This can even include bird seed, dog food, and woven baskets! Dry good items stored in cardboard boxes or paper bags without plastic linings are particularly susceptible to a Pantry Moth infestation.

How To Remove Pantry Moth Infestations In The Kitchen Or Pantry

With this kind of infestation, the first thing to do is identify what dry goods, shelf-stable items, or edibles are most heavily infested with moth larvae. Once you know what has been contaminated, you can begin waging war on these yucky little worms.

How To Find Where Moth Larvae Are Hiding In The Kitchen

a Pantry Moth and Pantry Moth Larvae sitting in grains

Moth larvae can be anywhere that’s room temperature. This can include cabinets, drawers, under shelves, in your ceiling cracks, or in your edible goods. However, they will not be in the fridge or freezer, as they can not usually survive in temperatures under 45 degrees.

How To Tell If A Food Item Is Infested With Larvae

Sometimes, an infestation is very apparent as you will see moth larvae crawling around in food stuffs . In other situations, it can be hard to figure out whether an item is infested with moth larvae. This is because moth larvae are good at blending in with their surroundings and can also get coated in dry powders such as flour which helps to hide them even more thoroughly!

Moreover, moth eggs are very tiny and can be virtually invisible to the naked eye. So, first look for live larvae, dead larvae, or moth casings. Then, look for little holes chewed in a food item or tears where larvae could easily get in.

Check for Moth Larvae in Flour or Powder Food Items

Basically, when larvae are camouflaged, they can be hard to spot. Moth eggs are often even harder to detect. To figure out if you have moths in a bag of flour, scoop a cup or so out and pour it into a bowl. Then, run the bowl under the tap to get it wet. The moth larvae will usually become shiny once the powder is rinsed away.

Be sure to check other fine powders (like powdered sugar) in the same way. You can also look for little “husks” that are actually the shed casings of the growing moths. Dead larvae in your flour bags or nearby are another sign of an infestation. Sticky webbing can indicate eggs.

Removing Moth-Infested Food Items

If a food item is infested with moth larvae, it is best to tie it up in a bag and toss it in the trash. Then, move the trash away from your home so nothing can crawl back inside. However, you can also freeze some items to kill any hidden moth larvae.

Dog food and bird seed, for instance, can be frozen for 72 hours to kill moth larvae and neutralize any hidden eggs. Dead Pantry Moth Larvae are totally safe for dogs and birds to consume. (Technically, they are safe for humans to consume as well, but who wants to eat worms?)

Cleaning an Infested Area and Removing Moth Eggs

a woman in rubber gloves cleaning her ceiling

After you have cleared out the obviously infested stuff, it is time to take care of less conspicuous infestation matters. For instance, moth eggs could be hidden in the packaging of some items. To be safe, freeze anything that was sitting near a heavily infested spot for 72 hours if you can. If it can not be frozen, at least wipe it down with a natural moth-killing spray.

Using Safe Sprays to Kill Moths in the Kitchen

Some moth sprays and insecticides are not safe to use around your food. Many customers prefer products that are safe to use around their home, children and pets. For more information you may like to read our Pantry Moths Kit Guide which provides information on how to use non toxic products in line with our Traps to rid your home of Pantry Moths.

MothDefense Pantry Moth Traps are made from highly effective non-toxic pheromones.

Other Things to Know About Worms on the Kitchen Ceiling

Kitchens can be hot spots for bugs. After all, kitchens usually have plenty of moisture, edible items, and sometimes residual food and crumbs lingering around. Fruit flies, house flies, pantry moths, grain beetles, cockroaches, and an array of other insects love to invade kitchen spaces.

If you notice little worms in your kitchen crawling around the ceilings and walls, there's a good chance that you are dealing with an Indian Meal Moth (Pantry Moth) infestation. However, you could also be dealing with maggots. With that being said, maggots can't really crawl up your walls. Instead, they wiggle around and will usually be found near decaying items including trash cans and garbage disposals.

Unless you have shelves up high with something you forgot about decaying on them, it is more likely that moth larvae are to blame. If you definitely have maggots falling from the walls, check that nothing in the ceiling or inside of the walls is decomposing like a dead bird or mouse.

Moths and Larvae on Walls and Ceiling: FAQs

an empty pupa from an Indian Meal Moth on a kitchen wall

Now that you know more about moth larvae crawling on your walls, exploring your ceiling, and hanging around in your kitchen, let's discuss some frequently asked questions about these pesky little worms.

How do I get rid of moth larvae on my ceiling?

To remove moth larvae from your ceiling the first step is to find where the actual infestation is coming from and throw away any infested items. This is followed by a thorough clean of the infested area and placing Pantry Moth Traps to both monitor for moths and help break the breeding cycle. For larger infestations you may like to read our Pantry Moths Kit Guide for information on using natural residual sprays in your kitchen areas.

For more detailed information on tackling a Pantry Moth Infestation you can see our helpful guide here: How Do I Get Rid of Pantry Moths?

Why are moth larvae on my ceiling?

If you are noticing moth larvae on your ceiling, chances are that you have a bigger infestation on your hands somewhere in your house. It could be that a food item or natural fabric material garment is infested with moth larvae. The larvae are simply crawling around nearby looking for more to eat.

It may also be that something inside of your walls or ceiling is attracting these insects. Do a thorough inspection and find the source of the problem to get rid of these caterpillars.

Why do I have little white worms on my ceiling?

There are many reasons that you could be noticing insects on your ceiling. Most likely, you are dealing with a moth infestation. Pantry Moths are common household pests. The larvae are pretty mobile and will also crawl around walls and ceilings in search of food.

What kills Pantry Moth Larvae instantly?

Many pesticides can kill insects on contact. The problem is, Pantry Moth Larvae usually hang around kitchen areas. As you know, using pesticides in your kitchen is not the best idea therefore a safe natural spray to use in your kitchen and kitchen cupboards is the safest method to eliminate Pantry Moths. Pantry Moth Traps will help break the breeding cycle by catching the active adult male moths. You can also use hot soapy water to kill these bugs. The heat from the water will be enough to end them. You can wipe them up with a rag and then dunk the rag in a bucket of hot soapy water. Pantry Moth Larvae are intolerant to water and drown quickly when saturated.

About MothPrevention

MothPrevention® speak to customers every day about their clothes moth issues - clothes moths are a species that are ever increasing and that can cause significant damage to clothes, carpets and other home textiles.

To date, we’ve helped over 150,000 customers deal with their moth problems. We have developed professional grade solutions including proprietary pheromones, not available from anybody else in the USA, and engineered in Germany to the highest production standards.

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