Hiya Missy! Oh girl, I feel your pain... I recently had a bad bout w/ meely moths. I buy a lot of organic food pellets for my parrots, and I have to be really careful about moths, b/c the eggs are in a lot of the ingredients. No way to avoid it. So I have to freeze all the pellets, and also their seed mixtures, for 3 days to kill them, before I put them in containers.
I had to throw out a ton of stuff from my pantry -- anything not tightly sealed. Then I put out traps for the buggers, and finally got them under control. I also mixed up a mixture of rubbing alcohol & water in a spray bottle and went after any live moths I found... I have to be vigilant b/c i've got the potential for this to happen w/ all my birdie food.
You might try this: If it's not TOO bad, and you wanna try to salvage the cayenne, freeze it for about a week (or at least 3 days). If it doesn't gross you out to take cayenne w/ "dead" moth eggs & such, that is.
Also, inspect everything that is near the cayenne that's not sealed really, really well. If it's infested, throw it out. Clean the area really well, and hope for the best.
Isn't that amazing, that they would nest in (feed on?) cayenne!!
Love ya gal,
Here's a bit of information on HOW the meely moths get into the jars and EVERYTHING else!
You probably brought the first batch of mealy moths home from the grocery store. In order to get rid of them, you have to find out where they have "made their home". Pay attention to the cupboards where you see large numbers of the moths. As you look inside the cupboards or pantry, most likely you will see bunches of the moths clustered on the undersides of shelves or on the ceiling. The young are in the form of larvae, which will crawl from one box or package to another. One of the miserable things about the about the larvae is that they will actually crawl into jars of grain or cereal by crawling up the threads of glass at the top where the lid screws on. They can chew through plastic as well as cardboard.
Holy cow!! Crawl into the lid threads?!
I've used a couple brands of these traps.http://www.amazon.com/Catchmaster-Food-Pantry-Traps-traps/dp/B001DDCYES/ref=s... They have a pheromone that attracts the males, and they get trapped in the sticky stuff. Over time they die off since the guys are all gone... Don't know for sure but don't think the pheromone chemical is any problem. (and it's just a tiny dot inside the trap) After cleaning out my pantry, I scattered several of these around the areas where I'd seen them.
And for days i sprayed the adult moths w/ my trusty spray bottle of alcohol & water. Didn't read that anywhere -- just seemed like a good idea. And it works like a charm.
Steam cleaner is a great idea, Water! I have one, and i never thought about it.