Indian Meal Moth – A Pantry Pest

You may have noticed more than one moth in your home.  But surely a few little moths are nothing to worry about, right?  After all, you already know that moths are not the creatures that can do damage to things in your home.  Their food source is flower nectar.   

What fails to occur to a lot of people is that the moths already in your home can mean damage in the future.  This is because the larvae of the moth will be the one to do this damage.  Indian meal moths are especially irritating pantry pests because of all the things that their larvae can eat and get into.  

indian meal moth, Ransford Pest ControlIndian meal moths in their adult form are gray and have copper-colored front wing tips.  This copper color makes them rather easy to identify.  If you have a lot of these in your home, chances are that at some point they mated and the females laid eggs somewhere.  They may be in any number of locations, but the main point is that she will lay them near a food source.  When larvae hatch they will head straight for the food, which can be anything from a package of flour to cereals.  Packaging won’t stop the larvae, which is what makes them pests you don’t want in your home.  They will chew through the packaging to get at the food inside.  

As they eat, they cover food and other areas with a silken webbing, so if you see webbing, then there are likely larvae around or they have passed through the area.  Food that has been eaten and damaged by Indian meal moth larvae should be thrown away, areas should be vacuumed to take away any additional food particles and insects that are lingering.  

Eventually the larvae will create a cocoon in order to turn into a moth.  You can help to break the cycle of an Indian meal moth infestation by searching out the cocoons.  Check your walls, ceiling, cracks, behind appliances, or even behind picture frames on the walls.  Cocoons or crawling larvae will be up high somewhere so the cocoon can hang and they can fly free when the time comes.  You can get rid of the larvae or cocoons you see and take additional precautions by sealing up foodstuffs in glass jars or plastic containers.  Move pet food to another area if it can’t be sealed.   

By keeping food out of reach and keeping the larvae from maturing, you can prevent a serious infestation or remove a current one.  If you continue to have problems even after these steps, then it is best to call in a professional pest control company.

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