Did you know the Indian Meal Moth can be found in homes at every stage of their life cycle? The Indian Meal Moth primarily feeds on stored grains, appearing in silos and household pantries while searching for grains, dried fruits, cereals and other processed foods. There’s nothing worse than pouring a bowl of cereal in the morning and you see a moth fly out or larvae in your bowl. Their voracious appetites can be a real downer on your home food supply. Luckily, these pesky moths can be managed fairly easily by following the Indian Meal Moth prevention tips below.
Additional Pest Information
Indian Meal Moth
Appearance – The Indian meal moth got its name after an insect scientist found it feeding on corn meal, also known as Indian meal. From wing tip to wing tip, adult moths measure 5/8-3/4 inches long. This fairly small moth has wings that are copper reddish colored on the outer part and tips of the wings, with a lighter band across the upper part of the wing.
Biology – The adult moth may be seen fluttering in kitchens or food storage areas. Female moths can lay 100 to 300 eggs on food surfaces, and the larvae hatch to feed on the food. Newly hatched larvae are hard to see, but they can grow to be 1/2-5/8 inches long.
Larvae are yellowish, pinkish or greenish color with a brown head. It is the newly hatched larva that causes problems by feeding on just about anything. From cereal products, bird seeds, to dog or cat food; they contaminate the food with larval shedding, feces, and silk webbing.
Prevention – Dried food products should be looked at thoroughly for signs of moths. Check any items that have been in the cupboard the longest and opened packages, like flour, noodles, dried fruit, nuts, spices, dog food and birdseeds. If you do find moths, caterpillars and silk webbing then throw away the foods in outdoor trash bins. Clean cupboards where the moths were thoroughly with a vacuum and soapy water. Also, look behind and under appliances and cupboards for spilled food and clean it up. Adult moths live up to a month, so you may see them flying around even though you may have thrown out all the infested food. Be sure to store food in sealed containers. If adult moths are still fluttering around, speak with a pest professional for advice and/or treatment.
Preventing Indian Meal Moths in Your Home
1. Identify Sources of Infestation – Promptly discard infested items and thoroughly clean out all food sources. This is pivotal to controlling Indian Meal Moths in your home.
2. Trap Live Populations – Non-toxic traps are sold in pest control sections of big-box retailers. Place them in pantries and around affected areas. These will help catch adult moths that could lay eggs in new food sources.
3. Prevent Re-Infestation – Store foods in sealed air-tight containers or in cold storage to help prevent re-infestation of the Indian Meal Moth. If the moth can’t get in to lay eggs, then you won’t have any future issues. Also, use a natural moth spray in your pantry or try using essential oils to keep the moths from returning.