Tag Archives: Moth Control

Highlight on the Indian Meal Moth – a Pantry Pest

The Pantry Pest
The Pantry Pest

When you think of pantry pests, insects like ants, gnats and fruit flies probably come to mind, but there’s another one you should be aware of. Indian meal moths can also get into your pantry and ruin some of your food supplies.

Indian meal moths are elongated bugs with a reddish-brown coloring on their wings. They’re small insects that measure up to three quarters of an inch long. These pests are drawn to pantries and other places where food is stored, such as supermarkets, especially in areas where there’s a lot of light. Indian meal moths, which got their name when they were discovered eating corn meal, feed on several types of food products, including candy, nuts, seeds, grains and chocolate.

They can also infest bags of dog food and bird seed. If you find these pests in your pantry, toss out any food supplies they’ve invaded, thoroughly clean the area and call in Monmouth County pest control experts if needed. You can prevent Indian meal moths from getting into your pantry or cupboards by throwing food out in trash cans outside and keeping food stored in airtight containers.

If you’re struggling with Indian meal moths or other pantry pests, contact Allison Pest Control for reliable service. With the help of our Monmouth County pest control professionals, you can enjoy having a pantry that’s free of pests.

Three Things You May Not Know about Indian Meal Moths

The Indian Meal Moth
The Indian Meal Moth

Indian meal moths are common pantry pests. About 5/8 inch long, these small moths have creamy white wings that are banded with colorful reddish-copper stripes. Their appetite for grains and dried foods makes Indian meal moths a persistent problem in home kitchens and Monmouth County, New Jersey commercial kitchens, grocery stores and food storage facilities.

1. What They Eat

Named for their appetite for corn meal, Indian meal moths feed on many dried foods, including grains, seeds, fruits, nuts, bird seed, dog food, powdered milk, herbs, spices, dried red peppers, chocolate and candy. Infestations contaminate food, making it inedible.

The colorful adult moths are not themselves harmful. Adults live only about one week, just long enough to mate and lay their eggs on dried foods. It is the hatched larvae — tiny brown-headed white caterpillars — that are considered pantry pests.

2. Variable Life Cycle

Indian meal moth larvae spend their days hungrily munching on flour, cereals, pet food and other dried foods stored in your kitchen cupboards. They contaminate food with their silky webbing and gritty waste.

Depending on the temperature, larvae may spend several weeks in warm weather to several months in cool weather feeding before pupating. When ready to pupate, caterpillars spin loose cocoons in nearby corners, emerging as adult moths in several weeks.

3. Prevention Tips

Keep dried foods in tightly sealed containers and inspect for signs of Indian meal moth infestation before using. Discard any infested foods in outdoor trash receptacles. Thoroughly vacuum infested cupboards and wash with soap and water before returning food to shelves.

Call Allison Pest Control today to protect your home or business from these voracious pantry pests.

Indian Meal Moths Are Common Pantry Pest

With creamy white wings banded with colorful stripes of copper, red, tan and charcoal gray, Indian meal moths are an attractive insect. But don’t let their appearance fool you, finding these small moths fluttering about your Monmouth County or Ocean County, NJ kitchen or garage means trouble. One of the most common home pantry pests in New Jersey, Indian meal moths are also a significant commercial pest, ruining huge quantities of stored grains and dry food products every year.

Named for their taste for corn meal, Indian meal moths feed on dried plant products of all kinds, including grains, flour, cereal, beans, crackers, nuts, birdseed, dry pet food, grass seed, spices and chocolate. They also have a preference for raisins and other dried fruit and may infest non-food plant items such as dried flowers and potpourri. While not harmful to humans, Indian meal moths render food inedible by laying their eggs in stored food.

The first sign of infestation is usually discovery of the silken webs larvae spin on the surface of food products as they feed. A larval infestation can cover food surfaces with visible mats of webbing and excrement. As they grow, larvae may infest nearby food products. Caterpillars cannot chew through bags or boxes but are tiny enough to slip through any small holes or gaps.

When an infestation is discovered, all of the food in the container should be disposed of immediately, not just the obviously contaminated portion. You can help prevent Indian meal moth infestations by using food before expiration dates and carefully inspecting food before it is used. Allison Pest Control’s home pest protection plans provide comprehensive coverage against a wide variety of home pests, including Indian meal moths.