Indianmeal moths are extremely damaging pests because their larvae live in stored food items. Grains and seeds are the most common pantry foods in which these moths and their larvae are found. They also feed on dry pet food, bird seed, pasta, bread, spices, flour and similar products. Larvae can fit through miniscule holes in paper and plastic bags to infest pantry items.
Adult moths are attracted to lights, so they might fly into bedrooms or bathrooms and be mistaken for another species.
The larvae of Indianmeal moths feed on the pantry products they infest. Damage mostly comes from them living in the food, not eating it. As they move around and leave behind silk threads, a web can accumulate throughout the food, catching the feces and egg casings of the moth larvae. Indianmeal moths don’t transmit diseases but this contamination can ruin large amounts of food.
Infestations often begin when a food product that’s been infested with eggs or larvae is brought into the home accidentally. These moths have been known to access commercial foods at almost every stage of production, including processing plants and store shelves.
Indianmeal moths can only live and reproduce in temperatures above 50° F. The moth’s life cycle can be completed in 28 to 45 days. Females lay hundreds of eggs at a time. These eggs hatch in less than two weeks and immediately start feeding on the food material in which they hatched. Newly born moth larvae are extremely small and able to fit through tiny openings in containers. Moths might remain in this stage for up to a year. Adults don’t feed and only survive for about 25 days to mate.
Indianmeal moths are attracted by large amounts of stored, dry food items. Pantries usually maintain a relatively warm temperature, perfect for the moth’s survival. Large-sized bags of food that aren’t touched for days or weeks are ideal habitats for these moths if not properly sealed.
Unfortunately, the first sign of an infestation of Indianmeal moths might be finding them in a container of food in your kitchen. You might see the larvae inside the container. Or, you might notice the white, silky webbing in the food, along with the tiny specks of droppings or egg casings.
Sometimes, larvae will crawl along walls, counters or ceilings looking for a place to pupate. If you see them doing this, the source of the infestation won’t necessarily be near where you’ve found them. Adult meal moths fly widely, too, so seeing one might not mean the larvae are nearby. However, seeing an adult meal moth flying around your house almost certainly means there’s an infestation.
Indianmeal moth infestations can grow quickly and become difficult to manage without help. Call Aptive Environmental to control a meal moth infestation quickly and effectively. The best way to control these pests on your own is to prevent them in the first place.
Follow our tips to safeguard your food from Indianmeal moths:
Remove all food containers from cabinets and inspect each one for signs of larvae. Check the corners of cabinets, too.
Most importantly, store all food in tightly sealed containers to prevent moths from laying eggs and keep larvae from feeding.
Storing food in the refrigerator or freezer will protect it.
Buying smaller containers of food reduces the risk of an infestation.
Don’t buy food with damaged packaging. Inspect any food items stored in your garage before bringing them inside.
Call your local Aptive branch to discuss a tailored Indianmeal moth control plan.