3 Interesting Facts About Indian Meal Moths

June 10, 2020

The Indian Meal Moth gets its name from living in kitchen pantries, grocery stores, and food storage facilities dining on “meal made of “Indian corn” or maize.”  They are often called pantry moths, flour moths, or grain moths. According to the AEPMA “Alternative common names are North American high-flyer, Weevil moth and pantry moth; less specifically, it may be referred to as ‘flour moth’ or ‘grain moth’. The Almond Moth (Cadra cautella) is commonly confused with the Indianmeal Moth.”

Planetnatural.com describes the Indian Meal Moth:

Pantry moths (5/8-inch wingspan) are pale gray in color and are easily distinguished from other grain infesting moths by the reddish brown or coppery luster of their outer forewing. Fully grown larvae (1/2 inch) have brown heads and are dirty white in color, sometimes tinged with green, yellow, or pink. They are extremely active.

Damage is caused by the larvae spinning silken threads as they feed and crawl, thus webbing the particles of food together. Small moths are often noticed flying in a zigzag fashion around kitchens and other indoor areas.

Fact #1: It’s the kids that are infesting your pantry!

Meal moths live in your pantry because they have either just emerged from their cocoons, or they’re in search of a place to lay eggs. These moths lay their eggs near food, so as soon as the babies are born, you guessed it, they are close to a food source to eat! Don’t forget to check the bird seed in your garage!

The adult meal moths only survive to mate and procreate. Adults do not feed although they have been known to have a bit of a sweet tooth. Meal moths in larvae form create the damages you see in your pantry as they dine on your food for up to 2 months.

Meal moths hatch in the springtime and people will notice them between late spring and autumn.

Fact #2: They can eat through just about anything.

Indian meal moths are unrelenting. Open your pantry and if you find spilled grains, pasta, or packages ‘leaking its contents’ you have Indian meal moths. They do not discriminate and are also fans of pet food, spices, and dried fruits. We wrote about Keeping the kitchen free from pests last October and an overwhelming number of home owners told us they went to Target, Walmart or Home Goods and purchased plastic containers to store their pantry items.

Caterpillars of indianmeal moth (Plodia interpunctella) damaging dried almonds

Fact #3: You can prevent them from infesting your kitchen and dry goods.

Preventative measures can be taken to eliminate Indian Meal Moths especially if they are catching a ride in on store bought products. The big box stores display large sacks and boxes of grains, flours and other meals often laid on pallets close to the floor.

  • Take the time to inspect the items you purchase before leaving the store or bringing items into your home.
  • Keep food items in air tight containers such as plastic and glass because they can chew through plastic and paper.
  • Keep food debris at a minimum in and around your cabinets.
  • Always clean up after meal preparation.

PS Indian Meal Moths are different from the moths that eat your clothing. If you see a moth flying in your bedroom, it could be a rogue meal moth that is lost or indeed a clothing or fabric moth. Give us a shout and we can come over and inspect your home to determine the violator, cause, and treatment.

How do I get rid of kitchen bugs and pests?

Well, if you have found bugs and pests in your kitchen, you most likely need some help. We offer organic products, baits and traps, lures/lure traps, and liquid applications. All products that would be used in a kitchen would be labeled for use in a kitchen and are safe for people and pets.

Small pest sightings can turn into infestations before you know it. Contact us for a free inspection and let’s get things under control for you.

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