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Indian Meal Moth-Pantry Pest

 

Have you noticed moths flying around your kitchen or even in the pantry? Maybe you’ve seen them but just didn’t give it that much thought, after all what’s the harm in a moth or two right? Well if you are seeing moths near your kitchen often, you could have an Indian Meal Moth infestation going on. Indian meal moths are considered the most common among pantry pests.

The adult Indian meal moth is small, about 3/8 inches long with a wingspan of about 5/8 inches. Their wing color is generally gray but the rear half of the wing is a rust-brown or bronze. The colors and patterns on the wings make it easy to identify and distinguish Indian meal moths from other house moths. The larval is cream colored, sometimes with yellow-green or pink shades, and the head is a dark brown. Larvae are sometimes seen as they are wandering about in search of a space to pupate, or pass through the pupal stage. These little guys tend to enjoy finding a spot high on the wall, where the wall meets the ceiling.

The most common way the Indian meal moth finds its way into your home is through your groceries. That’s right, most likely something you bought was already infested when you brought it into your home. The larvae of Indian meal moths can infest a large range of common pantry dry foods such as bread, birdseed, dry pet food, cereal, flour, pasta, dry soup mixes, dried fruit, nuts, and most spices. They have also been known to infest chocolate and dried flowers that have been used for decoration like wreaths and other craft projects.

Inspection and what to do:

If you think you may have Indian meal moths in your pantry, you’re going to need to do a thorough inspection of all food to identify the infested food source(s). You basically need to inspect ALL food items with the exception of unopened tin cans. Bags of food that you haven’t even opened yet need to be checked, remember the infestation may not have started at the grocery store, but could have started at the factory before the item was even packaged. You’re going to be looking for moths (of course!) but you need to keep a keen eye out for larvae. The larvae cover their food source with a silken webbing. The silken webbing often accumulates casts skins and fecal pellets which may help make them easier to see and notice. Remember to check EVERY item. Finding the source of the infestation is critical in ridding these pests. Immediately tightly seal the bag and dispose of all infested food and wipe down the shelves with warm water and soap to help remove any larvae and/or pupae. Also as advised with many other pest issues, store food in air tight glass or plastic containers to avoid re-infestation. Remember to check pet food and store it in air tight containers as well, even if you keep it in the garage.

If you feel you need help with the inspection or proper identification you can always call your pest management professional.

Give Alpha Home Pest Control a call (208)475-4440

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