Indian Meal Moth
Indian Meal Moth Facts
Also known as the North American highflyer, the weevil moth, and the pantry moth, the Indian meal moth is a common pest found all around the world. Like it’s cousin the almond moth, the Indian meal moth is often found feeding on a variety of grain products. While the Indian meal moth as an adult makes it easy to identify, being able to identify its larvae will be more important, as they are what cause the most damage.
Indian Meal Moth Damage
Most Indian meal moth damage comes from its feeding habits. For instance, when it comes time for grain to to be sold, dry weight is reduced because the larvae have been feeding on the grain germ. Contamination from skins and excrement, as well as the presence of the insects themselves reduces the value of the overall product.
Indian Meal Moth Infestation
Females will lay between 100 to 300 eggs during their lifetimes. These are tiny, white ovals, and they will appear either on their own, or in groups near a food source. They will hatch over the course of two days to four weeks, depending on their environment. Indian meal moths will be able to survive in places where temperatures remain above 50 degrees.
As larvae, they will feed on the surface of food, sometimes even chewing through plastic bags and thin cardboard. Not only is the the presence of larvae annoying in and of itself, but what they leave behind is just as irritating. During this stage, they will often shed skin and release excrement, further contaminating any foods they may be living in.
As it begins to exit the larvae stage, the Indian meal moth will crawl to the top of whatever environment it is living in and begin to spin silken cocoons for the pupae stage. The moths may last in this state for at least a month before they emerge, although it usually takes longer if environmental conditions are not ideal. You will notice the presence of silk-like webbing in any foods that have these moths present.
From egg to adult, the Indian meal moth requires up to 55 days to fully develop. In a year’s time, it is possible for 7 to 9 generations to exist, however this is not always possible because the winter months may slow reproduction.
Types of Indian Meal Moths
Indian Meal Moth Identification
The adult Indian meal moth has a wingspan of 18 to 20 millimeters, with the outer portion being reddish-brown, and the inner portion being grayish-white. Their bodies are about 6 to 7 millimeters in length once they are fully grown.
Larvae of the Indian meal moth are between 8 to 10 millimeters long with whitish bodies that may be tinted green or pink, and are covered in hair.
Indian Meal Moths In The House & The Closet
If they are in your home, you’ll find these moths hanging around in your cereal, oatmeal, dried fruits, and candy. As adults, they may often be flying around artificial light sources.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get rid of Indian meal moths in the home?
Wherever you store your food, take care to make sure the space is clean and free of food particles and other debris. Examine any foods that may potentially be infested. This includes any type of dry pet food, too. If the insect is found in any of your food items, toss them out right away. There is no perfect way of salvaging the food without the insects.
Food items that are not contaminated or are new to your home should be placed in glass or plastic airtight containers. This will prevent new moths from contaminating food further, and it will also quarantine any existing eggs that were undetectable to the eye.
The storage area, as well as any containers and utensils used in the handling of food should be thoroughly washed with soap and hot water. Make sure to get into any cracks or corners where food particles may be lingering. Check the area for any cocoons and remove them immediately.
While keeping a clean environment for your food is usually all that is necessary to get rid of the Indian meal moth, it may also help to lay sticky traps around infested areas to reduce the population of adults. You should not need pesticides to get rid of these moths, but a pest professional can further aid you with them if your problem persists. Routinely check your food to make sure the moths have not returned. It will help to regularly replace your food, like flour, once the expiration date is met. Leaving food laying around for a long time is one of the biggest ways to attract these moths in the first place.
Benefits of Professional Indian Meal Moth Pest Control
A pest management professional has the education, equipment and skills necessary to effectively address a Indian meal moth problem. Finding and treating the Indian meal moths can be challenging, especially if they are spread throughout your yard. A pest management professional provides their expertise to identify the pest problem and determine the best possible solution to resolve the Indian meal moth infestation.