Indian Meal Moths
If you see a moth flying in a zigzag pattern around your kitchen or out of your food, it is a good chance that it is an Indian Meal Moth. Of all the pantry pests, Indian Meal Moths are probably the most common pantry pest found in pantries and kitchens. They usually enter your home through packaged goods such as cereals, grains, flours, and pet food. They lay their eggs in food stuffs like, grains, grain products, dried food, dried fruit, powder milk, seeds, candy, chocolates, and especially dry pet foods. Indian Meal Moths can even inhabit your dried flower arrangements. Indian Meal Moths are noted for their ability to be present in tightly sealed containers.
The larvae(s) of these pantry insects do the most damage to your foods. With proper guidelines, you can get rid of these flying pantry pests.
Indian Moth Control Treatment Plans
Inspect: After your identification of Indian Meal Moths, the next step is to find all the infested materials. This can be a long task, but is critical in controlling Indian Meal Moths. Go by all the foodstuffs that they may have infested one by one. Begin with the open packages and products bought in bulk. Don't forget to check seasonings, especially the long forgotten seasonings in the back of your cupboards. Almost anything in your pantry that is not in a "tin can" is suspect.
Discard: After finding the infested items, discard them. If in doubt about a food item, place it in a Ziploc bag for 30 days and watch for any infestation signs.
Clean and Vacuum: Clean the shelves in your cabinets thoroughly. Pay attention to cracks and crevices and under your shelves. It doesn't take a lot of food for these Indian Meal Moths to survive.
Use Pheromone Traps: These traps have a sex pheromone in order to catch and trap male moths. These traps are usually made of cardboard with a sticky interior. Either the pheromone is part of the glue substance or it is in a separate packet. Not only are pheromone traps useful for trapping the male moths and preventing further reproduction, but they are useful monitoring tools.
Indian Meal Moth Identification
- Adults of Indian meal moths have a wingspan of about 3/4" when at rest, the wings are folded together-held tightly together by the body.
- The wing is a blend of two colors: front half of the wings-pale grey-pale tan, bottom half of the wings: a rust-bronze color.
- Larvae size: is 1/2", a dirty white-off white color; it can have green or pink hues.
- They are nocturnal, flying a night. if disturbed during the flying, they will zig zag. The Clothes moth is a little different in that they have no distinctive markings, and the wing span is only 1/4th".
- They rest during the day in dark places.
- The Clothes moth is a little different in that they have no distinctive markings, and the wing span is only 1/4th".
Indian Meal Moth - Life Cycle and Habits
Indian meal moths can take from 25-135 days for moths egg-egg development cycle to occur.
One moth can lay 100-400 eggs over 1-18 day period.
The larvae is what does the damage-feeding on these different food items, forming an extensive web type of substance over the food items that they infest.
Abundant webbing in infested materials is characteristic of infestations by the Indian meal moth. Its larvae are often found far from infested foods because they usually crawl away from their foods to construct silken cocoons in which to pupate. In large Indian Meal Moth infestations, larvae may be found in other parts of the house, far from the food source, because of this movement characteristic in order to pupate.
Detection of Indian Meal Moths
Besides spotting this flying insect weakly flying in its zigzag pattern, you can detect webbing in your foodstuffs. Looking inside the food containers, many times you will see their lavae. Their larvae is pale. The larvae will cause the food to clump together, which is easier to see with the naked eye.