Indian Meal Moths
are probably the most common pantry pest found in kitchens and pantries.
The Indian Meal Moth is found more often than any other on stored food and
grain pantry pest in the United States. Since they feed on any items containing grain or cereal
products, the Indian Meal Moth alone is responsible for most of
the insect problems associated with the natural food industry.
Indian Meal Description
Eggs: are microscopic. Female adults lay 350-500
eggs during their short lifetime.
Larvae: Larvae size: is 1/2", a dirty white-off white color, it can have green
or pink hues. Usually feed in protected areas such as the ears
on a bag or in cracks and crevices. This is the damaging stage.
The larvae can chew through bags of food and seed. 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
Pupa: This quiescent stage can be seen covered in a silken
cocoon. No damage occurs during this stage.
Adult: 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. Indian Meal moths only live for 5-7 days. Their
major function is to reproduce. This is why the Pheromone traps
work so well. The male moth is very attracted to the pheromone
Life Cycle: 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. Almost anything
in your pantry that is not in a "tin can" is suspect.
All insect life cycles are dependent on
temperature and environmental conditions, but in the summer
months (65+° F, 18+°C) this moth will take 5 to 7 weeks to
develop. Although this pest is not a native to the US, it has
spread throughout this country.
Indian Meal Moth Habits
Nocturnal: They are nocturnal, flying at night.
They have a zigzag pattern.
Lay Their Eggs: They lay their eggs in foods like flours, cereals, grains, grain products, dried fruit, dried
food, seeds, powder milk, chocolates, candy, chocolates, and specially
dry pet foods.
Webs: They make a lot of webs in the food stuff that Indian Meal Moths infest.
Larvae: The larvae may be found far away from infested foods. They crawl to a hidden area to make cocoons in which to pupate.
Cloth Moths or Indian Meal Moths? The Clothes moth have no distinctive markings, and the wing span is only 1/4th inch.
For more information : Pantry Pests and Indian Meal Moths
How To Get Rid Of Indian Meal Moths
traps for the adult moths and residual insecticidal sprays are the two most common recommendations.
Our top recommendation is the Propest Pheronet Trap
The Propest Pheronet Trap is a distinctive trap in that it not only is designed to capture
moths, like the Indian Meal Moth, but also Cigarette
Click on image to enlarge
Propest Pheronet Pantry/Beetle
with crack and crevice tips are used to spray cracks and crevices and along wall edges, baseboards and void areas. Alpine Aerosol and Phantom Aerosol are recommended.