Indian Meal Moths

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 infest.

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 scent.

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

Pheromone 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 the pantry moths, like the Indian Meal Moth, but also Cigarette Beetles. Simply peel the paper off to expose the glue. The pheromone is impregnated in the glue, it has no external pheromone.

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Propest Pheronet Pantry/Beetle Pest Trap


Aerosols with crack and crevice tips are used to spray cracks and crevices and along wall edges, baseboards and void areas. Spectre PS and Alpine Aerosols are recommended.

My attic is full of moths. What do I do ?

If they are clothes moths, you must eliminate the source. Then fog the attic twice, 2 weeks apart. They could be in fur, feathers, wool, hair, or silk. If they are Indian meal moths, the same treatment will work, but the food source is seeds and nuts, which may have been placed there by squirrels or other rodents.

An addtitional treatment would be a clothes moth trap such as the Safestore| X Lure Cloth Moth Traps for Webbing clothes moths or Pro-Pest Safestore Casemaking Clothes Moth Traps.

I found little black bugs in the cabinet over my kitchen stove. I have my flour, sugar, corn meal, salt, pepper, and other dried goods stored there. I first noticed these bugs in my flour. Taking everything out of cabinet, I found a thousand on top shelf under a bag of sugar. The sugar is in a plastic bag, but under it looked like a sticky gooey substance. This is where the bugs are. I sprayed with full strength Chlorox. What is this?

You have a type of weevil or beetle, pantry pest. The sticky substance is digested sugar. Otherwise known as "bug poop". Go through everything in the pantry and throw out opened products. Then spray with Spectre PS Aerosol. If you have flying moths, you may want to try our moth traps and if beetles or weevils you can use a trap called Pantry Patrol.

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