Facts, Identification & Control
5/8-3/4″ long. Dark brown with four light multi-colored patches on its wings; the head extends into a long thin “beak”.
Indian meal moths are attracted to light and tend to become active around dusk. They make cocoons in wall corners and crevices, which are often mistaken for spider webs. The larvae look like small worms, they contaminate products they infest, and they’re capable of chewing through plastic and thin cardboard. Adults don’t live more than a week, but females are capable of laying 200 eggs at once, allowing infestations to get out of control quickly.
Indian Meal Moths feed on dried fruits, grains, cereal, seeds, nuts, chocolate, candy, dog food, baking ingredients, spices and other stored pantry or cupboard products.
All dry stored products need to be inspected, along with decorative items such as Indian corn and shadow boxes containing seeds. Anything in question should be discarded, as it could be contaminated and harmful if consumed. Clean spilled grain and infested cabinet areas using a vacuum followed by soapy water or a mixture of hot water and household cleaner. Wipe down all sides of shelves and walls. Store all dried food goods in a glass, plastic zipped bags, or plastic containers with a tight lid to avoid further contamination and limit spreading if one food becomes infested. Consider storing cereals and similar foods in the refrigerator to limit stored pantry pest problems.
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