Indian meal moths are one of the most common pantry pests throughout the world. They are found on every continent, except Antarctica, and are one of the most destructive pantry pests along the Sunshine Coast. Before you even realize there is a problem, you may already have a large infestation on your hands. 

 

Identification

Indian meal moths got their name because they like to feed on indian-meal or cornmeal, not because they are native to India. They are approximately 8-10 mm long, but can have a wingspan of 16-20 mm. Their wings are quite distinctive with the first ⅓ being a yellow-gray or white-gray and the last ⅔ being reddish brown or coppery in color. 

 

indian meal moth

Indian meal moth by Ilia Ustyantsev from Russia / CC BY-SA

 

The larvae are typically off-white in color with brown heads and can reach 12-14 mm long when mature. Depending on what they are eating, the larvae can also sometimes be pink, brown, or greenish in color. Indian meal moth eggs are white and very small, making them difficult to see. They may only be .3-.5 mm big.

 

Indian meal moth caterpillar

Indian meal moth caterpillar

 

Food Sources

Indian meal moths and their larvae can infest a lot of different types of plant-based foods. Some of the most common infestations include: cereal, bread, dried fruits, pasta, rice, flour, spices, and more. If meal moth larvae have infested your pantry, you may see a thin layer of webbing on your food. Once you find moths and larvae in your pantry, it is often too late and you must dispose of all food that was not in a sealed container.

 

Control

Indian meal moths are often difficult to get rid of because their eggs are small and may be present in sealed packages. Luckily, there are several things that can be done to help prevent Indian meal moths. 

  • Non-toxic traps are available to catch Indian meal moths. These traps contain a pheromone lure that will attract the moths. This can be a helpful way to trap them before they reproduce. 
  • Larvae can chew through thin plastic and cardboard, so even containers that have not been opened may be infested. Examine all packages carefully before purchasing them. Most infestations start from already contaminated products being brought into the house. 
  • Indian meal moths are susceptible to extremes in temperature. All larvae and eggs can be killed by a week of freezing temperatures or by a brief heating in the microwave or oven. Many people place their grains directly into the freezer after purchasing them at the store. This will kill any larvae that may be present.
  • Storing food properly is another important step to take. Metal, glass, or thick plastic provides the best protection against Indian meal moths and their larvae.
  • Avoid storing large amounts of grains and other susceptible foods, especially ones that have expired, as they tend to attract pantry pests faster.
  • Another important step to preventing infestations is to wipe down the pantry often using soap and water or vinegar.

 

Sunshine Coast Pest Control

If you are in need of pest control along the Sunshine Coast, Radar Pest Control is your best bet. From pantry pests and roaches to ants and rodents, we can take care of them all. We offer pest control in Buderim, pest control in Nambour, and everywhere in between. Contact us today to get started on your journey to becoming pest free.