What is an Indian meal moth? This common pest is a pantry predator that can easily invade your kitchen. If you suspect this pest is in your home, take a look at the answers to the top Indian meal moth questions.
Where Are Indian Meal Moths Found?
In a broad sense—everywhere. The Indian meal moth is found across the United States.
More specifically, the Indian meal moth is found in your pantry. Common in-home habitats these invaders enjoy include:
• Old food. The rice that’s sat in the back of your kitchen cabinet for the past few years is the perfect home for this type of pantry pest. Old dry foods that typically sit on a shelf for months provide an ideal Indian meal moth environment.
• Boxed foods. The cardboard box that houses your cereal won’t keep this pantry pest out. The Indian meal moth may come to your home inside the box or get in through holes, cracks, or gaps.
• Bagged foods. Like boxed foods, bagged foods may also come from the store with an unknown Indian meal moth infestation inside. These common pests can also get into bags of anything from dried lentils to spices through tiny tears.
• Pet food. Pantry pests won’t only invade the food you eat. Indian meal moths may make their home in your pet’s dry food.
• Light bulbs. The Indian meal moth likes light. You may see these pests flying around light bulbs or gathering near a sunny window.
Even though these pests enjoy some of your favorite foods, you aren’t likely to find them in the fridge. The Indian meal moth prefers the temperate environment of your kitchen cabinets.
What Do Indian Meal Moths Look Like?
Identification is the first step in solving your pantry pest problem. Now that you know where to find the Indian meal moth, it’s time to learn more about what it looks like. Plenty of pests live inside boxed and bagged dry pantry foods. Failure to accurately identify the pest in your kitchen may delay or reduce the effectiveness of treatment.
The Indian meal moth:
• Has wings. The adult Indian meal moth has multi-colored wings a lighter shaded area above a reddish-brown or copper-colored area on the wings.
• Is small. According to the University of Florida, the adult Indian meal moth is about one-half inch long. Its wingspan reaches almost five-eighths of an inch.
• Has greyish eggs. The eggs of this pest are greyish-white in color. The Indian meal moth lays these directly onto the food source both singly or sometimes in clusters.
Along with greyish-white eggs, the Indian meal moth has off-white, brown, or pink larvae. These young pests look more like a tiny worm than a flying moth.
Indian meal moths like to leave their webbing in places with a right or 45 degree angle, such as where the wall meets the ceiling, so you may find webbing there in your home.
How Can You Eliminate Indian Meal Moths?
You’ve gone through the list of what the Indian moth looks like and where it lives. You’re fairly sure your pantry has these invaders—but not 100 percent. To effectively treat your home for these pests:
• Call a pest professional. An exterminator has the experience and expertise necessary to accurately identify an Indian meal moth. The pest control professional can recommend a treatment plan that works effectively for your home.
• Remove infested food. Look through your pantry or kitchen cabinets for anything that does or could harbor these invaders. Throw away all infested items. Place the items in a trash bag and close it tightly. Store the bag outside until your next garbage pick-up day.
• Search your kitchen and the rest of your home. Do you store dog food in the basement or cat food in another room? Along with the kitchen, search the rest of your home for potential Indian meal moth habitats.
It takes both steps to eliminate the issue, treatment only will not solve it and just disposing of the items will not solve it. Both are essential to elimination.
After eliminating the invasion, prevent a re-infestation in your pantry or kitchen. Use sealable glass jars for dry good storage or place these items into the refrigerator. Do not overstock on dry food items and rotate the items in your pantry.
Does your home have a pantry pest problem? Contact A-Alert Exterminating Services, Inc., for more information.