Indian Meal Moth

The Indian meal moth is considered a good looking moth that has a long wing expansion of about 5/8 inches. The wings are usually grey, with the rear half of the wing a reddish brown, a rusty grey, bronze with a cooper luster. This wing pattern distinguishes the Indian meal moths from other household moths. Adults are usually found resting on the grain surface or grain bin walls. These pests fly at night and are found around lights.

A mature female is capable of laying 100 to 300 eggs on food material. Their eggs are very small, appear whitish and have an oval shape. In groups of about twelve to thirty, eggs are deposited on the grain surface. Larvae begin to hatch between two to fourteen days. Newly hatched larvae are small and difficult to see without a microscope. They feed on fine materials within the grain and are small enough to pass through a sixty mesh screen. The larger larvae are yellow, green, or pink. Fully grown larvae are measured at about one half to five eights of an inch in length with a brown head capsule. The larval stage lasts from two weeks to one year. Larvae are not capable of chewing through packages so they usually enter through holes. They are usually seen feeding off of grain germ on the top of one to two inches of the bag. The Indian meal moth can infest and are found feeding off of a wide range of dry foods such as dry pet food, birdseed, cereal, dried soup mixes, bread, pasta, rice, flour, spices, dried spices, dried fruits and nuts to name a few. Like other insects, moths and butterflies have four wings, six legs, and a jointed body divided into three sections—head, thorax, and abdomen. These pests can be detected by their silken threads found wherever they crawl. When mature, larvae will spin a silken cocoon and manifest into a light brown pupae. Loose clinging webbing on the grain is a big indicator of an infestation.

If the temperature permits, the Indian meal moth can survive and reproduce. A typical life cycle from egg to adult takes about twenty eight days under optimal conditions. With a temperature of 50 degrees, a potential for seven to nine generations per year is capable. However, during the winter months fewer generations are able of completing their life cycle due to the cold temperatures.

To rid your home of the Indian meal moth you must firstly inspect and identify all infestation’s food sources. Make sure to give attention to items that have been stored in your kitchen for a long period of time or have not been closed or sealed properly. After you empty all your cabinets, check and clean them. Further, throw out any food that could be infested. Make sure to properly clean with soap and water any food that could have spilled while emptying the cabinets. In addition, clean the cracks, corners, behind appliances, behind picture frames and between shelves of your cabinets; there could be larvae or pupae still hiding there. Check for walking larvae on the ceiling of your cabinets or pantry. It is very important to seal glass or plastic containers to prevent any further infestation. Lastly, if you want to rid your home of the Indian meal moth safely and fast, call a pest control professional.