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All About Indian Meal Moths and How to Eliminate them From your Home or Business

There are over 160,000 types of moths in the world. Many species of moths are exquisite, but the Pantry Moths that get into our food are by far the most bothersome (and gross!) to humans. Often referred to as kitchen moths, food moths, or by their proper name, the Indian Meal Moth, these moths get into stored goods such as grains, flour, cereal, spices, pasta, etc. and lay hundreds of eggs. Eggs hatch into larvae which eat and ruin our food and then we see the moths flying around our kitchen and home.

Pantry Moth infestations are very easy to eliminate when you have the right tools and products. Unfortunately, many of the products available to the general public are just not useful for eliminating moths. These consumer-grade products on your hardware store shelves will always some or even most of the moths, but even if a couple survive, the infestation will slowly develop again over time. As licensed exterminators, Addison has access to the safe and very effective products that will completely get rid of moths from your kitchen, pantry, and home – and we guarantee. If the moths come back, so do we.

Pantry Moth

Indian Meal Moth

Plodia Interpunctella 

Adults have a wingspan of 3.5” and are copper coloured, the rear set of wings are a pale gray. The Indian Meal Moth is most often found flying at night after dusk; it is also the most common food infesting pest found in Ontario, causing the most economic damage. They spin massive amounts of silk with an overwhelming amount of fecal matter and cast skins in food products.

Like other moths, all damage is done by the Larvae. They are general feeders, and you will find infestations in broken grains and processed foods. (i.e., corn meal, cereal, dried fruits, seeds, nuts, chocolate, powdered milk, dehydrated dog food). 

Pantry Moths are mistaken for clothes moths when they are detected flying around in the home. One way of quickly distinguishing them is when flying, you will notice adult meal moths move in an oscillating motion instead of flight in a direct line.

How to get rid of Pantry Moth 

At Addison, we combine chemical and physical control methods to ensure that a pest infestation is eliminated quickly and safely with the minimum impact on the environment. We use a combination of non-toxic residual insecticidal spray and a crack and crevice treatment to ensure any moths in wall voids or soffits will not be able to survive.

If you discover a nest that is well established and causing significant nuisance or financial loss to your home or business we advise you to take extreme precautionary methods while removing the nest or contact a pest control professional to eliminate the nest and implements a physical and chemical pest control program if necessary.

Call us for a detailed explanation of our treatment process and no-obligation transparent quote

Signs of Pantry Moth Infestation

The larvae which look like small worms found in any container left open where perishable food is, cereal, grains, legumes any organic matter that the larvae can find. You will find skins webbing and worms in your food containers if not stored properly. You will also see the adults moths flying in different parts of your home

Larvae are surface eaters; they cover their food source with a soft webbing, this is when they cause the most amount of damage. They spin massive quantities of silk with an overwhelming amount of fecal matter and cast skins in food products. Contamination from fecal matter is the main issue when dealing with an infestation. Adults do not feed and usually are resting during the day.

How to identify Pantry Moth

Adults are about 20 mm in length, they part of the wing closest to the body is pale gray, the part furthest away from the body is copper or reddish brown.

Larvae are a whitish/pinkish coloured caterpillar with a brown head with a body shield. And will measure 13 mm in length.

Where did they com from / How are they here?

Pantry Moths have the ability to gain entrance to bags containers and small cracks and crevices to lay eggs and feed. They can also gain entry through windows and open doors and holes in screens. Grocery stores and typically bulk stores are at greater risk when grains and organic material are exposed, use caution when shopping.

Females are active at night and lay eggs singularly or in clusters on ideal food for larvae. Just before pupating the larvae will leave the food source Even though larvae hatch quite quickly the development may take quite a long time, this is where you will find evidence of the larval and pupal stages. Pantry Moths found on the wall, corners where the wall and ceiling meet. They will travel from the site of infestation to cracks and crevices searching for a place to spin a cocoon.

What does Pantry Moth eat?

They are general feeders, and you will find infestations in broken grains and processed foods. (i.e., corn meal, dried fruits, seeds, nuts, chocolate, powdered milk, dehydrated dog food). Pantry Moths are attracted to dried flower arrangements and wreaths.

How serious are Pantry Moth

They have been known to take over pantries and kitchens. The clear sign is also what you want to avoid which is the larvae feeding on food products in your home. They will find their way to the food source after hatching in small corners of your home and infect and contaminate any food they can gain entry too. Ruining food and having the

How can Addison help eliminate a Pantry Moth

At Addison, we combine chemical and physical control methods to ensure that a moths infestation is eliminated quickly and safely with the minimum impact on the environment. We use a combination of non-toxic residual insecticidal spray and a crack and crevice treatment to ensure any moths in wall voids or soffits will not be able to survive.

If you discover a nest that is well established and causing significant nuisance or financial loss to your home or business we advise you to take extreme precautionary methods while removing the nest or contact a pest control professional to eliminate the nest and implements a physical and chemical pest control program if necessary.

Call us for a detailed explanation of our treatment process and no-obligation transparent quote.

How can Addison help prevent Pantry Moth infestation in the future

Get infested food out of your house and keep moths from invading food by using containers with secure fitting lids and a tight seal. Check packaging when buying groceries, make sure the bag not to have small puncture holes where moths have an entry way. When purchasing bulk food is mindful of infestations in grain products.

Clean up all crumbs and spills, make sure to remove bits from corners or cupboards drawers and pantries. Try filling corners with caulking where crumbs accumulate. Clean areas that food and spills, such as toasters. Look for webbing in the crevices of containers or holes, consider these foods contaminated if infested. 

Additional Information

Reproduction

Females will lay 200-400 eggs during in 18 day period, larvae hatch in a couple of days and will enter crevices of food. They are active at night and will lay eggs singularly or in a cluster. During warm weather, the Indian meal moth can take about six to eight weeks to complete egg, larval, and pupal stages.  They will travel from the site of infestation to cracks and crevices searching for a place to spin a cocoon.

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