What are Indian Meal Moths?
Indian meal moths are often in stored foods that contain high amounts of corn or grain. The name “Indian Meal Moth” comes from the pest commonly being found in maize or what’s been referred to as “Indian” corn.
These year-round pests mostly enjoy feeding on grain-based foods, such as cereal, oatmeal, bread, dog and cat food, but they also eat dried fruit, nuts and a variety of processed foods.
Homes or businesses that find these months in the kitchen, storage room or pantry will discover that they’ve likely been brought into the building either through contaminated food or rodents hiding food. This type of moth can fly into the home and start feeding, but entering through contaminated food is the most common. The first signs of an infestation are seeing moths flying around the room or finding light pink caterpillars (larvae) near food on shelves or on the floor.
What do Indian Meal Moths look like?
The Indian Meal Moth is just over half an inch long and has a wingspan of three-quarters to one inch. They are brown or dark tan in color with a dark red or copper-colored stripes on the bottom half of their wings.
How to control and eliminate Indian Meal Moths
Proper food storage is critical in preventing and controlling any type of pest problem, including the Indian Meal Moth. An easy way to clean up the pantry or food storage area is to throw away any food that has worms or the packaging looks like it’s been eaten away by a pest. Also, avoid purchasing bulk food items, such as rice or cereal, that cannot be consumed within three months. The longer the food stays on the shelves, the more likely it is to attract pests. Finally, keep pet food in a tightly sealed container.
If moths or larvae continue to appear, even after the area has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, it might be time to call in a professional to identify the problem area(s) and offer safe, effective solutions.