The Pantry Moth, also commonly known as Indian Meal Moths (Indian Mealmoth) are known to infest and destroy food products typically located in pantries or kitchen cabinets. Pantry moths can also infest commercial establishments, such as food plants and storage facilities.
The larvae of the Indian Meal Moth feeds on coarsely ground flour and corn meal. They will also feed on whole grain, dried fruit, seeds, crackers, nuts, peppers, and dog food. One identifying telltale sign is the mass of silken webbing over the surface on which the meal moth is feeding.
Identify Pantry Moths by looking for wings that are gray near the base and bronze colored further out. The body of the moth adult is white. The female of the meal moth can lay 200 -400 eggs directly on food products and when the larvae hatch they will start consuming food immediately. The larvae will then leave the food and create a cocoon to pupate and the total life cycle will take about 1-10 months.
It is important to quickly identify and control a Pantry Moth infestation- any food products that have been infested, or suspected to have been infested, need to be disposed of. Pantry Moths are also known for their travel, so it is important to inspect all food storage areas in your home once an infestation is apparent. If moths are found in the kitchen, it is still necessary to inspect pantry and basement food storage areas.
Control Pantry Moths with insecticides when possible, and also with moth traps and glueboards. Ensure all safety precautions are taken with any effected items, both from infestation and any insecticide use. Any items that are thought to have been infested need discarded, as the moths can chew through bags and boxes, and get access into very tight spots. Prevent food sources by ensuring air-tight storage in the future.
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