Indian Meal Moth

(and other Stored Product pests)

This is really a do it yourself project. There is nothing a pest professional can do that cannot be done by the homeowner. Indian Meal moths are a pest of stored food products. The adult will lay eggs in stored food and small larvae will infest the food leaving a trail of webbing and frass matted over the food it is feeding on, until it is time for the larvae to pupate. It will leave the food, crawl into a crack or crevice and build a coccoon. Sometimes they will be seen crawling across a ceiling. Shortly, the adult moth will hatch out, mate, lay eggs and the cycle repeats itself. They can and will infest cereal, flour, chocolate, rice, dog food, seeds, candy, dried fruits, and basically any food product based on or containing these items. In the home, a severe infestation can cause the lose of signifigant amounts of food through contamination by eggs, larva, webbing, and fecal matter. The adult moth is approximately 3/4 inch long. The mature larva is white with a brown head and is about 1/2 long. While the Indian meal moth is the most common stored product pest there are others, such as rice weevils, saw toothed grain beetles, etc. Treatment is basically the same for all. Obviously, infested food should be discarded (outside the house), Remaining food should be put in the freezer for at least 4 days to kill any microscopic eggs or larvae. Remaining adults can be captured in pheromone traps, which can be purchased at your local hardware store.

Indian Meal Moth

Indian Meal Moth Larva

There are other stored product pests including Sawtoothed grain beetles, Rice weevils, Drugstore beetles and many other, but they are so uncommon, that wiill not adreess them here. In twenty years, I have only run across them a couple of times.