Don’t Share Your Pantry With Pests!


Indian Meal Moths   

I never really knew what the Indian meal moth was, even though I had seen it and it’s larvae before. They are the pretty little moths that flit around lights at night having wings that are whitish gray near their bodies and a red/brown to copper color on the tips. They seem like harmless and kinda cute little things in that form, but in the larvae stage they aren’t so adorable.

My first experience with the larvae of the Indian Meal Moth came after a trip to my grocery store quite some time ago. I was getting ready to put my newly purchased bag of flour into my canister, and as I started to tear away the seam of the paper sack I noticed what looked like small bits of bug. I quickly checked to be sure the bag was still sealed tightly and, thinking it was safe, I just brushed them away and continued to open the bag. After pouring the bag into my canister, I turned to make dinner. Chicken, gravy, and biscuits – Yum; however, when I reached my scoop into the canister to pull out a cup of my newly purchased flour I noticed something moving. It was a tiny little Indian Meal Moth in its larvae stage. Needless to say, I had to toss out the whole batch of flour and run back to the store before I could finish dinner. There was certainly nothing cute about that!

Upon researching this little pest, I came to understand that it’s not just the adult and larvae that I had to be concerned with. The eggs, which are tiny, whitish ovals, are so small that you would need a microscope to see them – and they can pass through a screen sieve as fine as sixty mesh! In fact, the only sign of infested grain sometimes is the tell-tale silk webs the larvae leave behind in the grain. I don’t know about you, but the thought of consuming insect droppings, silky webs, or insect parts in my dry goods is not a very appetizing event!

These disgusting little visitors to our pantries usually find their way uninvited into our flour, grains, cereal, dried fruits, pasta, powdered milk, dry pet foods or bird seed when they are produced or stored for production. The adults can also enter our homes through cracks, damaged screens and opened doors as they are attracted to light and fly at night.

So how can I help prevent these pests from sharing my pantry? Well, you can start by inspecting your dry goods before you purchase them. Look for tears or holes in the original packaging – if you find any don’t buy them. Also, once you get home, remove your purchases from their original packaging and put them into sealed containers. Lastly, you need to be sure to ‘rotate’ your stock in your pantry.

Even with these safety measures, it is really next to impossible to ensure that you do not have to share your pantry with these pests – And because these little moths do not have a ‘season’ it is important to consider a year round pest control plan. The surest way to protect your dry goods from contamination is with a call to a pest control specialist like American Pest Northern Virginia. We specialize in securing your home from over 19 different invading pests. So the next time you go for a cup of flour or a bowl of cereal, think of the peace of mind that a pest control plan from American Pest Northern Virginia offers and give us a call.


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