What is an Indian Meal Moth?
Indian meal moths are pests of stored food products that are frequently encountered in our area. As adults, Indian meal moths have wings and fly, with bodies ranging from 1/2 to 5/8th of an inch in length. Adult Indian meal moths are most easily identified by a characteristic wing pattern where the rear half of the wings is distinctly reddish brown or bronze colored.
Indian meal moths begin their life cycle as eggs laid by females directly on or inside packaging of food products. The eggs hatch into larvae that resemble small, creamy-white caterpillars but that are more worm like with brown heads and bodies that can sometimes be tinged pink or green depending upon what they are feeding upon.
Damage to stored food products is caused by the larvae spinning silken threads as they feed and crawl, thus webbing food particles together. The larvae feed on such food products such as dried fruits, powdered milk, cornmeal, flour, raisins, prunes, nuts, chocolate, bird seed, dry dog and cat food, fish food, graham crackers, pastas, etc.
These nuisance pests received their name from pioneering entomologist Asa Fitch who noted in a report published in the mid nineteenth century that larvae infest stores of cornmeal, which was then called Indian meal. Contact us today if you suspect you have an Indian meal moth infestation.
Why do I have them?
The larvae of Indian meal moths are often found in pantries and can infest such as items as flour, grains, cereals, dried fruits, pasta, powdered milk and many other items commonly found stored in homes. They may also be found in dry pet food and stored bird seed. In fact, in most cases they are already present in birdseed when it is brought into the home. Birdseed and pet foods should always be stored in sealed containers and should not remain in the original packaging. It is also important to inspect and remove any infested dried goods at the onset of sighting adult moths.