Indian Meal Moths

Identification

  • Colour Pale gray and reddish brown
  • Size 16 to 20mm wingspan with 6 to 7mm body length.
  • Description Adult Indian meal moths have a distinct two-colour wing pattern with a yellowish white base and reddish brown upper area. Indian meal moth larvae are wingless, caterpillar bodies. They are a pale white colour, possibly with shades of pink or green depending on diet.

General Facts

Why do I have Indian meal moths?

In Canada and around the world, people find Indian meal moths lurking in stored food. Stores, warehouses, and granaries may house the pests, or they can find their way into homes inside processed foods or by flying in from the outdoors. These moths will infest dry snacks, seeds, grains, or starches. The dry items that these moths infest double as food sources. Common stored food products, that Indian meal moths infest, include grains, chocolate, dried fruit and beans, herbs, seeds, and spices.

How worried should I be about Indian meal moths?

Larvae attack and feed on the product that they infest, making it inedible. The silk webbing they create gathers frass and shed skins, causing more contamination. The Indian meal moth can have 5-6 generations in a year, making quick detection key. Seeing adult Indian meal moths can indicate that there is an infestation nearby, and requires regular inspections of any stored foods. Silky cocoons or webs in product are the strongest indication of their presence, though these visual signs may not always appear. Seeing late stage (mature) larvae wandering around on surfaces, often near infested product is also a clear indication of an infestation.

How can I prevent Indian meal moths invading?

To help prevent an Indian meal moth infestation, always inspect any store-bought foods or cooking products. Sanitation is critical when dealing with Indian meal moths. Regularly clean out cupboards and containers using soap and hot water. Homeowners can also store items in containers with airtight locks, avoiding any holes, openings, or loose flaps.

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