Does it seem strange to be concerned about moths getting into your pantry and contaminating your food? Do you think of moths as big, fuzzy butterflies that flutter around outside and cling to your exterior walls near your light fixtures? As a pest, do you think of them more as a threat to your clothing instead of your stored foods? We understand. It can get confusing. Today, we're going to talk about a moth that can be serious pantry pests. It's called an Indian meal moth!
What Is A Pantry Pest?
There are many pests that can get into stored foods but some are called pantry pests because they breed in pantry foods. On the list of pantry pests are several beetles and weevils, but only one moth. And it isn't really the moth that is the threat to your food. Indian meal moths do not eat. They live only to mate and lay eggs. After this, they die off. What you need to be concerned about are the larvae of meal moths—tiny caterpillars that feed on cereal, pasta, rice, bread, flour, spices and more.
What Does A Meal Moth Caterpillar Look Like?
The larvae of Indian meal moths are about ½ an inch in length. They look like tiny pieces of wiggly, off-white colored rice. If you have food infested with these pests, you're likely to see several of them. A single moth can lay as many as 400 eggs. When the eggs hatch, the larvae feed for almost 2 months. You may also see webbing or cocoons. When larvae mature, they create a cocoon and become pupae. These pupae stay in this stage for about 20 days, sometimes fewer, depending on the conditions.
What Does An Indian Meal Moth Look Like?
At only ⅝ of an inch, an Indian meal moth isn't much to look at. While it is certainly moth-like in appearance, its size may cause you to give this pest a double-take and wonder, "Is that a moth?" We're here to tell you it is. You're not imagining things. The copper, black and tan banding across its wings will help you easily make the determination that it is an Indian meal moth.
What Does It Mean When You See Indian Meal Moths?
Where sorry to tell you that it rarely means that you are about to have an infestation. Most of the time, the appearance of Indian meal moths in a pantry means there is a package of infested food that has been infested for more than a month and a half. Hopefully, it is not a package of food you have dipped into. If you have, we have some good news for you. Your not likely to get sick from eating these insects. It's just really gross.
How Do You Get Rid Of An Indian Meal Moth Infestation?
This is a difficult question to answer. It really depends on how disturbed you are about having bugs in your pantry. If you are thinking, "Bug in my pantry? Um. No Thanks!" Then the best solution is to reach out to a licensed and experienced pest control provider like All-Safe Pest & Termite. We use field-tested methods to isolate and eliminate pantry pests. If you're willing to risk eating foods that have been exposed to bugs, you can attempt to isolate and contain the infestation yourself. Here are some tips:
- Vacuum up all the moths you see and deposit the bag outside.
- Check all the due dates on your pantry foods and dispose of food that is past due. Be sure to put your trash outside of your home.
- Open packages and sift through the contents. If you detect no webbing or larvae, transfer the contents to sealed glass or plastic containers.
Professional Dallas, TX Pest Control
When it comes to battling pests in Dallas, remember that All-Safe Pest & Termite is always standing by to give you the support you need when pest problems arise. We use EPA approved products and green pest control strategies to get pests under control. Contact us today for immediate assistance!