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Indian Meal Moths

Indian meal moths are probably the most common pantry pest found in kitchens and pantries. Adults can have a wingspan of about 3/4 inch when at rest. The wings are folded together and held tightly together by the body. The wing is a blend of two colors, the front half being pale, grey or tan and the bottom half of the wings being a rust or bronze color.

These moths are nocturnal, flying at night and resting during the day in dark places. If they are disturbed during flight they will zigzag. They lay their eggs in food stuffs like grains, grain products, dried food, dried fruit, powder milk, seeds, candy, chocolates, and dry pet foods. The larvae do the damage by feeding on the different food items and forming an extensive web-type substance over the food they infest. Abundant webbing in infested materials is characteristic of infestations by the Indian meal moth. Its larvae are often found far from infested foods because they usually crawl away from their foods to construct silken cocoons in which to pupate.

It can take from 25-135 days for a moth’s egg development cycle to occur. One moth can lay 100-400 eggs over a 1-18 day period. The best methods for eradicating the Indian meal moth are pheromone traps and a residual insecticidal spray.

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