Indian Meal Moth

indianmeal--moth-2This moth is a serious pest of many stored food items. Dry pet food, dry fruit and grains, bird seed, nuts, walnuts, and spilled pet foods are likely sources of an infestation. Adult moths are about 5/8″ across the wings. They can be told apart from other indoor moths by their distinctive forewings: the outer two-thirds of the wing is reddish brown and the inner third grayish white. You may also find moths in the kitchen or other rooms.

Adults do not feed, but they lay eggs on food materials. The larval stage causes the injury. Larvae are generally surface feeders but can feed within the grain. As they feed, larvae spin silken thread webbing throughout the infested food source. Small particles are often adhered loosely to the threads.

When full-grown, larva migrate out of the food source and often across walls and ceilings, making cocoons in cracks and crevices, emerging a few days later as adult moths. They are frequently found making cocoons in cracks and crevices on cupboard tops, shelves, ceiling corners, and walls. The complete life cycle from egg to adult moth takes one to two months.

Aerosols & Ready to Use Products

These “ready to use” products are convenient and great for a contact kill and great for flushing out insects. Most offer great residual properties as well.

Insecticide Concentrates

– These concentrates are mixed with water and used in a compressed hand held sprayer to make your application.


Dusts are usually used to treat into cracks and crevices (such as in the crack between the wall baseboard and floor), in wall voids, cavities, attics or crawl spaces. Be sure that there is proper ventilation in the room and that you don’t over dust or dust in areas accessible by people.

Insect Traps

 Insect Growth Regulators

IGR’s (Insect Growth Regulators) disrupt the normal development of certain insects. When exposed to IGR’s the insect will become adults incapable of reproducing, thus ending the cycle of an infestation. Use IGR’s in areas such as, but not limited to: apartment buildings, hospitals, residential homes, hotels/motels, nursing homes, and marine vessels. Do not treat linens and mattresses.

 More on Treating for Indian Meal Moths

Try and locate the source of infestation before any type of treatment. Examine closets, pantry’s and stored goods for larvae, moths, and damage. Sanitation, Sanitation, Sanitation! Get the idea?!

Infested items should be thrown out, or placed in a seal tight container and frozen for a couple of days. Freezing the infested items will kill all lifecycle stages of this pest.

Vacuum and clean all cracks and crevices in closets and other rooms infested. Destroy cocoons and larvae that may be found in the cracks between shelves, moldings, and doorframes, on ceilings of cupboards, or where room walls and ceiling meet.

After vacuuming cracks and crevices in closets and other rooms infested, an Indian Meal Moth Pheromone Trap can be placed in areas that contain items the larvae feed on. In small areas, we recommend just one trap. Too many traps will confuse the moths and you won’t achieve proper control. For larger areas such as warehouses and retail stores, place the traps every 25 – 50 feet apart on a grid pattern. The recommended height is eye level. Pheromone traps provide you with a good way to monitor your population.

Treat areas of infestation with Gentrol Aerosol, or another IGR.  Gentrol is not an insecticide, but an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) that provides preventative action, since it disrupts the pests’ normal development.   Hydroprene, the active ingredient, prevents the pest from developing and thus reproducing.  Apply Gentrol to areas of infestation.  Especially areas where you see larvae.   Areas to consider would be under the bottom side of shelves in the pantry, cracks and crevices, behind baseboards, behind loose wallpaper, in floor cracks, cracks in plaster, behind cabinets, under cabinets, behind the dishwasher, or in existing wall holes.

Try placing Pantry Patrol Pheromone Traps in infested areas.  This pheromone based trapping system utilizes powerful sex attractant and aggregation pheromones mixed in a natural grain oil. This food attractant is designed to lure and capture a variety of beetles and moths that attack your stored food. Sold in packages of two.

Should you need to take a more aggressive approach to controlling your infestation, try utilizing some common insecticides.  Use a dust such as Drione or Delta Dust to treat cracks, crevices, or inaccessible void areas such as under cabinets or dish washers.  Use the Crusader Bellows Duster to make your application.

For added control,  you may wish to resort to a  residual insecticide such as Tempo SC or Suspend.

Good housekeeping is critical for preventing or controlling Indian Meal Moths. Never allow stored products to lie in a neglected pile. Regular use of a strong suction vacuum cleaner with a crevice tool to remove food products from floor cracks and  baseboards is necessary. Keep the pantry and kitchen clean!