Are Indian Meal Moths Dangerous?

indian meal moth up close

Indian meal moths are a type of stored product pest or, as they are more commonly called, pantry pests. They tend to contaminate food sources by laying their eggs in the dry food, and as the eggs develop into larvae, they feed on that food. Most of the time the meal moths are introduced into a home through purchased food from a store, which is then taken into a home. However, it is possible for adult Indian meal moths to come in from outdoors through small openings around windows and doors, as well as, gaps, cracks, and holes in foundations and exterior walls.

These meal moths range from  1/2” to 5/8” long and have wings that are a yellow-gray in the front and bronze-copper in the back with a dark band separating the two different colors. The larvae are only 1/2” and are usually brown, green, beige, or pink. It is really the larvae that feed on the dried goods in your kitchen and pantry. Common foods that Indian meal moths infest are chocolate, nuts, dry fruit, seeds, powdered milk, crackers, cereal, bird seed, and dog food. Be sure to check packaging when purchasing food that there are no rips or tears, which may indicate a possible contamination. When opening store-bought items like flour, cereal, dry pasta, dry pet food, and other dry goods, check for eggs, larvae and adult meal moths.

In order to prevent these and other pantry pests, you should always examine the food packaging thoroughly before you buy it. If it has rips and tears, do not buy it. Inspect food from the store by taking it out of its original packaging and placing it in sturdy containers with tight-fitting lids. Check and rotate stored goods in your kitchen and pantry, be sure to throw out foods that are outdated, and keep your cabinets free from loose food products. Indian meal moths are not in themselves dangerous, but if they infest your food products, you are not going to want to cook with it or eat it with the pests in there. Generally, this just creates a loss of food and that can be costly and a waste, but if the moths have a chance to spread and find any hidden or forgotten sources of food they can persist, re-infesting new food sources you bring in later. The best way to avoid this problem is to contact a professional pest eliminator to come to your rescue.

If you live in Bettendorf or the surrounding area, you can count on Quik-kill Pest Eliminators to take care of your Indian meal moth infestation and other pantry pests as well. We have been in the business of eliminating pests in the Central or North Central Illinois area for over 85 successful years. Contact us today to talk about your specific pest infestations, we’d be happy to help you at Quik-Kill Pest Eliminators.

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