- INFESTED WITH INDIAN MEAL MOTHS?
- MEAL MOTH ZAPPER
- MEAL MOTH LIFE CYCLE
- GET RID OF MEAL MOTH INFESTED FOOD
- HOW TO TREAT THE MEAL MOTH INFESTED AREAS
- WHERE DO MEAL MOTHS HIDE?
- AVOID CLEANING WITH WATER OR OTHER HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS
- HOW TO TREAT A LARGE HOUSE FOR MEAL MOTHS?
- BEST MEAL MOTH TRAPS
- FEMALE MEAL MOTH TRAPS
- HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET RID OF MEAL MOTHS?
- STILL SEE ADULT MOTHS AFTER 2 MONTHS?
- CONTACT US
Pantry pests include many crawling insects but some can fly. No doubt the beetles and weevils are easier to control. But there are flying pantry pests and these can present more of a challenge when trying to eliminate a problem because they can cover vast areas of the home. The more common flying pantry pests include Tropical Ware House Moths, Indian Meal Moths, and Mediterranean Flour Moths.
Related articles: CLOTHS MOTHS GYPSY MOTHS LAWN MOTHS MILLER MOTHS MOTH FLY PANTRY MOTHS WEBBING MOTHS
Other pantry pests: ANTS BLACK LARDER BEETLES CABINET BEETLES CIGARETTE BEETLES COCKROACHES CONFUSED FLOUR BEETLES DRUGSTORE BEETLES FRUIT FLY GRAIN BORERS HIDE BEETLES LARGE ROACHES RED FLOUR BEETLES RICE WEEVILS SAWTOOTH GRAIN BEETLES
INFESTED WITH INDIAN MEAL MOTHS? ^
In most cases, meal moths were brought to your home with some type of stored food product. Examples would include flour, dog food, biscuits, pasta, cereal, dried beans, bread, spices, cookies, and other standard pantry items. Another common household item which can lead to an infestation is bird seed.
Here is a common meal moth close to an average sized finger so you can gain perspective of their size:
MEAL MOTHS LOVE BIRD SEED ^
The packaging standard for bird seed is much less stringent compared to human food. In fact, its actually quite normal for birds to routinely eat larval stages of most any insect including meal moths. For this reason bird seed will routinely contain contaminants such as insect eggs, pupae and active stages like larvae and adults.
Many times these insects go unnoticed when you buy product at the store but once brought home, developing larva will quickly migrate out and into your cabinet. Before you realize anything has happened, you’ll have a pantry pest infestation.
WHERE DO MEAL MOTHS LIVE? ^
Due to the wide range of meal moths we commonly find active in homes, it is important to realize that populations can easily survive outside the pantry. Be sure to include all areas of the home when trying to identify the main nest site.
If you are seeing small moths hovering around your pantry, dog feeding station, pet food storage bin or birdseed storage bin, you probably have some developing stages other than the active adults.
Meal moths do not fly well and will like to land in the area where they know to be home. They are easy to kill but you will notice they keep coming and they create quite a mess when smashed for such a small pest.
MEAL MOTH ZAPPER ^
To eliminate the mess, use a HAND HELD ZAPPERS for quick and clean kills. It literally “zaps” them dead on contact and it’s fun to deploy. There is no need to “swat” when using this device; just hold it close and they’ll readily fly to it. All it takes is contact while holding the “on” button and any insect will die immediately.
MEAL MOTH LIFE CYCLE ^
Ultimately you will need to break the life cycle of your meal moths to eliminate the problem for good. This means doing some cleanup and treating.
Crawling stages do not fly but can be seen on countertops and cabinet shelves. These larvae are quite small. In general, they’re not much bigger than a grain of rice and are easy to miss.
The live cycle of meal moths is like any insect; egg, larva, pupa and lastly adult.
When the egg hatches, the larvae will feed. After getting its full (which usually takes 2-4 weeks), it will then spin a cocoon where it will undergo metamorphosis. After its fully developed, it will hatch and emerge as the flying adult. The adult has nothing but reproduction on its mind and females will lay eggs quickly following fertilization.
Adult females will look for other places to lay eggs. Expect these locations to be close to where the original infestation began but it can end up on the other side of the home. Although the duration of time will vary for different species to complete their respective live cycles, the process for controlling meal moths is the same regardless of which species you have active.
GET RID OF MEAL MOTH INFESTED FOOD ^
To stop the cycle of meal moths, you will need to identify the infested food product which started the problem. Once found, throw it or anything else you suspect as being infested away. If you are unsure about an item, place it in a clear plastic bag where you will be able to inspect it every day or two to watch for emerging pests. Keep these “questionable” items stored for at least 4 weeks. If nothing emerges by then, consider it safe to save.
Now if you find insects accumulating in the bag within a month, you know the foodstuff is contaminated and needs to be discarded.
HOW TO TREAT THE MEAL MOTH INFESTED AREAS ^
Once the cabinets and pantry have been cleaned out and lay bare, you may treat before placing anything back. Meal moth eggs and pupae will no doubt be hidden in these areas and though vacuuming will remove some, its not possible to get them all. And since it only takes 2-3 missed meal moths to enable a new infestation, its best to treat the areas and be done with them for good.
The best way to treat these areas is to do what we call “crack and crevice” spraying. Basically this is best done with an aerosol; its when the chemical being applied is placed specifically into cracks, voids and gaps where the target pest is most likely to be nesting. This type of application should be done with a “tube” or “straw” injector which will enable you to get the product exactly where it needs to be.
WHERE DO MEAL MOTHS HIDE? ^
With meal moths, the larva will feed for several days and then seek a place to spin their cocoon and pupate. Although this can happen where they are feeding in boxed food, it will also occur where they migrate to throughout the kitchen. In fact its very common to find them in the cracks between shelves, behind baseboard molding, in door frames and then out around sinks, garbage bins, stoves, refrigerators and even under dishwashers. To be safe, you need to treat all these areas at least once.
By treating all these areas, if migrating larva move over the treatment, they will die. This helps by breaking the cycle and is key. Since no chemical can kill eggs or pupa, it is very likely that some will still exist following the cleanup so be sure to treat thoroughly at least once. The good news is larvae are quite weak and susceptible to chemical. But you need to use the right one.
And the right one for meal moths is called FS MP. It comes with a special straw injector tube which makes for an easy application. FS MP uses an oil based carrier which can penetrate pupae and eggs so you’re able to get faster results as long as you treat all cracks and crevices where they might be hiding.
AVOID CLEANING WITH WATER OR OTHER HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS ^
It is important to understand that cleaning cabinets and pantries with water, bleach or some other household detergent WILL NOT provide control. In fact the cleaning agents quickly break down and the remaining moisture is exactly what developing larvae and pupae need so the net result of cleaning is in general a way to make the problem worse.
In the end, failure to do the crack and crevice treatment with FS MP will allow the problem to persist and feel like its “never ending”. We’ve seen this happen with many customers where they believed their cleaning would solve the issue. In the end, the meal moths came back every few months with a “surge” of adults. This will in turn lead to more eggs, etc.
And even though these homeowners threw everything out, nothing really changed. The few eggs and cocoons which were hidden are always going to be enough to let these persistent pests repopulate. So to avoid this from happening, use the residual FS MP Aerosol and you will save yourself a lot of aggravation and extra work.
HOW TO TREAT A LARGE HOUSE FOR MEAL MOTHS? ^
Now for homes or commercial establishments which are large, using an aerosol can be both time consuming and costly. So for these scenarios, you should still use the FS MP for crack and crevices.
But for the extensive baseboards, carpets and other flat areas where larvae or eggs might be crawling and hiding, apply BITHOR. This odorless concentrate is mixed with water and applied to the areas where the target pest is nesting as well as where the might end up going for egg laying. Mix 1 ounce per gallon of water and apply the mixed product over 1,000 sq/ft of area.
Bithor combines two actives, one that will kill adults on contact and the second which will last 1-2 months acting on young that hatch.
To make the proper treatment, you’ll need a good PUMP SPRAYER. Our design comes with the right fan tips needed to insure uniform coverage when spraying large areas. In the end, this method of application is far more effective for large areas and will prove to be easier for getting every area properly protected. This is especially true if you are treating a warehouse, stockroom or a house with large rooms.
BEST MEAL MOTH TRAPS ^
Lastly, you’ll need to set out some MEAL MOTH TRAPS. These small glue traps use the female moths sex pheromone as “lure” which will attract all emerging males that have missed the treatments. These newly hatched males have one thing on their mind: find a female!
Use at least one trap per cabinet or pantry; 3-6 per house if the infestation is distributed throughout the home.
For this reason, male moths are vulnerable and cannot resist the smell of our traps. They’ll readily enter the trap and get stuck on the glue inside and die. Expect to catch a lot of moths and expect to replace them every 90 days or sooner if they fill up.
FEMALE MEAL MOTH TRAPS ^
For a never ending problem, you may need to install MEAL MOTH SUPPRESSOR TRAPS. This latest design of meal moth trap uses both male and female pheromones. The trap itself is larger and designed with colorations that females find to be especially attractive. These traps are packed 5 traps to a set. The set includes male lures and special female “wicks” which contain the scent females interpret to mean as a good place to lay eggs.
In badly infested structures, these traps will be needed if you wish to break the moth cycle once and for all. Where problems are more moderate to mild, the use of our standard meal moth traps should suffice since they’ll collect the males.
Regardless of the severity of the problem, the use of traps is very important when dealing with meal moths. Only by catching and killing adult moths can you be sure that you are actively stopping the act of reproduction and egg laying.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET RID OF MEAL MOTHS? ^
Once you initiate the proper meal moth control program outlined above, you should not expect instant results. Since nothing can kill the pupal stage of this pest, it will take some time for the population to “run out”.
A structure properly treated with FS MP and Bithor will eventually break the cycle of this pest. Moth traps installed will intercept adults before they are able to mate and lay new eggs. Theoretically, this means the only part left of the population will be the pupae. And since these hard shelled cocoon’s will not hatch and emerge till they are ready, it could be another 4-8 weeks for all of them to hatch.
During this time its entirely possible to see some flying around. But if you treated right and keep an adequate amount of traps installed, these adults will have no place to go where they can “do their thing”. Eventually the population will run out of pupa and when that happens, you won’t see any more new activity.
STILL SEE ADULT MOTHS AFTER 2 MONTHS? ^
If you still see adult moths after 2 months of treating and removing the main food source or if you’re not able to locate the food source yet you keep finding moths flying around, it could be that your home is serving as a “moth magnet”. This commonly happens following an infestation can take 1-2 years to end.
Meal moths have a tremendous range and can detect pheromones for miles. So any home which had activity will continue to attract moths from outside the home. Since meal moths live outside during the spring, summer and fall, they’ll follow this scent to your home and once they arrive, find a way inside. The common routes of entry include the fireplace, heating/air exhaust pipes, attic spaces and crawl spaces. Of course they can enter through the front door, garage doors and windows too.
So if you have moth traps out 2 months after the initial treatments and continue to see nothing but adults, its a sure sign that adults are foraging inside.
To stop this behavior, you first need to remove all known moth traps from inside the home. Place them in a plastic garbage bag and seal them up before placing them in the garbage.
Next, install AEROSOL MACHINES fitted with CLEAR ZONE refills. These machines will release a small amount of pyrethrin which in turn will kill any flying insect in the home like moths, mosquitoes, gnats, fruit flies and more.
Each machine can cover up to 400 sq/ft and they should be placed in any room which has had adult moths active. Common rooms to use these machines would include the kitchen, pantry, living room, garage, attic or great room.
Each machine should be filled with a can of CLEAR ZONE aerosol which will last 1 month. It can be used safely in the home, around the clock, and won’t pose a hazard to people or pets. The small release of pyrethrin will kill off all adults and in turn, assure that none are able to mate and lay eggs.
CONTACT US ^
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Hi there. I just posted a comment about maggots last night in the maggot section of the site. But after your reply in looking further into what kind of bug we are actually dealing with I have realized that we have indian meal moths on our hands. We have a large walk in pantry where we store food, crafts, paperwork, fabric, you name it – its where all our access stuff goes as storage. The other day I opened the door and saw maggot like worms on the ceiling. I was so freaked out and almost had a panic attack. Realizing today that these are harmless has helped a little bit, but oh my we have a big job ahead as far as breaking the life cycle of these things. I’m guessing I have to throw out just about everything in there even expensive supplies. What about our board games, tea light candles, oh my goodness there’s just so much to go through and wash.
What I need to know is how do we deal with these larvae which are everywhere and what products you suggest we get to break the entire lifecycle. Realistically I’m guessing we will have to take everything out and either throw it away or wash it. Wash every square inch of the pantry. Any advice would be so helpful. Thank you so much!!!!!!
Tech Support says
First, no need to throw anything away just yet. Here’s why.
The larvae you see have most likely already fed and are looking for a place to spin a cocoon and pupate into adult moths. And until you empty the area, I suggest you don’t spray anything but instead, merely vacuum them away. Vacuuming once or twice a day should keep them under control for the time being and since they will die once picked up in your vacuum, no need to worry about them once removed.
And once the area has been emptied, you’ll need to sift through the food items with the goal being to identify just what is infested with live larvae. Once any activity is found in anything food based, discard the infested item. More details on this process is above, in our article, here:
And once the area is empty and suspect food items discarded, treat the room with FS MP Aerosol as explained in our article here:
Next, let the room sit for a day or two before putting anything back. This way you can know for sure if the room is still harboring migrating larvae. So if no new larvae appear in the room after it’s been empty a day or two, you can start putting stuff back after it’s been treated with the FS MP.
Lastly, install some moth traps (2-3) in the room to help gather foraging adults. If done correctly, your problem should start to subside and be gone within 1-2 months.
Here are links to these items in our cart. Please show your support for our business by purchasing the items we recommend from the links provided. Remember, this is the only way we can stay around and be here to answer your questions and keep this valuable web site up and running. Thanks for your business!
FS MP: https://bugspray.com/catalog/insecticide/aerosol/fs-mp-insectidie-15-oz.html
Meal Moth Traps: https://bugspray.com/traps/pheromone-and-food/meal-moth-2-pk
One more thing to add… this is the room our air conditioner is held in, that means they could be in the vents as well. And there is an open vent on the floor that seems to have access to a whole underground dirt area. I mean its a dream for these things to mass produce in. Do you think we will need help from a an actual expert?? I feel like there are a lot of these things. Thankfully my cats are eating the moths!
Tech Support says
Air conditioners are a moths worse enemy because they create dry air and dry air kills insects. Additionally, adult moths will target food items on which to lay eggs – not dirt or outside areas. So regardless of the air conditioner being present and/or vents in the room, the adults will be targeting something food based like pasta, flour, cereal, pet food, etc. on which to lay eggs. And so will the larvae since all they do is eat. In other words, neither phase is interested in air conditioners; they just want to be around food.
Now once the larvae get their full, they will migrate out into the open which is what you’re seeing now. But this is just a symptom of the bigger problem and this bigger problem is the infested food stuff that needs to be removed.