Moths are the bane of many homeowners. The pests can wreak havoc on your clothing, furnishings, and even your shoes. But if you notice strange-looking insects that resemble moths darting around your kitchen's light fixtures, cabinets and pantry, you may wonder if the pests are true moths and what can you do to eliminate them.

What to Know About Indian Meal Moths

 The pests in your kitchen might be Indian meal moths. These types of moths infest and consume the dry or processed goods you bring home from the store, such as grains, dried fruit, and pet kibble. Here's what you should know about Indian meal moths, how you can eliminate them, and what you can do to keep them out of your home.

Identify and Locate Indian Meal Moths

Indian meal moths are noted for the distinct and pretty reddish-brown and copper-colored forewings. Adult moths and their larvae are often 1/2 inch long, while the eggs can be as small as 0.3 millimeters.

Like other moths, light attracts Indian meal pests. Because of this, the moths in your kitchen can fly to any room in your home as long as there's light available. However, you shouldn't let this alarm you. Indian meal moths only consume the food sources mentioned above and not fabrics. 

The babies (larvae) of Indian moths usually stay around their food sources once they hatch from their eggs. In most cases, the larvae lives inside the packages they infest. If you want to confirm that you have moth larvae in your food, use a flashlight or magnifying glass to check the items stored in your pantry, cabinets, and any other location with dried or processed foods. Look for tiny white, pink, green, or brown insects that look similar to worms. 

You may or may not see moth eggs in your food. The eggs are typically gray in color and may appear as large clutches or single eggs. There may also be signs of gestating larvae, or pupae, on the insides and outside of your food packages. Each pupa hides inside a light brown, 1/4- to 2/5 inch-long cocoon. The cocoons can appear alone or close together. 

During your investigation, you may see adult moths flitting around your food packages. The insects don't bite humans or carry diseases, so don't be afraid to continue your investigation if you do see adults.

Once you confirm that you have Indian meal moths in your food and/or kitchen, take steps to get rid of them with pest control. 

Eliminate and Keep the Indian Meal Moths Out of Your Home and Kitchen

The first thing you can do is remove every package of food that contains signs of Indian meal moths, including pet food. If possible, place the items in large trash bags and discard them in a garbage container outside the house. Wipe down the cabinets and other areas in your kitchen with a mild soap and cool water. Cleaning your kitchen can help remove moth eggs, casings, and any feces and residue adult moths leave behind.

You can keep the insects out of your home by inspecting the items you purchase. If you see eggs and larvae in the food you want to buy, don't purchase them. You should also avoid items that have moths or pupae on the containers and packaging. It may be a sign that the food items contain Indian meal moth eggs and larvae.

If you can't see or inspect the items clearly, place them inside a freezer for about three or four days to destroy the larvae and eggs. The freezer's temperature should be around 0°F for the best results.

If you still notice Indian meal moths in your kitchen or home, contact a reputable pest control company like Ace Walco Termite & Pest Control for help. You may need to take more in-depth actions against your moth invaders.

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