Indian Meal Moths are the most common household food pest in the U.S. They infest cereal, flour, cornmeal, powdered milk, chocolate, candy, dried fruit, and pet food. The larvae spin sticky webs as they feed, contaminating food with cast skins and frass (fecal pellets). Once you determine that you have Indian meal moths in your home, here's how to get rid of them.
- Skill level:
Pinpoint the source of the infestation. Notice moths fluttering near boxes of cereal, flour bins, pet food or dried peppers.
Collect infested food in sealed containers or strong plastic bags. Set them out for trash collection or, if possible, bury them.
Examine all food boxes and containers. Look for webbing, larvae and cast skins in the corners and seams of boxes. Check the right angles and crevices of cupboards and shelving.
Empty the pantry and cupboards. Vacuum all surfaces and wipe them down with hot, soapy water. Pay particular attention to the corners, under shelves and along any crevices.
Prevent re-infestation by examining grain products before adding them to your pantry. Store products such as, grains, rice, pet food, chocolate and dried fruit in airtight containers with a screw-on lid.
Tips and warnings
- Boil contaminated food in cheesecloth or freeze to kill larvae and eggs. Remove the insects and webbing then use the food for the birds.
- Do not use insecticides around food storage and food preparation areas.
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