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How To Control Indian indian mealmothMealmoths

Bugs can come from anywhere. Whether it’s outdoors in your lawn or garden, while out trying to enjoy nature, or indoors, they can creep up and surprise you. This can especially be the case in your very own pantry if you’re not too careful. Pantry pests such as the Indian mealmoth can infest your pantry and because they can fly, they can be a challenge to get rid of.

While Indian mealmoths can find their way into your pantry to eat your grains and flour, they can also be brought home from the grocery store in any type of wheat or grain pre-packaged item.  Indian mealmoths are the most common of all pantry pests. Indian mealmoths typically have two pairs of wings and can vary in size. These mealmoths are known for being bright colored with varying shades of grey or brown to reddish brown.

Moths are at their worst in the larval stage which is the stage when they do the most damage, devouring (and contaminating) dried foods in your pantry. The larvae stage of the Indian mealmoth is when the mealmoth is a caterpillar. It is during this phase where Indian Mealmoths are the most damaging.  They are cream colored worms with shades of yellow, pink, green, or brown and grow to 1/2 inch long. These pests contaminate more food than they actually eat. When mature, they do not feed.

Solutions Pest and Lawn knows just how to get rid of these pesky bugs like the Indian mealmoth and can help you to clear your pantry of them once and for all with our helpful advice and effective products.

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How to Get Rid of Indian Mealmoths: Solutions' 4 Step Process:

Once you realize that your pantry has an Indian mealmoth problem, it actually is quite easy to get rid of them. Solutions Pest & Lawn recommends a control approach which includes a combination of exclusion measures, applying control products like insecticides and discarding all food infested by the offending pest. Check out our 4 step process below to learn how to properly dispose of invading Indian mealmoths in your pantry.

Step One:  Identify the source of the infestation and remove the product immediately from your pantry or storage area. We also recommend that all already opened food containers you have be stored in airtight containers made of hard plastic. By doing this step you can prevent further infestation. You will need to completely empty out your pantry and check EVERYTHING. Completing this step properly and being thorough in your approach is half the battle. For the best possible results in eliminating an infestation, we suggest tossing everything in your pantry, even unopened new containers. Don't leave anything to chance.

Step Two:  Once you have decluttered your pantry and removed unwanted foods and foods you feel are infested, vacuum and clean the shelves and surfaces of the pantry. If necessary, use caulking on the cracks and crevices of the shelves and apply fresh paint.

Step Three: Apply a residual insecticide spray. An easy to use aerosol like Novacide Flea & Tick Killer or CB PCO Insect Fogger are excellent options then follow up with an Insect Growth Regulator Gentrol Point Source IGR, which is also available in an aerosol spray and has a crack and crevice tip for easy application.

Step Four: Use pheromone specific traps to catch Indian mealmoths that are moving around in your home and then regularly clean the pantry of any spills and clutter. Dispose of old unwanted food and seal all cracks and crevices with caulk and paint in your pantry to ensure no areas of harborage are available and make cleaning up a breeze.


Following these steps carefully and being meticulous in your approach will ensure you that your Indian mealmoth problem will be a thing of the past. Browse our Indian mealmoth eliminating products below and as always you can contact us if you are in need of suggestions or advice, we are always available either via live chat, phone or email.


Learn More About The Indian Meal Moth

Indian meal moths are by far the most common pantry pest which can be encountered in a home or place of business. The Indian meal moth can often be mistaken as the webbing clothes moth, due to their similar appearance, but the latter is a fabric pest. Indian meal moths are notorious for damaging stored food items and not fabric.


People often erroneously believe that the Indian meal moth got its name because they originated from India, but that is not true. In fact, their name was coined because in the US the indian meal moth was commonly found eating “indian corn” known as maize.


Indian meal moths are typically introduced into a home or building by being brought in with a food product which is already infested. While food processing facilities do their best to prepare and package food that is pantry pest free, there is often some bugs that are able to squeak by and make their way into food and are packaged away on grocery store shelves.


Indian meal moths are phototropic, meaning they are attracted to light and will fly towards it when a light turns on or they discover light.  Due to Indian Meal Moths being most active at night, people often report discovering them at night when they turn on the kitchen light and check the pantry only to see the indian meal moth erratically flying around


The Indian Meal Moth Life Cycle

Like most insects, Indian meal moths go through a complete metamorphosis meaning that they  go through a life cycle starting as an egg, then becoming a larvae, then going through the pupa stage and finally reaching adulthood.


Often the phase of the Indian meal moth life cycle that is most commonly spotted which signals an infestation is the adult moth flying to and fro in the pantry. At this point the indian meal moth damage has been done and they have already contaminated selected foods in the pantry.


The entire life cycle of the Indian meal moth can be accomplished in as quickly as a month or nearly a year long depending on a number of different factors such as the environmental issues, temperature and the type of food consumed. In warmer temperatures, the life cycle can be reached more rapidly.


The Indian Meal Moth Egg Phase

If you’re wondering how you can identify a Indian meal moth egg, they are grayish to cream colored and extremely tiny. A female Indian meal moth has the ability to lay 400 eggs in their short lifetime.


These eggs will be deposited directly onto the stored food product that the larvae would use to nourish themselves once the egg hatches. Thus, a female Indian meal moth will be flying around looking for a food source to lay her eggs. After about a week, the Indian meal moth egg will hatch.


The Indian Meal Moth Larvae Phase

The larvae stage is actually the most destructive phase of the Indian meal moth life cycle because it is where the larvae relentlessly feeds on everything within its reach. Once the Indian meal moth egg hatches out comes the larvae which looks similar to a worm.

The Indian meal moth larvae is about half of an inch long and has five pairs of legs and almost looks like a caterpillar.


Pantry moth larvae can often be confused with weevil grubs. Pantry moth larvae are whitish colored, but they can vary in color depending on the food their are eating as there have been instances where the larvae can have a greenish, pinkish or brownish hue.


Pantry larvae are vicious eaters and are even knock to drill their way into soft plastic or cardboard to satisfy their hunger. Once the larvae has developed enough (after about 40 to 50 days more or less), the larvae will finally stop feeding and transition into a pupa.


The larvae will leave behind the wreckage and contamination they caused on the stored food in the form of casings, droppings and bodily waste and find a place to pupate.


The Indian Meal Moth Pupa Phase

Indian meal moths pupae are usually found laid out in an open space in a pantry or even in a cocoon that has been spun with webbing. Pantry moth larvae typically pupate away from the food source they had been feeding on, and would go to a crack in the pantry shelf or even the seams on the door or other spots to pupate.


Other times when locations to pupate are scarce, the Indian meal moth larvae will just go ahead and build their cocoon directly in the stored food product which is a large reason that infested food will have webbing in it, making it further unfit to eat. There are rare occasions when a Indian meal moth larvae will travel away from the pantry itself to pupate, for instance a closet. This act may often make people mistake them as a clothing moth.


The size of Indian meal moth pupae is between 1/3 of an inch long to 1/4 inch. When in the pupation cocoon, the Indian meal moth pupae will stay in this transitional phase for the duration of 15 or 20 days.


The Indian Meal Moth Adult Phase

When you discover a Indian meal moth flying around it has reached the adult stage. The primary objective of the Indian meal moth once they have reached adulthood it is simply to multiply and bring on the next generation of moths. Indian meal moths can be a nuisance, flying erratically everywhere throughout the house, ordinarily around evening time. Whenever they see light they will start drawing themselves towards it and will also be searching around for a mate.


The female moth will discharge a pheromone or attractant into the air which will help the male moth to find her so she can lay her eggs. Indian meal moths don't consume anything in the adult phase and thus they have a very short lifespan, lasting between 1 to 2 weeks long.  Be that as it may, with the capacity of the Indian meal moth to lay 400 eggs at once, if you have an infestation, there will be plenty of them to deal with even after they pass.


Adult Indian meal moths are about half an inch long, and are 5/8 of an inch with wings spread open. Depending upon the kind of Indian meal moth the color may be different. An indian meal moth has a reddish tint on the back area while the upper part of the moth is grayish . A Flour moth is on the other hand dark and gritty white.


Indian Meal Moth Adult Stage lasts between 7 to 13 days.


Why Indian Meal Moths Are Such A Large Problem

Whenever a Indian meal moth makes its presence felt in your kitchen and begins their Indian meal moth life cycle, often from the moment you grab a food item from the grocery store which they may have been mistakenly shipped in, very quickly their population will grow in alarmingly large numbers with the larvae looking to consume everything it sees in your stored food area.


Trust us when we say Indian meal moths are not picky when they eat. Pantry moth larvae will track down even the most insignifice pieces of food found on the floor of the pantry to nourish themselves, or they will work their way  into old boxes of grains and cereal boxes and will literally drill holes into the cardboard to get their food fix.


Indian meal moth webbing has been discovered in the craziest of places. If your stored goods are near the back of the pantry, the infestation may be quite severe due to the fact that it is dark and generally undisturbed back there, an ideal situation for Indian meal moths to thrive. Soon enough, the Indian meal moths will start to work their way forward to satisfy their hunger and target your other food items, leaving no stone unturned.


If there is a cereal brand you haven't been in the mood to have for a long time or a box of goodies that you forgot about, the Indian meal moths will surely eat it on your behalf.  


Getting rid of a Indian meal moth infestation can be very costly because often to be on the safe side you need to throw away every food item you have in your pantry, new or old, because they all could very well be contaminated.


Indian Meal Moths can be the bane of your kitchen's existence because of their prevalence and annoying, unsanitary behavior. When you have a Indian meal moth problem, you'll need to dispose of Indian meal moths immediately before things get really out of hand.


Obvious Signs that You May Have Indian Meal Moths

The most clear sign that your kitchen has been compromised by the presence of Indian meal moths are if you open the door of your pantry and catch a moth flying around, attract to the light you just turned on.


When you catch a Indian meal moth flying seemingly from “out of nowhere” around your kitchen, you must immediately go to your pantry and check all your food sources and WE MEAN EVERYTHING.


What you’re going to want to look for is any webbing material (which they use to make their cocoons) or maggot looking moth larvae in your older dried food boxes.  If you don’t find anything in there, focus your inspection by check the cracks and corners of cupboards and cabinets for webbing. If you have any plastic containers where you store dried foods, check those as well to locate the source of the Indian meal moth problem.


In many cases it really doesn’t matter to much what type of Indian meal moth problem you have since the techniques to control this type of pantry pest is largely the same and doesn’t vary by species.


Indian Meal Moth Control Preliminary Measures

Once you have discovered an adult moth, you have to get to the bottom of where the Indian meal moth infestation is. This means emptying out your pantry and doing some serious prepwork for Indian meal moth control


Once you have tracked down the source of the Indian meal moth infestation it’s time to do some spring cleaning. Any stored food product that has Indian meal moths in them needs to be discarded immediately.


Conducting Sanitation For Indian Meal Moths


In many cases, it’d probably be better to just throw all your dried food products out to save yourself some time and not leave anything to chance. By eliminating the food sources that the Indian meal moths love so much, you make it so the infestation doesn’t carry on after intervention.

All infested food items or possibly infested items should be tossed into a trash bag, and tossed outside. Don’t leave it anywhere inside your home or garage or else you’re going to be having Indian meal moth problems wherever you left them and not just in your kitchen pantry.

If you are not wanting to start your pantry over from scratch, you can go through the tedious process of inspecting every box you have, even if it’s brand new and unopened. Break the seal, open everything up and check.

Aside from the pantry food, check other items that could be a pantry food target. You would be surprised to find Indian meal moths in places you don’t expect such as on your kids macaroni art on your fridge doors, pastas, doggie snacks, candy jars etc.

Don’t ignore your canned goods! While Indian meal moths usually are found in boxed dried foods, you should inspect your cans and jars because Indian meal moths are known to pupate on the rims and lids of cans. If you see webbing on your unopened cans, wash them with vinegar.


Clean and Vacuum the Indian Meal Moths Away

Once the food is all checked and the suspicious products are tossed. Break out the vacuum and suck up all the cracks, crevices and corners of your emptied out pantry. Get the baseboard, door trim and practically every inch of the pantry.

Get your favorite spray cleaner and wash and spray down all the pantry walls, flooring and even the inside of the door hinges and the door jamb since these are also prime places non-adult Indian meal moths can be found.


Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned up your pantry, empty out your vacuum bag and take out the trash!

Indian Meal Moth Treatment Options


Once you’ve done a thorough cleanup of your pantry, you can then move on to using control products.

The product we highly recommend to use for getting rid of Indian meal moths is  Novacide Flea & Tick Killer. Novacide comes with a special straw applicator which makes it easier to treat cracks and crevices where both adult Indian meal moths and larvae like to hide.


Using Insect Growth Regulator to Eliminate Indian Meal Moths

For an extra layer of protection, we recommend using an insect growth regulator such as Gentrol Aerosol Insect Growth Regulator and Gentrol IGR Insect Growth Regulator. IGRs are known as a juvenile growth hormone. These product don’t actually kill Indian meal moths, it merely stunts their growth and prevents eggs from hatching into adults.  A single application of either of these products can last you 3 to 6 months.

Traps for Flour Beetle Control


After applying insecticide treatment to your pantry and the rest of your home we recommend placing some pantry pest traps to capture any lingering flour beetles such as Pro-Pest Pantry Moth & Beetle Traps. While they are labeled for pantry moths and beetles, they can also work against flour beetles.


These traps are excellent because they contain pheromones or sex attractants to lure unsuspecting adult flour beetles to the trap. Once borers crawl or fly toward the trap, they’ll get captured on the glue trap with no way to escape.

Preventing Indian Meal Moth Re-infestations

We’ve received plenty of phone calls and emails from frustrated homeowners and customers ruminating about Indian meal moths making a return despite their best sanitation efforts. What we’ve said to them is that it may not be your fault. Indian meal moths can arrive in a variety of ways--you can even grab a product off the supermarket shelf which may have pantry pests.

Unfortunately, the food you purchase from the store having Indian meal moths is out of your control. However, as long as you take proactive measures with whatever food you have in your pantry like doing regular checks or moving pantry foods to a hard plastic container rather than their original cardboard container, you’ll make it tougher for your foods to be infested by Indian meal moths..


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