Your home recently became infested with tiny grey moths, flapping erratically around your kitchen. You may have seen suspicious webs in a cereal box. Likely that you might be sharing your food with pantry moths. Pantry moths are found on every continent except Antarctica and feed on rice, grains, flour, pasta, cereals, dried fruits, spices, seeds, nuts, and other dried food. In the U.S. pantry moths are found almost every state and city.

Pantry Moths are known by several common names, including meal moth, Indian meal moth, flour moth, grain moth, and almond moth. Adult moths are quite small (1/4 to 3/8 inch in length) with a wingspan of 1/2 to 3/4 inch.

Pantry moth adults have grey/brownish-colored wings with bronze or tan bands near the wing tips.

One may think that the harm comes from the adult moths, however, adult moths do not feed on pantry goods at all. The trouble arises when female moths lay their eggs in or around our food. The tiny eggs hatch into barely visible cream-colored larvae small enough to crawl into poorly sealed food containers. There, they begin to feed.

The kitchens in the house are full of unsealed containers and spilled food, which makes it an irresistible smorgasbord for female pantry moths looking for a place to lay eggs. Like many insects, pantry moths develop more quickly at warmer temperatures. Females also lay more eggs and larvae are more likely to survive to adulthood at these temperatures, but

prolonged exposure to temperatures above 40℃ is lethal to eggs and larvae.

As they grow, larvae produce large amounts of silk webbing and feces, both of which can contaminate food.

Once a cocoon reaches its full size, it leaves the food in search of a safe space to make a cocoon, usually a crack, container lid, crevice, or corner. Sometimes they turn up in the hinges.

Indian Meal Moth Blog Image

So How Do Pantry Moths Enter and Invade Our Homes?

Most likely, they are brought home by ourselves. Pantry moths can enter via doors and windows. However, most infestations start when we unknowingly get home pantry moth larvae and cacoon in our dried foods. Dried foods can be contaminated at packing or manufacturing facilities.

How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths?

If you have an infestation of Pantry Moths, inspect all potential food sources, including spices, cereals, grains, dry pet foods, pasta, seeds, nuts, tea, dried flowers, and dried fruit.

  • Meal-moth larvae have legs and often move quite far from their original home. You may find larvae and pupae tucked away in door hinges, backs of door knobs, and corners of wire baskets; underneath shelves, and around the edges of jar lids, cans, and non-food items also stored in your pantry or cupboard.

  • The larvae can chew through paper and plastic. If you tend to keep an assortment of nuts, fruits, and grains bought from bulk storage bins and stored in plastic or paper bags, check every bag for openings that could have allowed entry of meal-moth larvae, or for holes the larvae may have chewed themselves.

  • If you have concerns, place any items that seem intact with no signs of damage to the food inside, in the freezer at 0° or below for four days. That will kill any eggs that might be present.

Clean up and discard any food that is spilled, under appliances, or in other places where caterpillars might hide. Even small amounts of food can support a caterpillar population. It is essential to keep your pantry clean and free of food storage areas that may be used by pantry moth. Affordable Catcher Labs. pantry moth traps can be used to monitor and reduce the moth population as the most effective and easy solution.

Cather Labs Pantry moth traps are triangular cardboard covered with thick sticky pheromone glue. The traps are baited with a synthetic pheromone that mimics the smell of a female pantry moth. When the trap is set, the male will become hopelessly stuck to the glue and will not be able to escape. Traps can be used to stop an outbreak on their own, but always use them with proper food storage and careful cleaning.

Caterpillars are a common source of food in the pantry, and if you accidentally eat them, it's unlikely that you'll experience any health problems.

Are Pantry Moths Harmful?

No. This pest does not cause diseases to humans or pets even if you accidentally cook and eat a few larvae.

However, Pantry moths can be difficult to eradicate, especially if they’ve completed their life cycle and dispersed throughout your pantry. Find our more about our unique methods developed for maximizing efficiency on moth trap usage.

As a result, the cheapest and easiest available solution to prevent and end Pantry Moth infestations at your home is using moth traps like our Catcher Labs Pantry Pro Moth Traps. 

Finally, please don’t use insecticides to kill meal moths. Not only are they unlikely to be effective, but many aren’t safe for use around food.

Artun Bekar