Indian Meal Moth | Can Pantry Pests Harm You?

By proof. Pest Control

When your alarm begins blaring during the early morning hours, the first thing you want is a filling breakfast to get your day started. As you pull a cereal box from your pantry, the last thing you’ll want to find is a bug resting within! 

Pantry pests like the Indian meal moth are nuisances for homeowners. These annoying insects will invade the food in your kitchen and contaminate your newly purchased groceries. 

If you have an influx of bugs in your food, you’ll want to act quickly to get them out of your home. Here are some tips on how to remove Indian meal moths!

What is an Indian Meal Moth?

As their name suggests, these moths hide within cornmeal, flour, and other common pantry items. 

They are dark brown in color with light tan abdomens. Decorated with a thick black pattern, the moth’s wings share a similar dark brown hue. 

Like other moths, an Indian meal moth can fly and will glide around in a zig-zag pattern. Instead of finding them flitting around your kitchen, you’ll probably spot these pests hiding within your stored foods. 

While these pests can infest anything in your pantry, they typically reside in the following:

  • Flour
  • Cornmeal 
  • Cereal 
  • Grains
  • Nuts

If these items aren’t secured, these pests could covertly crawl in and consume your food. Because they regularly inhabit your edible goods, can you get sick from consuming infested items?

Many pests can transmit diseases. For example, flies can spread bacteria like salmonella and E. coli. Flies often feed on unsanitary objects like pet and human waste or decaying materials, infecting your food as they land. Some ant species can also track pathogens into your food as they forage. 

While Indian meal moths may rummage through your food like flies, they do not transfer any dangerous diseases. If you spot them in your pantry, rest assured that you will not become sick because of their presence. 

However, don’t freely consume what an Indian moth contaminates. If you spot a moth in your pantry, toss out any food they were inside. These insects can still taint your flour and cereal by laying eggs. Retaining infected food items can also perpetuate existing infestations. 

Preventing an Infestation

Removing these pests from your stored items is difficult, especially if they lay eggs inside your food. Instead of combatting moths once they infect your kitchen, you can focus on preventing them from entering your home!

Lock Away Your Food 

Correctly storing your food is the easiest way to keep these pests at bay. Instead of keeping foods like cereal, sugar, and flour in their original box and paper wrappings, consider depositing these materials in tamper-proof containers. 

Use glass or plastic containers that have a lid you can easily lock. The moths can’t crawl through the closed openings, and you won’t have to worry about any critters taking a bite out of your food. 

If you have stray crumbs or loose food scattered in your pantry, you may accidentally attract moths. While moths prefer to burrow within the food in your pantry, stray messes could alert them that nutrition is near. 

Be sure to keep your kitchen clean even after finding pests. If you want to ensure you’ve removed the bug population, thoroughly clean up your pantry and inspect all of your food to see if there are any remaining pests. 

Never Purchase Damaged Goods

If you spot a broken bag of flour while you’re shopping, resist purchasing these goods for a discount. These pests could reside in damaged bags, and you might accidentally introduce them to your home. 

Because these moths thrive within grain products, grocery stores and food processing plants have a generous selection of food sources for Indian meal moths. To avoid bringing home an unwelcome guest, check your food products for damage before you check out. 

How to Remove Indian Meal Moths

When you have a moth problem, there aren’t many options to get rid of their ranks. If there are insects in your food, you should promptly dispose of the affected items and place your newly purchased groceries in moth-proof containers. 

Once these pests infiltrate your pantry, there aren’t any other ways to dispel them beyond tossing out your food. According to the University of Florida, an Indian meal moth can hide within the cardboard packaging of many food products. Removing them from your home is the only effective way to eliminate an infestation. 

To ensure that you’ve gotten rid of the moths, try placing sticky traps around your pantry to catch stray insects. While this won’t eliminate an infestation, these traps can seize any bugs you may have missed. Plus, the traps can point you to the source of an infestation and help you find their nesting spot. 

Take a look at this video to see how well sticky traps work for pantry moths!

Prevention methods work far better to keep these pests away from your kitchen and food. When you struggle with moths in your home, you should turn to a reputable pest control agency like proof. pest control to keep their populations under control. 

Most storebought pesticides aren’t safe to spray around sensitive areas like your kitchen, but proof. pest control uses safe and organic products to keep you safe while we combat your pest problem. 

If you’re dealing with unruly pests like moths, give us a call, and we will remove these problem pests from your pantry!

Call proof. pest control at 888-291-5333, or send us a message online.