Indian meal moths are one of the most common stored product, or pantry, pests found in homes. To effectively control a stored product pest/pantry pest, it is important that you first properly identify it.
Once you have identified the pest as an Indian meal moth. Inspect foods for evidence of Indian meal moth presence. Look for:
- The presence of tiny white worms with black heads.
- Sticky webbing over food or packaging.
- Cast skins and fecal droppings in and around food.
Remove all foods from the pantry, kitchen cupboards, and anywhere else food is stored, then check on shelving, in corners, in cracks, and around the floor for signs of pest presence. Check every food package for worms, webbing, and other signs. Pay particular attention to:
- Foods that have sat on shelves for any length of time.
- Foods that are in thin or loosely sealed packaging.
- Packages with holes, tears or other damage.
- Bagged or boxed dog and cat foods.
Any foods that have any evidence of the pest must be discarded outside the home or treated. Treat foods with any signs or evidence of infestation using cold or heat to kill any eggs or larvae that may be present. Lay food out in a thin layer then:
- Freeze. Put items into your freezer for a minimum of three days. Alternate cold and warm temperatures: put the food item in the freezer for two days, take out and leave at room temperature for two days, then put back in the freezer for two additional days.
- Once all foods are removed from pantry and cabinets, it is important to clean thoroughly to remove all food sources for any hidden or surviving pests. Vacuum or sweep all crumbs, wipe down all shelves, corners, and floors. Be sure to get into corners and cracks. Do the same with all areas around the infested area, e.g., sweep and clean kitchen floors; remove items from counter tops and clean thoroughly; pull out the stove, refrigerator, and other appliances and sweep and clean beneath.
- For at least the next month, be sure that all foods are in tightly sealed containers or stored in refrigerator or freezer to ensure that the infestation is completely eliminated.
- Store foods in insect-resistant containers, such as thick plastic or metal containers with tightly fitted lids. Or keep in the refrigerator or other cold storage.
- Store pet foods, bird seed, etc. in buildings away from the house or basement areas well away from other foods.
- Do not purchase bagged or boxed foods with torn or damaged packaging.
- Do not buy such foods that are past their expiration dates.
- Buy foods in packaging of a size that you would expect to use quickly. Or store excess in refrigerator or freezer.
- Keep pantry and other food areas clean and free of crumbs and loose foods. Clean spills immediately.