Are you familiar with the tiny moth known as the Indian meal moth? These little insects hardly seem like moths because they're so small. You can go into your cabinet, grab some food, and completely miss one of these moths clinging to a wall. An Indian meal moth is only ⅝ of an inch long. But it is important that you notice them when they start to appear in your cabinets and food-storage areas because these insects are a warning sign that your food is infested. Yes. You read that right. They aren't usually a sign of an impending infestation. When the adult moths appear, it is likely because they are emerging from an infested food item. Let's take a moment to discuss how this works and then go over a few best practices you can apply to prevent Indian meal moths from being an unsavory addition to your meal plans.
From Farm To Table
At any point, Indian meal moths can lay their eggs in foods that you purchase from the grocery store. These eggs don't need the momma moth in order to hatch. When you bring a contaminated food package into your Brentwood home, the eggs can hatch unnoticed, and the larvae of these insects can begin to feed inside your packaged foods. As they move from the larvae to the pupa stage, they cocoon themselves and prepare to become moths. This webbing can be noticeable and is another helpful sign that your food is contaminated. Fortunately, this contamination isn't likely to make you sick. It's just gross. There is currently no evidence linking Indian meal moths to human diseases.
Indian Meal Moth Prevention
Since these insects usually emerge from your food, the best way to stop them is by properly managing your pantry items. This starts at the grocery store.
Inspect paper, cardboard, and plastic packaging for rips, tears, and tiny openings. If an item is damaged, don't purchase it.
Check the due dates on the items you purchase. When food is ripe, it has a stronger scent. This makes it a beacon for Indian meal moths.
When you get home, it is difficult to know whether or not you've purchased a contaminated food item. Eggs can be found in packages that have no visible damage and inside food that is not yet past its due date. It helps to move items from their paper, cardboard, or plastic packaging, into glass or hard plastic containers that can be sealed.
As you transfer your pantry items, you'll be able to inspect the products for eggs, larvae, or webbing. Keep in mind that the larvae take on the color of the food they eat. Since they are grubs that look a little bit like rice, this can make them look like white or brown rice, depending on which they are feeding on.
If you put your pantry items into glass containers, it will help you easily see the food inside. If larvae start to move around in there, or cocoons are created, you'll be able to see this activity. Hopefully, you'll catch them before they become moths. But, if you don't, you'll be able to easily see that your food is infested because the moths won't be able to escape, and they'll be quite noticeable crawling and fluttering around inside.
Sealed containers also prevent Indian meal moths from laying eggs in your foods. If you have a contaminated food package and moths come out of it, your sealed food will be protected. If Indian meal moths happen to get into your home from the outside, your sealed containers will not only keep those moths out, they'll trap the smells inside and make your home less inviting to the moths.
When You Find Moths
If you've followed the steps in this guide, all you'll have to do is pour the contents of your containers out outside of your home, and clean the containers. It's as easy as that. If you don't store your pantry foods in sealed containers, it can be tricky to arrest an Indian meal moth infestation. These moths can lay their eggs in many places both inside and around your stored food. It is best to contact a licensed pest professional for assistance with a pantry pest infestation.
Do You Live In Brentwood?
If you're dealing with pantry pests in Brentwood, contact All-American Pest Control for effective pantry pest control. Our service team members use industry-leading strategies to locate and eliminate Indian meal moths in all stages of development. If you have questions, or you'd like to request service, speak with one of our friendly, knowledgeable agents right here on our webpage. When it comes to dealing with icky pests like Indian meal moths, it pays to have professional help.
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