The Indian meal moth (pantry moth) is a common household pest. It is a small moth that has a distinct color pattern- the front half is grey and the back half is brown. They are often seen resting on walls near infested cabinets.
Infestations start with eggs or caterpillars that are in material brought into the house. Flour, noodles, dry pet food, and birdseed are the most commonly infested material. The infestation can be spread by the moths laying eggs in other stored food products. The caterpillars usually remain in the infested food.
Seeing the moths on walls or in the kitchen cabinets, or seeing the caterpillars crawling on cabinets or walls are the usual signs of an infestation. Infested pet food and birdseed can be covered with webbing made by the caterpillars. The moths usually fly in the evening and will remain close to the infested material.
Elimination of meal moths begins with locating the infested material, which may be more than one source. Look for silk covering the surface or moths in the immediate area. Place pheromone sticky traps in cabinets to remove the male moths, and to help pinpoint the site of the infested material. Continue to use sticky traps for several months to be certain the infestation has been eliminated.
Preventing these moths and other pantry moths begins with storing food materials such as flour, noodles, pet food, and birdseed in tight containers. Avoid keeping a large quantity of these materials, and discard them and clean cabinets thoroughly if they are found infested. Vacuuming infested cabinets is better than cleaning with soap and water.
Checkout our Harris Ultimate Moth Control Guide