What Are These Bugs In My Flour?

A close up image of an Indian meal moth on top of flour

It’s time to get ready for a Thanksgiving feast that your friends and family will talk about for years to come. You want to make it all perfect so that everyone can relax and have a good time, and besides, there is so much to be thankful for. You have made all the arrangements, invited all of your guests, and planned the perfect menu. Now you head to your pantry to gather all of the ingredients you need to make the delicious desserts that everyone is looking forward to and you stop short at the sight of a bug in your flour sack. After close inspection, you realize there is more than one and it’s a bug that you have never seen before.

In all likelihood, these bugs could be the Indian meal moth, because they are commonly found in stored food products. Their larvae feed on dry food goods in kitchens and pantries, and although they are not dangerous, you don’t want to cook with foods that are contaminated with them and they are unpleasant to have around. As soon as you spot one or two, you should look into getting rid of them as soon as possible so that they do not grow into a larger population in your home; and you certainly don't want them putting a damper on the holidays.

The larvae of the Indian meal moth are 1/2" to 1" long and their bodies can be a variety of colors depending on what species it is or what they have been eating. The color can range from brown to off-white in color. Usually, the head and thorax of the larva are brownish-yellow. Only the larvae feed on grains, flour, cereals, spices, dried fruits, and chocolate. The adults do not feed but are attracted to lights and fly in a zigzag pattern. Most infestations involving the Indian meal moth will begin where the food is stored or processed. The eggs laid by the female begin the contamination of the food, which is then brought into your home. As soon as the eggs hatch the larvae feed on the dry food and make silk webs that catch their cast skins and feces.

Prevention is difficult because these pests are usually introduced to your home straight from the bag. However, there are a few things you can do to help prevent them.

  • Seal all entry points into your home through cracks and crevices.
  • Discard old or expired foods regularly.
  • Only purchase items in packaging that do not have holes, rips, or damaged seals.
  • Examine foods purchased at the store as soon as you bring them home.
  • Keep dry goods in securely sealed containers with locking lids.

An experienced pest control company is your best bet for efficient and effective control of these and other pantry pests, as even a single unchecked container can keep a population going. If you are experiencing pantry pests or want to avoid any in the future, your first choice should be American Pest Solutions. We are experts in the field of pest control solutions and have the experience, technology, and knowledge to take care of your pest problems. Call us today at American Pest Solutions in Western Massachusetts and Hartford County, Connecticut, to prevent Indian meal moths from ruining your Thanksgiving plans.