What Are Pantry Pests And Are They Dangerous?

A cockroach on white flooring

While having pests anywhere around your home can be upsetting, one of the most disgusting things is discovering them in the food you are about to eat. This is exactly what happens when pantry pests get into your Massachusetts property.

While there are many different species of pantry pests, one of the most common is the Indian meal moth which is sometimes called the pantry moth. This pest will invade many stored products, including cereals, grains, spices, flour, sugars, and dried fruit.

However, it’s the larvae that live in these items and consume them. The adults will lay their eggs in stored food items, so the larvae have what they need to grow. Then, once they become adults, they turn into moths and lay more eggs.

Luckily, these moths aren’t considered dangerous as they don’t bite or sting and aren’t known to spread disease to people. However, they can be rather invasive, and any food they touch will still need to be thrown out.

What Do Pantry Moths Look Like?

While in their larval stage, the Indian meal moth is quite small at only an inch long. They are worm-like in appearance with rippled bodies and a whitish color, although their heads are reddish-brown.

Then, once they reach adulthood, they become moths with reddish-brown bodies and wings. Their wings also have black banding and markings in a cream color.

How Do Indian Meal Moth Infestations Begin?

While it’s rather gross to think about, pantry moth infestations usually begin when you purchase items that are already infested. You could bring home food products, even ones that are already in sealed packages, only to find that worm-like creature, and eventually, moths, are coming out of your cupboards and being found in the things you want to eat.

It’s also possible to get a pantry moth infestation if the adult moths come indoors from outside. Once these moths are adults, they need different food sources, mainly nectar from plants, so they often live outdoors. This means they can be found around properties and make their way inside through open doors or other gaps around the home’s exterior.

Six Indian Meal Moth Prevention Tips

Since no one wants to find pests inside the food they eat, knowing how to prevent these pests can go a long way towards safeguarding your pantry. Here are six specific steps you can take to deter these moths:

  1. Always inspect food packaging at the grocery store before purchasing. Take special care to look in grain-based and other similar items for signs of moth activity including small webs or the appearance of fine powder.
  2. Store sugar, flour, grain, and other baking mixes in sealed containers.
  3. Regularly clean out cupboards and cabinets with soap and water.
  4. Make sure to rotate packaged food items to keep them fresh.
  5. Repair broken screens around the home to make it more difficult for adult moths to come inside. Then, install door sweeps and weather stripping.
  6. Get professional pest assistance.

How To Eradicate Indian Meal Moths

The simplest way to remove pantry moths at all stages of their life cycle is with assistance from American Pest Solutions.

With regular home pest help, we can ensure that these pests don’t come around and also work with you to implement prevention steps throughout the year. If you’re already dealing with these moths inside of your home, we can remove them swiftly and ensure they don't return.

Find out more and even request a quote by contacting us today.