Unfortunately, numerous insect pests to stored food items can be found in all 50 US states, but the temperate climate in the northeast favors the indoor pest activity of most stored-food insect species. Most experts agree that the Indian meal moth (IMM) is the most significant stored food pest species in the world, as infestations are found in grocery stores, food warehouses, food processing plants and in homes at a frequency that far outpaces all other insect pests to food. IMM infestations can be particularly disturbing to homeowners since most infestations are first noticed after residents find moth larvae within their stored food items. In fact, observing a larval presence within numerous stored food items is how pest control professionals identify IMM as the insect culprits behind kitchen infestations.
Once these moths access a kitchen it does not take long before larvae can be found within most stored food items kept within pantries and cupboards. This rapid infestation rate is due to the moth’s relatively short reproduction period. Once larvae (caterpillars) reach adulthood and become moths, they have only 10 days to produce the next generation. Since moths can only reproduce and lay eggs within stored food items, they must rapidly move onto new food sources during their ten day marathon. So in other words, the Indian meal moth doesn’t just infest stored food items, they also copulate in them.
While adult moths are responsible for spreading infestations to new food items, it is their caterpillar offspring that eat the stored foods. However, the caterpillars and the moths each do their part to thoroughly contaminate as many stored food items as possible. The IMM also infests certain areas of a home that pest control professionals cannot easily access. These areas include wall-voids, subflooring, attic space and chimneys. Infestations are usually noticed after larvae, and their silk webbing, are found within stored foods, but the presence of moths flying around a kitchen or within a pantry should also be taken as a sign that a home may be infested with Indian meal moths.
Have you ever found an inexplicable presence of unrecognizable moths flying around any area of your home?