How to Get Rid of Indian Meal Moths in Your Home: Identify and Eliminate

Edited by
Inga Cryton
Reading Time: 6 minutes.
Updated: .

Indian meal moths are claimed to be the most common pests that can be found in a pantry or kitchen. Because they feed on grain, cereal, cornmeal, flour, powdered milk, pet food, etc., this type of moths is the most popular resident of most homes.

There are two ways how Indian meal moths can enter your home:

  1. Flying moths in the house can be brought with packed food items that have already been infested. Though product manufacturers try to fight this issue to deliver pest free food; however, there are cases when they don’t succeed.
  2. Another way is bringing food bought from an infested store or supermarket. Immature species are able to crawl around the packages looking for something to feed on.

Indian Meal Moths: What Are They?

Note! This pest is not native for the US, but has spread throughout the territory of the country pretty rapidly.

Indian Meal Moths: What Are They?Here is general information you should know about Indianmeal moths:

  • Lifecycle. The egg development cycle takes from 25 to 135 days. One moth can lay up to 400 eggs in a period of 18 days. Everything in your kitchen that is not sealed or canned is to be infested by this pest. The moth’s life depends on the temperature and outside conditions; however, in summer it takes up to 7 weeks for moths to develop.
  • Eggs. During their lifetime female moths usually lay about 300-500 eggs, which are microscopic.
  • Pupa.  No damage occurs at this stage because the moth is covered with a silken cocoon.
  • Adults. Adult Indian meal moths can be easily recognized even if you are not a professional pest exterminator. The wings present a blend of pale grey and rust bronze and are folded together and held by the body when resting. The Indian meal moths usually live for 6 days, and the function of their life is a reproduction.
  • Meal Moth Larvae. The color of larvae is dirty white, sometimes with pink or green hues. It is quite easy to identify them – they look like worms and have brown heads. Larvae can chew through packed food items and feed on them and may hide among the grains and seeds or in various cracks and crevices. You may find them meters away from infested products as they crawl around the kitchen to find places where to make cocoons.
The Indian meal moths usually live for 6 days, and their life function is reproduction.

Meal Moth Larvae

If you have suddenly found this pest at your kitchen, you will probably want to know more about its habits:

  • Webs. Indian meal moths make many webs in the food items they infest.
  • Day or night? They are mostly nocturnal, attracted to lights, and fly around the place at night.
  • Eggs. Indian meal moth lays its eggs in such products as grains, flour, cereal, seeds, dried food, and also pet food.

3 Ways How to Get Rid of Meal Moths

When you face the problem of kitchen moth infestation, you will need to know how to get rid of Indian meal moth.

You have three choices:

  1. Call a professional exterminator, who will do all the work for you. However, it will cost you quite a sum.
  2. Use do-it-yourself pesticide sprays using all the ingredients you can find in your kitchen, including onion, garlic, hot pepper and soap.

    Warning! When combined, the above mentioned ingredients may cause eye and skin irritation. Make sure you wear rubber gloves when preparing the mixture.
  3. Moth traps Lowes. You can purchase different repellents including glue based pheromone moth traps, glue bait moth traps, sticky glue traps or grain moth traps to catch moths in your kitchen cupboards or other rooms of your home. Most people prefer buying traps from Lowes that have a wide variety of traps and mixtures that will help you to fight these annoying damaging pests. Fast delivery, quality service and low prices are the widely known benefits of this retailer.

Indian Meal Moth Control

Chemical

Before using sprays against Indian meal moth make sure you’ve gone through a whole procedure of identifying the pests and inspecting the food items. Apply chemical insecticides to all the cracks and crevices of the shelves and cupboards to prevent future infestation.

Among the most popular and effective are:

  • Microcare Aerosol,
  • CB-80 Extra Aerosol,
  • 565 PLUS XLO.

Non-chemical

  • Do not rely on pesticides alone! It is not possible to succeed in Indian meal moth elimination without additional efforts. You should practice good storage conditions as well as sanitation:
  • Put all the dry and bulk food into a tight fitting container. In such a way moths won’t be able to crawl inside to feed on the products.
  • Clean cupboards and shelves on a regular basis.
  • Do not buy food in damaged packages. It can be infested, and you will, therefore, bring moths to your house or apartment.
  • Clean used and old containers with soap before putting fresh food there.
  • Do not mix new and old food to avoid new foodstuffs infestation.

Traps

Indian meal moth trapsIndian meal moth traps seem to be a perfect solution to kill these annoying insects. These traps are usually constructed of pheromone impregnated glue strips on cardboard or paper. The pheromones attract male moths and trap them, therefore making mating impossible.

According to moth traps reviews, the most effective are Revenge Pantry Pest Trap and ProPest Pheronet Pantry Pest Trap. They are very easy to set up and use.

Prevention is better than cure, isn’t it?

Now that you have followed all the Indian meal moths control and elimination tips, disposed of infested food items and removed them from your home, you may not be disturbed by flying around annoying pests.

Just remember to follow sanitation rules, and when purchasing products pay attention to their package to prevent your home from an infestation.

You can find further details of Insects Control here.

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I have been working on pest extermination information for a long time and am excited to share this information with you. I also provide product recommendations for my favorite pest extermination products.
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  1. I need somebody to come out and get rid of all the moths in my pantry and kitchen , to get in all the cracks and prevent them coming back etc.
    Please give me a couple of contacts in Hawthorn, Melbourne, Victoria.
    Thank You
    Pls respond via email
    Elizabeth Salter

    • Elizabeth: I share my home with these devils. Some things you can do without putting down toxic pesticides. First empty the pantry and kitchen. I do one area at a time and then keep doors closed. Vacuum all shelves, cracks, undersides, etc. Wash with chlorine bleach solution, mild seems to work. You can add in hot pepper or such to leave as a residual. Then, when returning food, you must go through each food container and toss out any that have moths. Then the clean foods go into plastic bags or boxes. Then, MY BRILLIANT IDEA, I bought those sticky mouse boards that fold into a box. I cut apart and tape one to each cupboard door. What I’ve missed gets stuck on it. Hope this works. New grain stuffs should be frozen for a couple of days to kill any friends that came along.

      • I have had ORKIN in my house to get rid of these and they don’t seem to get them gone, I have a cat and lately she has been getting sick and I’m thinking these critters are the problem? Is this probably correct?

  2. I have fount that a 410 shotgun will rid your home of these pests in no time. I sit in a chair in a dark room and shoot them as the fly in front of the TV.

    • Moths are so small that it would be utterly idiotic to shoot at them with a gun because you would be highly unlikely to ever hit one. Even as a joke, that was lame.

      • BOB dude, seriously get over yourself.

    • I guess they dont realize a .410 shotgun fires a wide burst of tiny shot pellets…but still, I only use ‘retired’ PC monitor screens. 60″ Samsung TVs are too expensive to do this too often

    • Tsk tsk tsk, I just name each one and keep them as pets. Never gets boring. Just running out of names….. They don’t last long.

    • I think they are just upset because they tried your .410 solution and had to replace their television. They should have know that you don’t aim directly at the TV, just a few feet in front of it. Some people, huh?

    • I don’t got a 410. Could I be use my 12 gauge instead? I got one of them.

  3. I puzzled for some months about what these moths were doing flying round my kitchen at night. After some Googling, I identified the problem and was surprised, as I didn’t realise moths liked our kitchens/ food .

    1. Get in some friends to help (essential)
    2. Go out and buy a lot of glass / plastic food containers of various sizes with screw-top lids
    3. Track down source(s) of infestation – mine was an unopened box of porridge. This will be easy to identify; tiny caterpillars and a lot of spun silk clumping the food source – ignore the moths for the moment – and there may be more than one source of course. They particularly like flour and cereals – although any port in a storm. The adults can chew through paper and plastic to lay their eggs, but the hatching and voracious caterpillars make their presence quite evident if you look., even if they are tiny.
    4. Seal and bin all infested foods.
    5. Identify all uninfested foodstuffs, if necessary by sifting flours just to be absolutely sure, and transfer them to the screw-top food containers, and label. Don’t forget these enterprising little creatures can live on dried fruit, chocolate – you name it. To ensure your de-infestation, you need all caterpillar-free food to be either in the fridge or out of it’s original packaging and into moth-proof containers. The tiny caterpillars can get almost anywhere, and they do it while you’re sleeping. But their trace is quite evident and unmistakeable.
    6. Now you’re sure your foodstuffs are uncontaminated and safe, it’s time to hunt down the adults, cocoons, and roaming caterpillars. Vacuum and wash all cupboards and walls, paying especial attention to all cracks and crevices, and junctions between walls and ceilings. If you make sure the place is as free of eggs and caterpillars as humanly possible, and that all your food is in moth-proof containers, you’ve beaten the problem – even if you do see a few desperate moths flitting around for the next couple of weeks. If they can’t lay their eggs on a food source – they’re toast.

    It took a weekend of somewhat exhausting effort, though much enlivened by my friends’ help – but I never saw another Indian Meal moth. Identify the source, cut off the food supply forever, clean up, and they’re gone.

    • Mony thank you for your systemic plan on ridding these horrid insects. I just could not locate the source where the eggs and larvae are.

      • I was very surprised to discover the source of my infestation was an unopened box of porridge – which suggests the source was, in fact, the factory – or the warehouse. Not my house. My (chef) son shouted “It’s a porridge moth!” as he opened the box and peered inside. But I suppose, with his profession, he’s used to this sort of thing. Anyway, find out where the little larvae beasts are hiding, and the problem is solved. He now lives in New Zealand, and I only wish that it were that easy to solve the problem of cockroaches. That involves ripping entire kitchens out, plus men in hasmat suits with insecticides and worse …

        • For prevention for cockroaches, they sell at the agricultural products a chemical in a small tube. It is like cream. You put a dot next to the electrical outlets and every opening in the house. The cockroach eats it and takes it to the nest and they die. That’s what pest control companies use. You should also spray along the walls on the floor to kill the immediate.

    • Fantastic post as you’ve covered all the bases. Vigilance will certainly pay off, no more topping off half full bowls of dry cat food around my flat any more, hello Rubbermaid and Tupperware (does ‘t-ware’ even exist any more or am I jus datin meself? ;P) EVERYTHING is going in large 3 mil garbage bags as I speak, I can’t stand it any more, got home at 2:30 AM, headed for the kitchen for a snack and found about 20 of ’em bastids on the sides of the cupboards… glass cleaner takes ’em out quick, but tomorrow at the same time there will probably be 40. I’m SO done with these pests!! Prepare to starve to death, PESTS!!! 😉

      • I really think it has to be a concerted major assault, like over a weekend, with quite a few people pitching in. Because it’s labour intensive … and boring. But I’ve never seen another one. They can’t get through Tupperware or plastic lids on glass jars, even if they can get through thin plastic on packets of food. And they certainly can’t withstand steam cleaning. Which makes me wonder about those people here who are having upholstery / carpet problems. I doubt this is the Indian Meal moth – much more likely a relative of clothes moths. A problem throughout the house, not just the kitchen, and maybe more difficult to solve. I’m wrestling cat fleas at the moment – in October! If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

    • Thanks for the great suggestions. We have thrown a lot of food out over the last few years because of these annoying pests. I need to work on getting more glass and heavy plastic storage containers. Had some things in boxes with snap-on lids but they crawled thru the crevices. They destroyed my box of Indian spices–some of the hottest spices you could imagine, even infested a bag of cinnamon sticks and some compressed garlic cubes as well. They didn’t seem to care for lentils, which was a blessing.

      We found these moths in an unopened cake mix–the bag inside was still sealed but totally infested. So it does happen like you said. Thanks for the tips, we are getting ready to clean them out once again. And we are also dealing with the roaches. We live in a rural community where roaches live naturally. I can imagine what your son is dealing with in New Zealand! Someone gave us an old, beat up stroller four years ago for our son. The lady had good intentions so how could we say no? She put it in the trunk of our car before I could even say anything. We are only now beginning to see the light of day with that infestation! Having a toddler makes it hard to avoid food in the car as children are always eating or drinking something, and spill things. We resorted to using a little product containing an insect growth regulator and some pesticide and it’s finally helping. It isn’t easy. Now to get them out of the house.

    • I can’t seem to rid them damb moths I been spray boning my house cleaned scrubed got no dry goods n they keep coming back I don’t understand it.n I was told freezing them only makes them dormant

  4. I got tired of spraying these guys and stinking up the pantry with poison, so what I did is I took the hose of my vacuum and sucked them in to the vacuum cleaner. theyre still there but not as many its something i keep doing hopefully one day theyre all gone Hate these SOBs

    • The best thing is as the above post: take everything out that has been opened, throw away wash out all drawers and cupboards with mild bleach water. Go to lowes and buy the pro pest sticky traps and they will adhere to them so fast. Vacuum all cracks hyenas lowes has a moth spray to use in the cracks. I bought containers to put all my grains, cereals, etc in. Hope this helps. Oh, check your dish towels, also. They had laid eggs in the towels, gross. I soaked them in bleach vand vinegar.

  5. It will be 1 year to the day on Sept 06, 2014 that I have been cleaning my fathers home when he passed away. He was a hoarder. I have dealt with these little annoying pests for too long.I toofinally found a major source…A ziplock with peanuts in it that are 6 months old. The larve are the ones that eat through any and all bags and boxes.
    I just want to f****** Scream! As if I dont have enough to contend with already! Grrr.
    Josie

  6. I’ve gotten surprisingly good results using ordinary fly paper to attract and trap Indian meal moths. I bought the last two rolls at my local Walgreens pharmacy, but I think any brand would do. I catch a lot more moths with fly paper than I do flies.

    • Great tip – working amazingly well for me too. Thank you!

  7. I just had this problem first time in my life I have seen such pests in my cupboards. Got real angry at how they got in there, they were in my cooking cereal box and around my dried fruit container which was sealed but some walnuts were just left open for months in the cupboard (no wonder they tasted funny a week ago….) They were all inside my cupboards having a feast. God knows how long they were there.
    I don’t think in future I can trust even sealed jars. Pests have a way of getting inside, I don’t know how, but they can.
    From now on, I will only buy very little food and use it up till I finish it. I will not hoard on store-bought “specials” because saving 1 dollar can make me lose 50 dollars!

    • I think this is the wisest thing to do, after checking the food stored in the cupboards, throwing away all the infested pkts of flour, cerials or whatever you find, then cleaning the cupoards thoroughly.I live in Malta and the humidity is very high especially in summer, I have to put almost every thing in the fridge, flour, cereals, rice, and grains, clean also between the ceiling and the wall of my kitchen . Finally it worked! what a relief.I forgot to mention that in the pkts of pasta I used to find also little tiny black insects, even in sealed pkts ,and even inside the pasta itself never understood if they go in the pasta or come out,.This happens only in summer ,so not to take all the space in the fridge for these foods ,better to buy less and consume it,then buy again .

  8. Here is my story. We got a couple of sofas almost a year ago and since there were stains on them, we unzipped the cushion covers and washed them, and hot steamed what couldn’t be washes in the washing machine. Once everything was dry, they almost looked like new. We were so happy since they were free.

    For years, prior to this, we owned dogs and we had a Lazyboy sofa that outlived our dogs. When we found the replacement sofas, we put them aside knowing that one day, our last sweet pet would be in heaven. That day came and about after a week, we got rid of that old, broken down Lazyboy sofa. Mind you, the material on that sofa could hide just about anything (it was wide woven material, multi-colored and rough feeling, in a way). Underneath that old sofa was and still is our old Wool rug. When the old sofa went out, we vacuumed that rug several times, then heat steam cleaned it. After it dried, we pulled out the newer sofas that we stored inside, in another room (under sheets, etc.) and all seemed good. Or so we thought.

    Several days later, I pulled one of the seat cushions off to see if I should vacuum and to my surprise, I saw a moth larvae crawling on the back of the cushion. YEEK! I trapped it and went to my computer and did a little research online. By husband does not believe that these moth larvae come from anywhere else but from this sofa. He believes that the eggs were in the sofa (for many months?) and when we started using the sofa, they hatched. Personally, I don’t agree…sorry hubby. There’s this big WOOL rug underneath both of the newer sofas.

    Anyway, I keep finding larvae every time I pick up the seat cushions. I’ve looked elsewhere in the house, but really, the material on these sofas make it really easy to see the bugs. The rug is dark grey and very tightly (woven?). It’s hard to see if there is any damage. Besides, we used to have pets and I am still finding a few hairs, now and then, when cleaning up. There are so many places that the larvae could be coming from.

    So, my question is, is it possible that we’ve been living with moths for years and didn’t notice them until now? Or, did they come from these used sofas (and were asleep for a long time before hatching or coming out)? In any case, we continue to vacuum where we can, but this is creeping me out.

    • Please help!!! I had the Indian meal moths in my cupboards. I got rid of them; however, they traveled to my living room. Not only did they travel into my living room, they are in my couches. It’s bad!! Do you think I should just get rid of my couches? I don’t think id be able to clean all the eggs and larvae!! I’m so bummer!

      • Perhaps you can spray your couches (including underneath and in the back) with moth spray and tuck moth balls in between the seams. Moth balls should be effective against the moths.

      • please unload furniture. We have been dealing with these for 2 years and I cant stand it. We think, we think the gas fireplace is source so we r really going to bomb all the way up,to,chimney, keep u posted. Moths and company….
        This affects r dogs, r sleeping patterns, and just GROOOOOOS,
        thank you….

    • You may have to use a bomb. That’s what finally beat them in my mom’s house (in addition to wiping down all the shelves and spraying pesticide in all the corners of the house.)

  9. UPDATE: Upon further research on the larvae, it turns out that it’s quite possible that they can live for up to at least 2 years, eating away at whatever. We pulled the lining off of the bottom of the larger of the two sofas and I gasped. There was a huge, old soda spill the was cleaned up on the cushion side, but managed to drip through all the inner layers to the bottom, waterproof (thank God), liner.

    Once we layed down a huge plastic tarp, we peeled back the liner (removed about 100 staples), we found dozens, if not hundreds of larvae attached to the (now dry) cola puddle. They are capable of eating just about anything that we do (if they can’t find the preferred naturals: wool, feathers, etc.). We grabbed the vacuum, attached an extra tube and the nozel and vacuumed up those larvae. We found more of them scattered all throughout the empty cavity of the sofa and vacuumed up those too.

    Then, we remembered that we had one of those indoor/outdoor bug sprayers (you spray it around the baseboards or outside around the house). We sprayed what we could on the inside of the sofa, taking care to not overspray, avoiding the material that holds the cushions up. Then, we got some duct tape out and taped the liner back in place.

    In a few days, we’ll peel back the liner to assess the result. So far, since spraying and vacuuming the inside, I’ve collected 7 larvae in the past 7 days. I find them under the seat cushions, crawling on the cushion itself.

    Believe me, If this had happened to our old sofa (that had the best type of camouflage for bugs), I would have tossed out the sofa! But, I already did since it was falling apart anyway.

    The “newer” sofas were free from someone who didn’t take the time to clean a spill when it happened. The soda when between two cushions, through the fabric on which the cushions rest, through 1/4″ padding and ended up on the waterproof bottom of the sofa. My sofa(s) are semi-modern and simple to take apart. Clean, straight lines with no puffy arms, if you know what I mean. The larvae are not in the pillows, I whipped the covers off and washed them again…JIC. Also, thank God they are washable.

  10. I read about a natural spray called “Orange Guard Spray”. It is supposed to kill all sorts of pests and can even be sprayed on the actual larve and moths. I’ve noticed that some of their cocoons are at the tops of my walls where they meet the ceiling. Almost any bug spray will kill off the larve when you find them. But I want them gone, so it looks like we will be getting the pest strips as well as sprays.

    • The best to use is listerine yellow mouth wash..pour in spray bottle straight no water then aim and shoot..works great n no poison to breathe.
      i spray cabinets..couches..screens..myself when cutting grass..use the mist..i use the stream spray aim n shoot and bingo got ya..unlike the gun no damage..u can spray inside cabinets too..just rinse before rememer its just mouth wash..the generic brands r just as good good luck…..

  11. Is there any connection between termite fumigation and pantry moths? We have lived in our house for 20 years and never had a pantry moth. Then we tented for termites and all of a sudden we have pantry moths. We cleaned, tossed, washed, sealed, froze, baked, sprayed and trapped the little buggers. They were gone for a while but they came back. Just redid the whole thing again. I think moving might be the only solution.

  12. I discovered by accident that a glass with white wine in it will attract the moths. I left a half glass of wine on the table one night and the next day there were 4 moths in there! I decided to put a glass with a small amount of wine in it on the pantry shelf. Sure enough the first time I checked there were again 4 moths and the second time (today) there were 3 more moths!! Definitely don’t use your best wine though!

    • You left half a glass of perfectly good wine? You deserve everything you get…

  13. Question: would placing cedar wood chips in the cabinet keep them out like in clothes drawers?

  14. We have been dealing with this pantry moth issue for the last 4-5 months and it is absolutely maddening!! I went through the entire closet and found a few areas that they had gotten into. I washed down all of the shelves and put anything opened into either heavy duty containers or freezer bags. The problem seemed to have gone away, then suddenly I started finding moths here and there on the ceiling in the pantry and in the vicinity. I emptied the pantry once again and found no food sources that they seem to have gotten into, but washed down the shelves and got rid of the paper grocery bags that we used to store in that closet, thinking maybe they using those hiding areas…but not sure what they’re eating. Still a problem!! We have used two types of traps. The first one was purchased at Home Depot (first round of exterminating) but was in need of replacing since it was pretty full of moths. I purchased another at a local store. I believe it’s called Safer. Not one moth was caught in it, yet they were flying/walking around that closet. Everytime I open up that closet/pantry I check the ceiling and am ready to flip my lid, when I see any there! I just purchased a steamer, so that’ll be the next step I suppose. So many other things to tend to, but this seems to always take priority. Hopefully can be done once and for all with this issue!

  15. I have these pesty creatures in my living room a few have migrated upstairs. I have rare books (from the 1700’s) and many oil paintings. Can they nest in these? Would they like the glue?

  16. trying to get rid of the Indian meal moths have become a mess of trouble for the feed bins in the barn for the cows are in the billions the house is not being taken overI don’t like chemicals around the cows any suggestions

  17. I’ve been battling Indian Meal moths for 3 years. we had a bad infestation 3 yrs ago and found a source. threw it out… I’ve cleaned out everything in pantry and have cleaned everything thoroughly MANY TIMES (10+ times) Nothing in sight for where they are coming from.Everything they they would want to eat is either in air tight containers, or the freezer. I have found them EVERYWHERE in the house…. Upstairs (in rooms we rarely use) bathrooms, closets… I see them flit around here and there– no infestation. but I know they’re there. I’ve set up moth traps in every single room (and in some rooms I have several traps.) without fail, they get ‘full’ fast. (like within 1-2 weeks) I have no clue as to where they are coming from. I’m wondering if they could be coming from the air vents or carpet? after extensive research, they are in fact Indian Meal moths. (not clothes moths.)
    I keep the house tidy, and vaccum 2-3 times a week… and clean the house thoroughly on a regular basis. Where are they coming from? (Air vents? carpet??)

    • We had the meal moths in the bathroom and they were, in fact, coming in from the ceiling heater that we never used so I vacuumed it and turn on the heater. Haven’t seen any in the pest trap since. Hopefully, they are gone from the inside. We had them on and off for about 6 months or more. Make sure to vacuum everything, the pest control man turned over my couch and help me vacuum the bottom. The moths will hide wherever they can. Recently we’ve seen them on our outside screen door and window screen. All are from the outside!

  18. Years ago I had the Indian Meal Moths hired Orkin, seemed like they didn’t seem to getting them. So I finally just hung up a sticky fly strip in the room with the cat feeder was kept. Solved the problem and was a lot cheaper.
    Recently I’ve seen more. So I got out another sticky fly strip. Also, discovered them flying around my bedroom so I put a piece of wide packaging tape sticky side up on a couple places in the bedroom where I’ve noticed them the most. A day or so later, change the tape. Cheapest method I’ve found and it’s gets them.

  19. My house has had them as long as I can remember and they are literally everywhere. No steps have ever been taken to clean them out and there’s not any one source anymore, they are everywhere in the house, upstairs, downstairs, the larvae and adults in the ceilings, the garage, the bedrooms, the bathrooms, everywhere. What in the world should I do, short of spending a bunch of money for an exterminator?

  20. The moths may be all over the house (because of the large amount of eggs) but the source is in kitchen or garage if you keep dog food in there. Throw away all non perishable food items. Clean, clean, clean all cupboards with mild soap. Use warm water on towel at the end of a broom to wipe away any silken cocoons where wall and ceiling meet.
    Their life span is short so it is a breeding issue, not so much a problem pesticides can solve. Take away the the places they can lay eggs (cerials, grains, flour, dog food, etc.) and you will solve the problem.

  21. I feel like I’m joining a 12-step program. My name is Shari and I have moths!!!
    I have found all your comments therapeutic and your suggestions both helpful (never thought to check the toaster!) and hysterical. I identified with your desperate tone, and laughed out loud at some your solutions—especially those that involved wine and making friends with the enemy☺.
    We have lived in our house 39 years. We’re on a program where the exterior of our house is sprayed every 2 months for cricket and ant issues. This is the first time we’ve been cursed with moths. I spent ALL DAY yesterday emptying the cupboards, tossing food and washing everything. The kitchen counters and the kitchen and dining room tables are heaped with “stuff”. Memories of camping. Our pest service came today to spray kitchen cupboards for the moths, but I’m not feeling so encouraged about victory after reading the posted comments. Our plan for tomorrow is to buy moth traps, which received mixed reviews here. Unfortunately, having lived through 2 major earthquakes and having to live off whatever we had (some of which was quickly defrosting), I do keep a lot of food on hand, which I’m sure the winged intruders appreciate.
    Tomorrow is another day…and I sure hope it’s better than this one!
    P.S. Tupperware still exists. I just bought some on Ebay. Wish I owned stock in the company because after this moth invasion I’m sure I’ll be buying more!
    Keeping my fingers crossed.

  22. Hello, Are they or could they in any way be harmful to pets ? Seems as though i just brought some into my Mother’s home in a bag of dog food i just bought and my dog has been eating this food for probally a week or two. I am freaking out i am caring for my dying Mother and it is 2 days before xmas am i have a lot of questions like do i rush my dog to the vet what do i do about cooking xmas dinner for at least 10 people , i don’t have time to do all this and be ready for the company and pray they don’t take any cootie home with them…..HELP ~ Despirate in Arizona Oh and i bought this large bag of PURINA DOG CHOW LIGHT & HEALTHY #32 FOR ADULT DOGS at smith’s or walmart in bullhead city,az.

  23. I have had them for about a year or so and they came in infested animal food. I can’t seem to get rid of them, the pheromone traps do nothing, there is always one or two flying around and they do eat clothes too. I know that vinegar and soap attract teensy flies but the white wine is a new one on me. I might leave some out and see what happens. They are driving me insane. Not to mention they get into everything.

  24. I’m a bit surprised I am the first to say anything about parrots or birds. Do any of you that can’t seem to find the source or had them just appear one day, do you have parrots or birds as pets?

    I am a parrot owner of 5 and I have to put all parrot food/grain/seed that I get into the freezer the second it comes in my door. I do it to kill the moths/larva that may have hitched a ride from the manufacturer’s facility or even the pet store. I also do it to be sure any that are in my house already can’t get into it either.

    I never, ever have had an issue with moths or meal moths until I owned parrots. The larva just love the seeds and grain. The moths do not eat at all, they only reproduce once they are in moth form. Most of their lifespan and 100% of their food consumption takes place in the larval (worm) state. They’re easier to control once you know what they’re eating and attracted to specifically in your house. I know it’s easier said than done in some cases though.

    One of the easiest ways I get rid of these moths and larva, especially on the ceiling, is a vacuum. I bought a 20 dollar, small, dirt devil at Ross just for the moths. It sucks them right up! No smashing, no guts, no chemicals. I can’t use chemicals around my birds AT ALL, so I’m super limited in how I can deal with these bouts of moths. It’s a skinny little vacuum that breaks down into a handheld, so it’s really easy to raise above my head to the ceiling. I have a bad back and Rheumatoid Arthritis, so if I can lift it up, I think most others would be able to as well.

    Whichever room has the most, I wait until night, turn off the light in the moth room, wait til they all get in a tizzy looking for any shred of light they can find, then I crack open the door just an inch or 2 and turn a light on right outside of the room they’re in. In my case, it’s my bird’s room which is a bedroom at the end of a hallway. I turn the light on in the hallway and then it’s easy for me to vacuum them up when they come out into to the small hall looking for the light, and boy do they come out! They fly out in droves, which is when I grab the vacuum…I use to find satisfaction in smashing them to bits, but it only made a mess to clean up….lol

    I wish you all good luck! I completely understand how insanely aggravating these devilish fiends are! I was never bothered by a moth a day in my life until I met these moths. THESE moths are the bane of my existence!

    • I too got infested with the Indian Meal Moth when i bought sunflower seed for the songbirds outside. I started a war on them, and am still fighting them (with much cursing). I’ve moved the seed outdoors (into metal boxes that squirrels can’t invade), but they have migrated into my kitchen. Removing the infected food, and sealing the clean food in tough containers seems to be working. But just yesterday i found an unexpected hiding spot. A box of slug bait. To the slugs it’s a very effective poison, but the moths just call it “food”. I take some pleasure in swatting them with a hand held bug zapper. (It looks like a squash racket and seems to catch the flitty little blighters better than a vacuum). (Especially rewarding when they go with a loud SNAP).

  25. OH MY GOSH!!! (What I really want to say is… *#%@$!). Last summer I had my first experience with the dreaded pantry moth. I am certain it came in with cylinder bird seed that was completely encased in plastic. I purchased two of the cylinders, and being completely unfamiliar with pantry moths, I stored one of the cylinders in my walk-in pantry. It wasn’t too long before we were seeing moths flying around the kitchen. Neither my husband nor I could figure out where the little buggers were coming from. After some time, I began to see the larvae in the pantry. That was the beginning of my nightmare. My girlfriend and I spent many, many hours cleaning the entire pantry, tossing out quite a bit of dry goods in the process. We thoroughly scrubbed the entire pantry and I spent a substantial sum of money purchasing tupperware. I returned items to the pantry, all of which was in tupperware or large plastic ziplock baggies. I did not place glass items or canned goods into containers. I only returned items that were sealed and unopened to the pantry. I also placed some of the pantry moth traps in the pantry. I believed it was “problem solved.” And, just for my own edification, I did place the unopened cylinder bird seed into a large ziplock baggie. I placed it outside – far away from my home. Within 24 hours there were larvae moving about inside the baggie – GROSS!! Much to my dismay, a couple of days ago I again observed a pantry moth in my pantry. After a day of diligent investigation I was horrified to find a complete infestation had occurred again! The eggs/larvae had been in such small places and had simply gone dormant over the winter!! (Had no idea they can lay dormant up to 305 days depending on temperature!) With the weather warming up, the eggs became larvae and nightmare #2 began! This was the most disgusting task I have ever encountered. So, a word to those of you encountering the pantry moths for the first time — they will be found in the most unbelievable places, so save yourself the trouble and simply toss most of your pantry out. They eat through cardboard, paper AND plastic!!!! Protein bars that were individually wrapped and stored in ziplock baggies – yup – found a larvae in there. Tossed them all. Opened a jar of jalapeño stuffed olives and for the love of mike – the larvae were around the entire rim of the jar. They had somehow got through the plastic seal around the lid and hatched under the lip of the jar lid. After checking a few glass items — tossed them all! If you suffer an infestation – look EVERYWHERE until your eyes are popping out of your head from the strain. You can find them in the pages of a recipe book, inside completely sealed, unopened items. A sealed bottle of Real Lemon lemon juice – yup – when I removed the plastic exterior seal and unscrewed the top – YIKES – there were larvae there too! SO GROSS!!!! I have spent the last five days throwing out items and removing them to the actual dump; vacuuming; scrubbing; sanitizing ALL items (glass canning jars/seals), small appliances, etc; and spraying thoroughly with Aunt Norma’s Pantry Moth Spray! I pray I have now won the war. And it is war. Note to self – NO bird food in the house. All is kept outdoors now in containers. Never will I purchase a cylinder bird seed again. Furthermore, when I am at the market I will inspect all items prior to purchase. Any dry goods such as flour, oatmeal etc., I open immediately and inspect, then into tupperware it goes. Good luck to anyone encountering this horrific experience. Prepare yourself for a physically and emotionally draining experience as you rid yourself of the disgusting creatures! It is truly maddening!

  26. I had the most embarrassing thanksgiving dinner a few years ago. My guests were all looking up at the ceiling as droves of larvae were hatching and crawling in the upper corners of my ceiling. I personally was so grossed out. I had to immediately grab my vacuum cleaner and start sucking those suckers up. There had to be at least 50-80 crawling that evening. The next day, I tried to check the cupboard and couldn’t physically find the source. However, many Indian moths were inside. I cleaned it and dumped out all the grains, oatmeal, dried noodles, pasta, seeds, etc. For the next week, a few moths would appear here and there in my kitchen and the ceiling had a few more larvae. I was going nuts for the entire week. On the second week, I found the moths were hiding in bet a small hole behind the cupboard. My housekeeper helped me close it up with a towel. The following days, I saw less moths. A year later, all the moths were gone. From what I learned, never keep food stored in your cupboard more than 6 months. Whatever you haven’t eaten in 3-4 months, toss it! Occasionally I see a moth flying in my kitchen and that’s when I start tossing out all the items in my cupboard.
    Good luck. I doubt ill ever have any guests come over for a thanksgiving meal again.

  27. Our encounter with these pests has been ongoing for over 3 years. There are NO moths anywhere near the kitchen – None — never seen any, none ever trapped to a glue strip. It has been meticulously cleaned and inspected head to toe.

    These tricky moths are in a large see-through fireplace in our game room. A few stragglers are seen in the game room where glue traps have been set. Easily in the hundreds per week are being caught on these glue traps, then a couple a days, nothing. Four or 5 days later and they are back in the hundreds again.

    The fireplace separates the game room from the main living room and glue traps in the living room catch only a couple over a week or so. They HAVE to be coming from somewhere in the game room. I’ve never seen a larvae crawling around anywhere and there are no spun webs anywhere in sight, using a good strong flashlight and probe.

    Our annual inspection from are the pest control service looked baffled as well. He went room to room looking for nests, webs, worms – found nothing. Gave me a couple of cans of stuff called CB-80 insecticide/fogger. Said to wait till night when they are active and spray in, up, around all areas of the fireplace, then seal it tight with plastic and tape (strong odor). Seemed to think that would take care of the problem, BUT, it doesn’t answer where are these things coming from? Surely there is no food source in a brick wood burning fireplace that’s been converted to gas logs. I’ve even tried lighting the fireplace at full blast for an hour very high temps, and didn’t do a thing.

    Short of throwing away every stick of furniture in the game room, I have no other ideas. The food source is NOT in the kitchen which is quite literally on the other end of the house. These pesky critters seem to be localized somewhere in the game room with easy access to the living room, but none are ever seen or found there.

    Going nuts with this………..

    • WOW! Finally, someone with a situation like mine! I have traps everywhere, yet the only place we see them is near the fireplace! There is NO food source for them nearby, but they ARE indian meal moths, not clothes moths. We rarely see any flying, but the traps near the fireplace are always teeming with them. We cannot figure out what they are eating! NONE in the pantry… NONE in the rabbit food. Now, I will inspect the fireplace more thoroughly! We are BAFFLED!! We also have clothes moths in the master bedroom, but we can readily see the difference between these and indian meal moths. Good luck to everyone… this is maddening!

      • I am having the same issue. They are infesting the fireplace. We lit a fire and were rid of them for around 24 hours and now they are back.

  28. How are the meal moths getting into our food to begin with? I recently moved from Houston up to Michigan to a lease house and they have taken over the cabinets in our kitchen. Today I forced myself to throw everything in the cabinets away Everthing even items that are in jars. Not sure if I want to buy dry food of any kind again!! I guess this is better than living with roaches like we have in Texas. The worms are what make my stomach turn!! We are building a new house and don’t want them tagging along. How can I make sure ? I can’t throw Everthing I own away!!! Since I have lived in Michigan I have thrown more food away even bread molds quickly and vegetables rot in the refrigerator!!

  29. I have dealt with these disgusting things for 2 years now. I have a bird amd had found the worms on his cage back when this first started so we were told to switch to the food that is not the bird seed mixture but the colored pellets. We bleached his cage amd even got rid of it and bought another cage. I cleaned out my pantry and checked everywhere foe the source as an exterminator told me I had to do. Found a gross nest in my daughters bag in her closet where there was a Swedish fish. Got rid of it but still 2 years later they’re here. We use the traps. When this started we had just put air stone on our wall near the bird cage and wonder if these came in the air stone or if they live in the cracks. I have vacuumed the walls but still here. We have a 2 story family room so I guess we will need to get a 18 ft ladder and vacuum the corner of the wall and ceiling next. This is literally making me insane. I want to run away from home. Not sure what else to try.

  30. I first found the buggers in the bird seed in an outside closet. Then I remembered I kept a small bag in my broom closet near the kitchen. Of course I threw all the seed out and promptly went to the hardware store to get the pheromone traps. I put one in the outside closet, and it trapped maybe 20 moths over 2 months. I also set up two traps in my den on the mantle just in case. I have had no infestation in my kitchen or pantry. HOWEVER, the traps over the fireplace are loaded. I too have a gas fireplace with large glass doors. Recently I shined a flashlight in there and saw several moths crawling into the lava rocks. I read just this afternoon that these traps can actually lure the moths from outside! The males will fly down your chimney in search of that scent, and the females will follow. So today we got a fogger. We TURNED OFF THE GAS to the logs (very important), taped up all around to seal off, except for one door to turn on the fogger, then quickly taped up that door and let it do its job. I am going to remove the traps in the den for a few days and see if there is any change. I am crossing my fingers and being hopeful that this eliminates the problem.

    • This is a follow up to my post above. We have kept the fireplace sealed up from the inside. Additionally, I REMOVED BOTH TRAPS FROM THE ROOM. We have not seen one moth since! And believe me, I have become an expert in seeing these things at night especially. I believe the pheromone traps were luring the moths from outside, down through the chimney flue! As a precaution, just in case any moth has laid eggs, I am cleaning every nook and cranny thoroughly, being sure to vacuum around all areas where the wall meets the floor, corners, crevices, underneath the furniture. All my kitchen has been thoroughly cleaned and all grains/carbs are in the freezer.
      So, use the traps with caution. That pheromone is strong enough to draw them from outside into your house!

  31. Ellen,

    What type/kind of Fogger did you use? We still have these critters everywhere in the fireplace and now coming seemingly out of the walls from nowhere. I’m getting between 50 to 75 moths per DAY in the fireplace and 4 or 5 a day on the traps around the sealed fireplace.

    Short of burning the house down – I’m just going nuts trying to figure where they are coming from. There has to be a food source for them somewhere, but one has never been found. I’ve spoken with neighbors on either side of me and they have none, nor do they have any outdoor pets or birds or feeders with birdseed nor any foodstuff stored outside. Still to this day, there has never been one seen in the kitchen or food stuffs in the pantry. And have never seen a larvae crawling around anywhere.

    Interesting about removing the traps…. I may try that next, but am getting them every night especially if there is no wind outside which has been the cast for a week or so.

    This is crazy……..

  32. JAY,
    We used Raid brand 1.5 oz. fogger. Set the can on a small board atop the grate. We used painter’s tape to seal up the glass doors and frame. Obviously you will have to leave one door untaped, but once you set the fogger, have the tape ready, it shouldn’t take more than a few seconds to finish sealing. Then, leave everything sealed up for a while. We are going to leave it for a month or so.
    We had as many moths as you do, so good luck. I’m hoping this will be the cure.

  33. Thanks for the info. Will give that a try. Now they are more than 10 a night (and in day too) coming from one room adjacent to the fireplace. Glue traps in fireplace capture on average 20-25 a night. I counted over 250 on a glue trap for just over a week. The activity is picking up in the adjacent room and some of these things don’t seem to have an interest in the pheromone. Just fly right by it now and are seeing a few make their way into other rooms in the house including the kitchen. I’ve read that ONLY the males will be attracted to the pheromone traps. I hope the ones ignoring them are NOT females. Wonder how one can tell the difference.

    Thanks for the info — will report back.

  34. Ellen,

    It’s been about a week now since I bug bombed the fireplace and have removed all traps except one. There are still a few flying around but nothing like before. I think your idea was a very good one. I have a couple of more foggers which I may use in the game room adjacent to the fireplace, and one in the attic over the gameroom. As the weather is getting cooler that too may have some effect on the numbers, as has been the pattern over the last couple of years. In the winter none are seen. When it warms up into the 80’s and above seems the ideal temperature. Hopefully this will hold them at bay.

    Thanks for the tip. No doubt had some positive effect. Have you seen any since you fogged and removed the traps?

    • Jay,
      We left for a three-week trip. Upon our return, there are no moths to be seen. We cleaned out both fireplaces by removing the logs and hosing them down, and completely replacing the lava rocks and rock wool. You are correct about it being colder having an effect on their appearance. Vigilance will be the key in the spring. I plan to turn off the gas to the logs in March so the flame/fumes won’t attract them as the weather warms, if that theory is true. Needless to say, I’m still keeping an eye on the pantry, just in case.

    • How are your moths this year? We are going on year 8 with them. Fireplace has been a major source but they are all over except pantry. Exterminators are stumped. We removed all of our traps and the moths are not as numerous this year but we still have plenty.

      • To JPH: We have not had any moths since bombing the fireplace. It has been a year since the treatment. Some things I’ve done to keep the possibility of infestation down are:
        1) I no longer put birdseed out in the feeders. I was thinking that the birds were carrying the seed up to my chimney cap to feed, leaving behind bits of seed. Also, birdseed attracts mice and squirrels who then get inside your house to overwinter, and they bring seeds with them.
        2) Any grains like flour, rice, oats, etc. that I buy goes into the freezer for 24 hours. This kills everything. Then I store it in glass containers.
        3) Dry pet food is purchased in smaller bags. I take a new bag outside to put it into an airtight container. While transferring, I watch for any infestation. If I see anything I will dispose of the food. Also, immediately throw out the bag it came in.
        Hope this helps.

  35. I like to get the worms and put them on a foil plate and I fry their A.. with a long handed lighter:-) They last for 2 secs if that long…quick wiggle and their fried…I just can’t find the nest…I really don’t want to find it. I think its behind the cabinets…

  36. My dry dog food sits out. Is my dog eating the moths / larva?
    If so does anyone know if they are harmful? My dog does throw up sometime and runny stools.

  37. I have had these buggers for the past 6 months. I think I bought them in with some rice. Well they won’t disappear. I have had several exterminations and now I have taken EVERYTHING out of the cabinets that is not in a bottle (like vinegar) or a can. Well I came home today to find they have made their way into my baby’s toy box. ERGH!!!!!! Any suggestions?

  38. Is it safe to put cleaning cloths in the washer and dryer? Will the eggs get into the dryer exhaust system and hatch there? I washed some cloths and saw what I think are eggs on the dryer lint trap after going through the dryer cycle.

  39. Finally, they are gone.. Been over a year now without a single sighting. I do believe that loading the house up with traps, actually lures these pesky flyers in wherever you have an opening (Chimney, doors, windows, attic). One the fireplaces was ‘gassed’ with insecticide and then removing the traps, within a few weeks or so and nothing since. Still holding my breath.

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