Indian Meal Moth

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Plodia interpunctella
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1/2" - 5/8"

Easily one of the worst pantry pests you could deal with, the Indian meal moths are notorious for ruining all kinds of grocery hauls.

Threat Level
Nuisance Score


The Indian meal moth measures about half an inch long and they’re easy to spot with their light brown coloring. With a wingspan of about one inch, these moths may be small, but they pack a punch in terms of the damage they can do to food products.

You’ll know that you’ve stumbled across these moths if you open a package of dried food goods and see silicon thread and molted skins from the larvae.


Pantry moths are notorious for their diverse diet, from grains to cereals, and nuts to seeds, Indian meal moths aren't picky eaters. Their life begins when they lay their eggs in or near these food products, the very same ones you might find in your pantry. 

As the Indian meal moth life cycle progresses, these larvae hatch and begin to feed on the food around them. And boy, do they eat (for now at least)! They tunnel through food products, causing damage and leaving behind frass (insect droppings) and layers upon layers of silicon thread. This thread eventually becomes sheets which act as a protective layer of insulation from predators. 

Adult meal moths actually do not eat, it is only during the larval stages that the moths consume any sort of food. Once fully grown, females can lay as many as 200 - 400 eggs in roughly 2 weeks time.


Indian meal moths are found all over the world, but they're particularly fond of warm, humid climates, which are perfect for their development. But don't think that they only stick to your pantry; these moths can comfortably set up shop in businesses, homes, and even outdoors.

Human Interaction

Though small, Indian meal moths can cause significant problems for humans. From contaminating food products that can potentially lead to food poisoning to causing property damage by destroying food, these moths can be a significant headache.

Be wary of the environment that you store foods as well as where you’re purchasing them from.


How can I get rid of Indian meal moths?
How do Indian meal moths get into my home?
How do I identify an Indian meal moth?

Pest Control

In the face of a serious Indian meal moth infestation, it's best to bring in the big guns - a professional pest control company. Their experience and expertise can help handle your moth problem quickly and effectively.

Here's how you can prevent these pantry invaders from setting up camp:

  • Keep your pantry clean and clear of open or easy-access dried food products
  • Regular vacuuming and dusting can help prevent an infestation
  • Store food products in airtight containers to make them inaccessible to moths; bear in mind that the larvae are incredibly tiny and can fit in through small openings in these containers.
  • Using mothballs or other moth repellents can deter these pests

I hope this gives you a good understanding of the Indian meal moth lifecycle and how to prevent an infestation.

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