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Indian Meal Moth
The Indian Meal Moth is the most troublesome of the moths infesting stored food products. These insects are nocturnal, flying at night. In daytime, they just rest at dark places. The caterpillars can seriously damage food items while the adult moths become annoying as they fly around the home.
It is a small insect, about 3/8 inch long with a wing span of about 5/8 inch. The body color is dirty gray. Its wing marking pattern makes it easily distinguishable from other household moths. In the caterpillar stage, it has usually cream color and a dark brown head. The insects mostly infect coarsely ground grains and cereal products. They can also infest pet foods such as dried dog food, bird seed and flaked fish food.
Female moths lay tiny eggs on or near the food items. The newly hatched larvae seek out foods and begin developing. While they feed, they produce a kind of material which losely sticks to food fragments. The larvae can chew through plastic bags and thin cardboard. In the large containers, the infection is mainly on the surface. However, if the container is small, the larvae can burrow deep.
How to Prevent Damage
- The first step is to identify the source of infestation. The presence of some webbing is usually the most effective way to determine which items are infested.
- Infested material should be immediately discarded or treated. Treatments involve using heat or cold to exterminate larvae and eggs.
- Cold treatment requires putting infested items in deep freeze for at least a couple days. Its effectiveness can be improved by alternating freezing treatments with rewarming to room temperatures.
- High temperature treatments involve heating at around 120 to 140 degrees F for more than 20 minutes.
- Call professionals if things go beyond your control.
We emphasize on using green methods to exterminate Indian Meal Moth that are both very effective as well as environment friendly.
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