Adult Indianmeal moths are flying insects with a wing spread of 16 to 20 mm. The top half of the wings near its head is gray or tan coloured, and the lower half is reddish, copper-brown. The larvae is 9 to 19 mm long and have a dirty white, pinkish, or brownish colour depending on the food which it is consuming. The larvae have 5 pairs of legs and a brown head.
The adult Indianmeal moth causes no damage, whereas the larvae feed on grains, flours, cereals, nuts, sugar, dog food, and many other stored products which may be in a kitchen’s cupboards or pantry. The larvae are particularly attracted to dried fruits and coarser flours and grains. Larvae will create silk webbing in the foods in which they are infesting, and wander about in the home looking for sites in which to pupate into adult moths. The adult moth will lay 100 to 400 eggs at night in food material. After hatching the larvae will live for 13 to 200 days until it pupates into a mature adult moth.
Sanitation is the best prevention for the Indianmeal moth. Cupboards, pantries, and food storage and handling areas should be kept clean and vacuumed regularly and spills should be removed quickly. Store food products in containers with tight-fitting lids, made of glass, metal or plastic. To kill off any insects in imported dry food products, freeze them in a household freezer for at least a week before transferring the products to the cupboards.
Since these insects live in food and food preparation areas, a pest professional will assist you in determining which treatments will be effective and safe to control this pest.