Moth Control Questions and Answers

Indian Meal Moth Question and Answer


Having a problem with indian meal moths! The problem is in a lady’s kitichen! This is my first encounter with them. They’re in her cabinets and rest of kitichen! I would really appreciate your advice on how to rid my customer’s pretty bad moth problem. Thank You!! Brandon, TN


Indian Meal Moth problems can require some time and good detective work to eradicate, but if they are in the kitchen that is a great place to start. These moths will feed on just about anything we store in our cupboards, and easily can infest multiple packages of foods. Only the larvae feed, and they will be well hidden inside the closed packages, so this will require either the cooperation of the customer or their complete faith in you as you snoop through their cupboards to investigate. Don’t overlook a single package of food product, for these moths eat dried fruit, nuts, grains, processed foods from grain products, baking goods, pet foods including bird and fish food, spices, peppers, chips, breads, and even whole grains like corn, rice, wheat, etc. Every package needs to be opened, including those that look sealed and impervious to the moths, for the larvae easily chew through paper and cardboard and thin plastic wrapping.


Don’t stop with the first infested box of food, because I have seen infestations that were in a dozen different packages. Any infested food should simply be placed in a plastic garbage bag and thrown away. If the customer expresses a strong desire to save the food it can be frozen or heated in the oven to kill the larvae, but it would be the unusual customer indeed who would be content eating all those dead larvae. As you inspect look for holes in the outer packaging, stains on seams and corners of packages, webbing, and fecal material. Even have the customer dump out the contents into a bowl so you can look deeply into the box’s materials.

If the infestation has been there awhile you also need to look beyond the kitchen. These larvae also contentedly feed on dried flower arrangements and other possible food resources that may be in decorative arrangements on tables or walls in other rooms of the house. Pet foods may be stored in closets or the garage, and even a wreath on the front door could have nuts or grains or acorns included in the materials of the wreath. The IMM larvae also are notorious “wanderers”, and typically leave the package of food they infest, wander up to several rooms away, and spin a coccoon somewhere else to pupate. They like to put the coccoon in corners or crevices, so it could be behind or within furniture, in corners of walls, etc. A strong vacuum will remove these, and you may want to include an application of a residual insecticide along possible travel routes the larvae might take.

So, obviously the key is finding the infested materials and eliminating them, but it can take a long time and a good eye to find where these are. Again, look beyond just the kitchen. I found an infestation in a child’s bedroom closet one time, in a bag of nuts the kids would take to the park to feed the squirrels. I found them in dried flowers on tables in a nice clothing shop. Forgotten pet foods in laundry room closets are perfect for them. As a followup I suggest you buy a few Indian Meal Moth pheromone traps, once you have eliminated all the infested packages, and place these traps in several places in the kitchen. The customer can check these daily to see if any adult moths are trapped, and if one or two are it could simply mean a couple of missed pupae. But if you continue to get moths in the traps then it could indicate some missed infested foods and larvae. The customer also should very, very thorougly vacuum in and around the cupboards to remove all possible spilled materials that could be down in crevices.

Mr. Pest Control

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Date: Tuesday, 12. January 2010 15:25
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  1. 1

    I have a 12×12 closed in section to my lanni whish is half grass and ahlf river rock and a 3 ft by 3 foot stoop. . There are doors to both the area and the outside. For years we used this as a dog run for a toy poodle and Bichon. For about four years we had two potted bird of paridise in 15 gallon pots sitting on the river rock. In the past THREE YEARS WE ARE “INFESTED” WITH A SMALL BROWNISH GREY MOTH THAT APPEARS IN MAY AND JUNE. NORMALLY SOME TIME IN JULY IT DISAPPAERS. . NOW THAT WE DON’T HAVE THE DOGS WE WOULD LIKE TO TREAT THE AREA ANK KILL THE EGGS, Larvae and moths but our insect provider says thay don’t know what they are and how to treat the area. What do you suggest?

  2. 2

    Hello Anthony,
    I recommend Masterline Bifenthrin. Masterline is going to be provide a residual which is going to provide a long term control. You should spray around the inside perimeter on the corners of the area and all surfaces. As long as it is left alone to dry, it is safe for contact. It takes about three hours to dry. So, if you would like to use is as a dog run in the future, you are able to. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us again! 🙂

  3. 3

    We have a dreeser that we keep fine wool sweeters in. We keep finding holes in the fine wool sweeters. How can we save the rest off the cloths.

    al & rose ERRO

  4. 4

    Hi Rose Ferro,
    There can be a variety of reasons for the holes in your sweaters including moths and/or beetles. We do recommend a thorough inspection so that you can identify the pest. We usually recommend a combination of traps and insect spray. Traps, however, are baited with a pheromone that is specific to the target and we do not want to recommend the wrong trap. As for the spray, 565 Plus XLO will work for both the beetles and moths, depending on what you have, and as for your clothes, we recommend having them laundered in hot temperatures and stored away for the time being in airtight bags. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact us again.

  5. 5

    How do you exterminate and what do you use to elevate miller moths….coming soon May/June in Colorado….looking for other suggestions than a bucket of water under a bright light outside the home to attract then they fall in the water…..or mixture of kerosine and laundry detergent……is there an effective spray to repulse them from your home/windows/doors..thanks

  6. 6

    Hi Wendy,
    We don’t carry a repellent type of insecticide, but we do have insecticide that will kill moths when they come in contact with the active ingredient. We recommend regularly treating your home with a product called Suspend SC or Cy-Kick CS. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact us again.

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