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Pantry Moths

larva and moth, photo credit, respectively: Tim Gibb, Purdue Entomology, Texas A&M Urban Entomology

Pantry moths lay their eggs on stored food and grains. Finding an adult moth may be a sign that there are infested items somewhere in the home. Adult females can lay hundreds of eggs directly on or near potential food sources, and the damage is done by the larvae (tiny caterpillars). Larvae can chew through plastic bags and thin cardboard, so even unopened packages may become infested.

They attack a wide range of products, including cereal, grains, beans, nuts, flour, dried fruit, birdseed, dry animal food, spices, chocolate, and candies. Indian meal moth is the most common pantry moth, but properly identifying your pest will help you target your efforts. Consider contacting your local Cooperative Extension Service for help identifying a pest.

Mothballs should not be used around food or food preparation areas. Mothballs are only allowed to be used in airtight containers. Gasses build up to kill insects that feed on natural fibers. Those gasses may pose a risk to people or pets if used improperly.

Prevention tips:

Control tips:

If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at npic@ace.orst.edu.

Additional Resources:

Last updated November 16, 2015

Related Topics:

What are pests?

Learn about a pest

Identify a pest

Control a pest

Integrated Pest Management

What are pesticides?

Herbicides

Disinfectants

Fungicides

Insecticides

Natural and Biological Pesticides

Repellents

Rodenticides

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