Sometimes known as the Indian Meal Moth, the Pantry Moth is thought to be the most problematic of all the moths infiltrating and damaging any stored products in Australia. Attacking any dried products, such as cereals, nuts, dried milk, bird seed, pet foods, dried fruits and whole grains. Their larvae tend to spin silken threads which enclose the food products with the webbing. You may often notice the tiny moths zig zagging as they fly around the infested pantries.
Features of the Pantry Moth
The Adult moth with a wingspan of around 5/8 inches, is a pale grey colour with a coppery or reddish brown shading on their outer wings. The larvae of the moth, fully grown at ½ inch, are an off white colour with brown heads. These larvae are very active.
The adult female moth will lay around 300 eggs usually near to or one food items and within 2 weeks, the larvae begin to hatch and feed, spinning silken threads around the infested food products. Feeding for up to 2 weeks, the larvae then spin cocoons in chosen pupation sites such as on ceilings, pantry walls and in crevices and cracks. The adult moths emerge from these cocoons after 30 days, with their entire life cycle taking only 4-6 weeks to complete.
Eliminating Pantry Moths
- Check food purchases for infestations
- Store any vulnerable food items in a container or a dry place
- Throw away or freeze for 1 week any infested food products
- Clean up food spillages immediately, especially in areas around crevices or cracks
- Use Pest Traps placed near to infected food products, which contain a powerful attractant.
- Use Diatomaceous Earth, food-grade, which is Non-toxic and which will damage the insect’s thorax as it crawls around the surface over the fine powder.
- Vacuuming will pick up any hidden pantry moths, but to prevent re-infestation, ensure that you empty the vacuum cleaner each time.
It can take up to 3-4 weeks for elimination of pantry moths, once they complete their life stages.