Stored product pests, or “pantry pests,” are insect pests that infest foods stored within homes, grocery stores and food warehouses. Some pantry pest species invade warehouses and infest stored foods before they are packaged and delivered to grocery stores, while other pantry pest species are more notable for infesting foods stored within homes. Some of the most common pantry pest species that infest stored foods within homes include indianmeal moths, flour beetles, drugstore beetles and sawtoothed grain beetles. In addition to invading food packages and feeding on the contents, pantry pests lay eggs within food packages in order to provide their larval offspring with adequate sustenance upon hatching. Most pantry pests are moth and beetle species, and their larval offspring, which are commonly referred to as caterpillars and grubs, respectively, are responsible for infesting and contaminating stored foods. Most caterpillar and grub pantry pests mature slowly and over relatively long periods of time, so repeatedly spotting the same insect pests within a home is often a sign that a pantry pest infestation has been established.
The indian meal moth is one of the most common indoor insect pests, as homeowners frequently send specimens to extension offices for identification. The adult moths have tan and copper colored wings, and although they are nocturnal, they can often be seen flying around homes during the daytime. When indian meal moths are spotted flying around homes, it is likely that females have already deposited eggs within food packages. Full grown caterpillar larvae are cream colored and around 13 mm in length, and they are known for infesting a variety of grain products, dried fruits, nuts, chocolate, powdered milk, bird seed, and dog food. Once the larvae reach maturity, they leave the food source where they developed in order to search for a proper place to pupate. During this stage larvae are frequently found on ceilings, walls, tables and countertops. In order to eliminate infestations, all infested food products must be located and discarded. In some infestation cases, removing all infested food items is sufficient for elimination, but heavier infestations require a minimal application of insecticide.
Have you ever found several moths in your home?