It’s not a very pleasant surprise to walk into your kitchen to prepare your meal only to find that small pests have contaminated your groceries. Meal moths in particular have a sneaky way of entering your home in the rice, grains, and cereals that you buy at the store. This common household pest feeds on stored food products, so it’s important to recognize them and understand the treatment methods available before they further infest your kitchen and home.
An Introduction to Meal Moths
The Plodia interpunctella, or Indianmeal moth, is a low-maintenance insect that has the ability to survive in a range of climates around the world. Specifically, the meal moth thrives in stored products and food storage facilities, but it can easily survive outdoors in Florida as well thanks to the state’s warm climate. Meal moth larvae are general feeders, so they happily feed on everything from grain products and seeds to dried fruit, spices, and dog food.
You can recognize adult meal moths from their reddish brown forewings and small size; the average adult is less than 13 mm long. Though adults can fly, their movement tends to look more like a fluttering instead. Since just one female can lay up to 400 eggs after mating, early and strategic pest control is necessary to prevent an unwanted infestation.
What Damage Can Meal Moths Cause?
Meal moths like to eat packaged foods, but due to their size, they don’t actually eat much at all. The damage that they cause is more a result of spinning massive amounts of silk that collect cast skins, egg shells, and fecal pellets. Food with this silk in it is not safe for consumption and must be thrown away. For this reason, not just homeowners but managers of food processing plants, warehouses, groceries, and granaries must stay alert for signs of infestation.
Handling Your Meal Moth Infestation
If you unknowingly bring home infested food from the grocery store, it will eventually become evident in your kitchen. Your first step is to throw away all contaminated food. It is important to remove everything that could possibly contain meal moths in order to stunt the infestation. Then, move all other items that are at risk of becoming infested into durable and sealed containers. Check all stored food products for “white worms” and webbing, both of which are tell-tale signs of meal moths.
Get Professional Help
It isn’t always possible to eliminate your meal moth infestation alone. If simple removal and storage does not work, call Green Solutions Lawn Care & Pest Control in Tampa, Florida. Green Solutions is committed to helping customers rid their home of pests using safe and noninvasive solutions, so call (813) 684-7336 to learn more.