Indian Meal Moth – Control

Q: My family has always enjoyed our bird feeders. We keep the bird seed in the garage in some large Rubbermaid containers. We have a major moth problem in our kitchen. How can I get rid of all the moths currently and prevent them from coming back?

A: Indian Meal Moth is a common pest of stored seed and cereal. It doesn’t take long for just a few hitchhikers to develop into a major problem.

If you suspect meal moths may also be in the garage, remove the seed, store it in plastic bags inside your plastic containers and use it as soon as possible.

Here are control steps indoors:

• Immediately empty your food cabinets or pantry and clean every surface.

• Seal cracks and crevices with caulk (moths lay their eggs in cracks). Examine and wipe clean all cans and glass jars before putting them back in storage (look especially at the crack between the lid and the jar).

• Place any boxed food into re-sealable plastic bags before putting them away. Cereal, grits, raisins, soup mix, oatmeal….everything!

• Every week for a month, check all of the plastic bags and discard any that have moths fluttering inside.

• To monitor your control, purchase a “Pantry Pest Trap” from a garden center or hardware store and hang it in your biggest cabinet and in your garage.

• When you go two weeks without seeing or trapping any moths, the pests are gone for good.

Indian meal moth

Indian meal moth image courtesy of Gary Alpert. Note that a moth is only 1/4" long.

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