Your home may have Indian meal moths, which are problematic as they have a habit of infesting stored products. Even though Indian meal moths are not parasite/disease carriers, they can cause a lot of harm. How to Get Rid Of Indian Meal Moths: A Step By Step Guide
These pests attack and destroy cereal products, dried fruits, nuts, dried milk, whole grains, etc. They encourage mold growth, leave behind feces and webbing in pantry goods, and when they infest food, the flavor changes. Hence, you will find yourself having to throw away infested products, which can be costly if a lot is involved.
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If in a situation where you are dealing with an infestation, then you may be asking yourself how to get rid of Indian meal moths. Always remember, if there is no appropriate prevention and control, your infestations may go on for a long time. The result is more damages.
And you do not have to use a professional pest control and prevention service. It is your DIY efforts that matter most rather than insecticides in eliminating moths.
Consequently, below is a process of getting rid of the destructive pests from your home.
1. Identification of the Moths in Your Food
You can do effective control and prevention once appropriate identification of the pesky flying insects you are dealing with at home. Make sure that the infestation is by Indian meal moths, not other pantry pests such as weevils.
For evidence that the infestation is courtesy of Indian meal moth, below are a few compelling signs.
- White wormlike pests having brown heads (larva).
- Finding of sticky webbing or zigzag movement pattern on product/package. The Indian meal moths mainly fly at night in your home because they are attracted to lights, just like their other kinds.
- Infested foods are clumpy, a common result as the larva is webbed together with silk strands.
- Cast skins and fecal droppings in and around your food.
2. Remove Foods from Your Pantry
You must remove food from anywhere it is stored, such as in the kitchen cupboards and pantries.
After doing that, then examine potential signs of the pest infestation in most likely pupation sites like pantry walls, shelving cracks and crevices, ceilings, and around the floor.
Moreover, you can also find Indian meal moths in cracks behind appliances and wall picture frames.
You must appropriately seal any holes and crevices that may harbor the pests.
3. Inspect Food Package
Ensure that you inspect your food package at home and in the store for potential Indian meal moth signs like webbing and worms.
Yes, always avoid purchasing damaged/broken packages as you may be transferring the pests to your home or increase the infestation chance.
When inspecting the food package, here is where to focus your attention.
- Bagged or boxed cat and dog foods.
- Food packages with damages, including tears and holes.
- Foods in loosely/thin sealed wrapping.
- Foods that have been on the shelves for the duration.
Once successful in finding any evidence of the pest presence in the food, then treating or discarding it outside the home is the next reasonable course of action.
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4. Treat or Dispose of Infested Foods
After the identification of foods infested in your home, you can rely on two treatment methods, cold or heat, for killing all present larvae or eggs.
To start the treatment of food, place and spread it out in a layer that is thin.
When using the freezing treatment option, place the food into your freezer for at least three days.
Make certain you subject the items to interchanging cold and warm temperatures. You can place the food in your freezer for about two days. After this, you take out and leave it under room temperature for two days. Subsequently, for another two days, you take it back in the freezer.
For heat treatment, you place the food in your oven for one hour and two hours at 140 degrees F and 120 degrees F, respectively. To ensure full heat penetration and prevention of burning, stir the food in the oven.
An alternative way is that you can choose to microwave your food for about five minutes.
To succeed in exterminating moths that may be outside of foods like dried fruits, employ the use of the cheesecloth bag, which is submerged in boiling water, about ten seconds.
Once food has been treated, it is thus safe for consumption, free from any insect fragments. Then again, you can use the food for bird feeding.
Nevertheless, if the food is of small quantity, you can discard it.
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5. Clean The Pantry
You must thoroughly vacuum all pantry surfaces, including the floor and shelves, and even cracks and corners.
The vacuum cleaning must also be extended to cooking and food storage areas around the pantry and in your kitchen. Some of these possible infestation areas include the kitchen floors, cabinets, counter-tops, and behind and under kitchen appliances like the refrigerator and stove.
6. Keep Foods Sealed
It is always an essential recommendation that you seal all foods to safeguard against possible re-infestation. Apart from storing food in containers that are tightly wrapped, with some excellent storage options, including the freezer and the refrigerator, essential for guaranteeing, there was total pests’ elimination.
For containers you use for food storage, confirm they are insect-resistant like metal containers having tightly fitted lids, or thick plastic.
Likewise, always purchase food in small quantities when possible. And when the food bought in excess, you can utilize the freezer or refrigerator for proper storage.
To prevent any potential infestation, store food in areas kept clean and not exposed to loose foods or crumbs. Get rid of any spills as soon as possible.
Moreover, see to it that the storage location of pet foods does not come in close contact with human food. For instance, storing your bird and animal food can be done in basements or other buildings, away from the house.
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How to Get Rid of Indian Meal Moths
Generally, below are the ways for controlling flying pesky insects at home.
As the name suggests, even though it does not involve the use of chemicals, it can still be effective.
However, for non-chemical control to work, it requires a lot of effort from your part.
Some of the non-chemical control methods include:
- Storing dry and bulk foods, especially those packed in cardboard boxes or paper, in tight-fitting containers.
- Regularly cleaning pantry shelves. That is vital for discarding food bits that may attract and act as a perfect living environment for pests.
- Avoiding the purchasing of damaged/broken packages as there is a high chance of attracting pest infestation.
- Avoid mixing old and new foodstuffs to prevent the possibility of worsening or spreading the infestation.
- You must thoroughly clean old containers to get rid of an infestation.
Purchasing traps presents one of the best ways, simple and effective, in the elimination of pests in your pantries, kitchen, food processing plants, warehouses, etc.
This method of controlling Indian meal moths often involves spraying cracks and crevices next to your shelving and pantry perimeter.
Chemical control can be effective in the prevention of future food packages infestation.
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Professional Prevention and Control for Indian meal moths
Now, while at the start we did agree that you can get rid of Indian meal moths on your own, ideally, that should not be the case. There are many reasons why you may need to use the service of professional help.
For example, if you are encountering an ongoing, large pest infestation, then you need professional help. Moreover, in some situations, only a certified expert may be authorized in product usage for controlling your Indian meal moths.
A professional help understands that insecticides and other chemical control options must never be used near or come into contact with foods. And that spraying emptied areas can do little when not perfectly cleaned out.
Understand that if using an insecticide, only use a product having a label permitting treatment of crack and crevices, around food areas. As well, conduct the application as per directions, which you must carefully read, understand, and follow.
There are traps for Indian meal moths. However, admittedly, traps are only helpful in the identification of an infestation area. They cannot assist with controlling and eliminating pests that have invaded your home.
That is because, as per the Colorado State University Extension Service, traps are only useful in capturing males and maybe only a few of this pesky flying insect.
With proper prevention, you will not find yourself seeking how to get rid of Indian meal moths.