Indian Meal Moth

Actual Size: 0.3-0.4”

Characteristics: Two-thirds reddish-brown, with a copper luster. Another third of the body is gray.


  • Usually breed in processed food grains especially nuts, cereal, birdseed, dry pet food. Look for webbing and larvae in these areas.
  • In homes, stored product pests attack grains such as nuts, flour, cereal, birdseed, and dry dog food.

Indian Meal Moth Identification

Found in pantries and stored food, this is a common moth. Its body is reddish-brown over two-thirds of its length, with a copper luster. Another third of the body is gray.

Indian Meal Moth Behavior

This moth will go after almost any food source, including grains, flours, and even pet food! They will chew through cardboard and plastic to get to a viable food source. Indian meal moths lay their eggs in the food itself, and larvae will hatch in warm conditions.

Indian meal moths are nocturnal.

Are Indian Meal Moths Dangerous?

The danger from the Indian meal moth is indirect. An Indian meal moth infestation can go for months without being detected if it occurs within a large warehouse. Because these moths are tiny, and their eggs are even tinier, most infestations aren’t noticed until substantial damage has already happened. The presence of tiny white worms, sticky webbing, and fecal droppings on food substances are signs of an infestation.

Indian Meal Moth Control & Prevention

The best way to avoid an infestation is to carefully inspect pantry items.

  • Check each bag for holes.
  • Check the expiration date.
  • Purchase seldom-used items in small batches.
  • Avoid storing grains, etc for a long period of time.
  • Regular cleaning of pantries and storage bins will help to catch infestation signs.

Checking food supplies before or after purchase is really the best way to prevent Indian meal moths from taking over your pantry. These moths lay eggs in warehouses, so if the eggs existed before the food was packaged, they could hatch in your pantry!

If Indian meal moths have taken over your kitchen, it’s best to call professional exterminators. We can give you the best advice for eliminating the current problem, and avoiding future infestations.