Indian Meal Moths


  #1  
Old 05-19-04, 06:21 AM
TimG123
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Indian Meal Moths

I moved into a house last year that has Indian meal moths in the kitchen and unfinished basement. We have cleaned and cleaned to no avail, the pest control company gives us traps that catch 3-4 moths a day but don't help to stop the flow.

I'm sick of looking at the traps and chasing moths everyday, is there any way to truly rid a houe of these? It is virtually impossible for us to determine where they are coming from, especially in a large unfinished basement. We though we'd found the source inside a kitchen pantry so recently I caulked, painted, bug sprayed, washed and bought new shelves for the pantry. The seem to be gone from the pantry but not everywhere else. We keep most of our food in coolers to protect it!
 
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Old 05-19-04, 06:15 PM
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Hi Tim, ya, they definitely are a pesky little insect. Are you 100% sure that they are Indian Meal moths and not another kind of small moth? The traps that the pest control guys gave you - were they pheremone traps? If they were, and you had a few of them around the house, you should be able to pin point their location.

Indian Meal Moths don't usually stray too far from their food source, only when larvae are looking for to pupate. A thorough inspection (with a flashlight) is always a good start. Check the entire house inside out. It sounds like you are doing the right things in cleaning food storage areas. In most cases, you should be able to find their food source. This may be things like cereal, nuts, flour, meal of any kind, dried fruits, pet food, dried flowers etc. It is always around dry goods. Like you said, keeping foods in plastic containers will help keep them out. Look for webbing material, this is also where the larvae like to hang out. Is there a kitchen in the basement as well? From experience I have found that if you clean out and wash all you cupboards, pantry, etc, anywhere where food is or was stored, you can eliminate these moths. An insecticide treatment of these cupboards is not always necessary, but it will help erradicate them.


Hope that helps

Jay
 
  #3  
Old 05-19-04, 09:43 PM
T
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Indian meal moths

Bird seed can also be a source of moths. Often folks overlook their dried flower arrangements and wreaths, as indicated. Your search for the food source of these moths is their silk webbing on the food source. Sometimes the moths are attracted to nuts and foodstuffs stored by squirrels or rodents. Look for evidence of animals. Cocoons tend to be in cracks and crevices, so particular attention should be paid to these areas when cleaning. Your search may not turn up a food source, as the previous owner may removed whatever it was, leaving you the infestation.

Adults can easily be swatted with a flyswat. The adult moth can have a wingspread almost five eighths of an inch wide are copper-brown and grey, are folded backwards in a resting position, showing copper and grey bands of color. Adults usually lay eggs at night and over a two or three week period, will lay more than 400 eggs. Mature larvae move away from infested materials to pupate in neighboring cracks and crevices. They can easily have six generations per year.

Because of their habit of moving some distance from infested products, an intensive cleaning routine is necessary to find and eliminate Indian meal moths and larvae in cracks and crevices.
 
  #4  
Old 05-20-04, 06:43 AM
TimG123
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Moth

I am certain that they are the indian meal moth. The basement is infinished so checking cracks is improssible, there are thousands of spots that they could be. There is no food in the basement and the rpoevious owners did leave the infestation for us.

In the kitchen, we've looked everywhere, we did find cocoons in poantry cracks last fall and destroyed them. I haven't seen them again in the poantry but have seen them flying elswehere. Is there some sort of fogger or gas that the house can be bombed with? They could be in some inaccesable spot such as behind an oven or under a refrigerator. I'm going crazy!

We though they were gone over the winter when we had 6 month of moth free living but I realize they don't multiple often in the colder months. As soon as we hit the 80s and humid, they popped out with a vengeance.
 
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Old 05-20-04, 02:00 PM
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Hi Tim.

All I can say is when I do Indian Meal Moths jobs, I look for a food source or infested dried foodstuffs. Nine time out of ten, I can find them. Most of my time in a job is spent on a thorough inspection. Areas such as behind stoves and under fridges should be accessible to you with a little labour. Not to say that you're not searching hard, but I have a feeling that you're overlooking something. If you're basement is not finished, you should be able to see everything down there, what with no walls or ceilings. If it's possible, check under the kitchen cupboards in the 4-5" void space above the floor. You never know.

You are correct in saying that moth activity during the winter is minimal. I see the same. This goes for most insect invaders.

There are foggers that are available for use in this circumstance. However it is more of a band aid treatment, only good for knocking down adults and some larvae. It does nothing for eggs or pupaes. If there are a million places they could be, sorry, but you have to check those million areas.

If you search and search to no avail, how about calling the experts and let them come and have a look? A trained pro may come and do an inspection and find them in an area that you never thought about.

Have fun

Jay

P.S. Are those traps you got from the pest control company pheremone traps?
 
  #6  
Old 05-24-04, 08:24 AM
TimG123
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Pheremone traps

Yes they are pheremone traps. Thanks for the advice, I'll keep searching!
 
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Old 05-26-04, 02:32 AM
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As indicated, sprays and foggers will tend to eliminate adult pests and prevent them from laying eggs. These measures will tend not to affect eggs and larvae hidden in cracks and crevices. Persistence, patience, and superb house cleaning that includes all nooks, crannies, and crevices will tend to eliminate infestation. Consistent application of insecticide sprays to all crevices tends to alleviate infestation. Pay particular attention to areas around wood trim, mouldings, baseboards, sills, etc. In an unfinished basement, you will have to treat along studs and sills and any other suspicious areas where moths could lay eggs.
 
  #8  
Old 06-29-04, 11:16 AM
Madrek3
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I feel for you as I have the same problem. I originally found a bag of rice that was infested with worms, but since then (almost 2 years ago) I have never again seen an infestation, yet I continuouslly see the moths. They are definitely Indian meal moths as I bought the traps and have caught a lot with them. They were originally in our walk-in pantry, but since I have thrown out almost all of the food in there and done a thorough cleaning, they have apparently moved to other areas of the house. I did have lots of dried flower arrangements, but I recently got rid of all of them as well. I know one area for sure that they are coming from, but I can't reach them. It is a one-inch space between the wall and the cupboards above the stove. There is no food anywhere near this area, so what can they possibly be living on? We have sprayed down this space, but since we can't get to the source itself, we can't stop them! My husband is wanting to somehow plug this space and then caulk it. Will that help? I just imagine the things still mating in there and then one day emerging in full force! Any suggestions?
 
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Old 06-29-04, 04:53 PM
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Ideally, it would be nice to be able to get in there to vaccuum before it was sealed up. Are you still catching them in pheremone traps. Eventually, with those traps, I would think you could wind up catching them all. I work with pheremones traps on a large scale, where it is definitely harder to control inbound infested product there as opposed to foods we buy for home. Check your groceries always. I would keep the traps around till I saw none.

Good luck,

Jay
 
  #10  
Old 06-30-04, 11:13 PM
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Pantry pests

It takes persistence and patience to eliminate pantry pests. The eggs are laid by adults near food sources in cracks and crevices. A gap behind cabinets above a stove is an ideal location because adults know that food sources are near. Vacuuming and spraying all nooks and crannies with pesticide and using traps will tend to eliminate pests after all food sources are eliminated. All food products should be stored in air-tight containers. This includes both human and pet and bird products. Discard or freeze existing grain products to eliminate eggs and larvae. Store new products in air-tight containers or slip into zip-lock bags. Eggs can be brought home in these products and hatch into larvae which mature into adult pests which reproduce.

New homeowners can move into a home that is already infested. Foggers will kill live insects, but will have little or no effect on eggs and larvae in nooks in crannies where foggers do not reach. Sanitation and prevention are the best control measures. Do not overstock your pantry. Purchase only products that you plan on using in the next week or two. Shop at a local grocery that has a high turnover of shelf goods. Proper storage of grain products and quick turnover of these on your pantry shelf will tend to eliminate pantry pest problems.
 
  #11  
Old 08-10-04, 01:14 PM
catherine111
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indian meal moths

I would be interested in knowing how long the moths can remain in the cocoon state. I had a really bad infestation of the maggots in my kitchen in the late fall and early winter and stupidly took ages to figure out what is going on. I wonder whether the moths that are hatching now could have been in a cocoon since then, as I really do not have food about, and I have not seen any maggots since that time. I am hoping that I just have to wait for them all to hatch, but maybe I am dreaming?? Should I be looking for another food source?

Catherine in Montreal
 
  #12  
Old 02-05-05, 11:17 AM
snoutjones
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Indian Meal Moths

Ok guys I have the same problem as you people. In late november I found the larvae in a bulk bag of chinchilla food I got from a farm supply store. My wife and I immediatly threw away the bag of food. We also threw away any type of food that wasn't in a jar or a can. This bag of chinchilla food was in my closet sized pantry by the way. Well we cleaned the pantry/closet. We cleaned all the shelves, vacuumed the rug, and threw away all food products not in a protective canister, can, or jar. I also caulked the cracks in the pantry. Also there is an old water heater in there and its really close the walls at one end of the closet. That end has some exposed wall where there is holes, almost like no wood so the inside of the walls is exposed. I taped what I could up with duct tape. Some of the tape is falling off now though. I can't take the old water heater out of there since its reinforced to the floor somehow and I live in an apartment so I don't have that right. I told my landlord about the problem and he said I would have to call a pest control person because I brought in the bugs myself. I shouldn't have told him the whole story I guess!. Since I got rid of the chinchilla food and cleaned, etc. I have only seen about 6-8 of these adults at most. I see most of them in the pantry and keep the door shut now. Sometimes though they are waiting on the door and escape when I open it. Well I try to follow them and kill them immediately!. Sometimes I don't get them till later in the day though because they fly croked and are hard to follow around sometimes. We also have a trap in the pantry that I purchased in december. Its getting pretty full by now but there is still space for more bugs. Also after a day where I kill a lot of them and by that I mean 8 at very most, they next couple days I may only kill 2-3. They are all in the pantry unless like I said they slip out when I open it. So what do you professionals think?. Could the adults I am seeing now still be from late november when I threw out the chinchilla food and I just have to wait for them all to hatch?. None of my food is exposed. Everything is in some kinds of jar/canister/tin/container. I have not seen any larvae since the removal and disposal of the chinchilla food.
 
  #13  
Old 02-05-05, 01:00 PM
Bugman_Tim
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A flying moth that really WANTS to lay eggs can do so only if it finds a suitable substrate, where the keeping of foodstuffs and pet food in sealed containers comes back into play: When you make sure you keep all susceptible items in tight sealed containers, then a moth simply cannot lay any eggs (not one, even though it carries 400).

Also the single biggest thing in Indian Meal Moth control or elimination is inspection. You have to find the source at any and all costs. If you have to pull out all appliances, even if it means taking cabinets off the wall that is what it takes, it has to be done. You can spray and spray for these things and you WILL NOT be successful. They will continue laying eggs and all you will kill with the spray will be some of the adults the others will continue to lay eggs that will continue to hatch. The cycle will repeat itself over and over. Pantry pests of anykind in order to gain control you have to find and eliminate the source of the infestation, if you dont you will never win the war, only a couple small battles.

Extreme temperatures will also eliminate Indian Meal Moths, but it take temperatures so extreme that you will not be able to reach them inside your home. For example if you have temperatures of -2 to -5 degrees F it will kill them in about an hour. Temperatures in the 10 degrees F range will take about 7 days to kill them. I don't think anyone wants to get it that cold inside their home.

I wish you all the very best

Tim Wise
 
 

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