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McMahon Exterminating

Pest Guide - Moths

Indian meal moths are the most common of these so-called "pantry pests."1 As adult moths they are harmless, other than to your sensibilities as a good housekeeper and parent. But the larvae are the culprits when it comes to eating and contaminating stored foods in the cupboard.

Adult Indian meal moths are about one half-inch in length and have distinctive bi-colored wings. The part of the wing closer to the head is tan or a light gray, while the other section is a darker brown or copper color. The adult moths only live for about a week, long enough to mate and for female moths to lay eggs on food items. In a few days, whitish caterpillars with brown heads hatch and may feed in your cupboard for several weeks or months, depending on the temperature. When they are ready to pupate, the caterpillars will often wander away from the foodstuff to spin a loose cocoon in some corner where they may spend up to several weeks before emerging as adult moths. In warm weather, the entire life cycle takes six to eight weeks, but it can take up to six months under cooler conditions.