sesame moths?
December 24, 2009
hi bugman.
what are these guys?
i just moved into a sublet and found this little package in the spice closet.  my guess is that it’s been there a while.  it’s still sealed.  they are thriving.
i’m CCing the company that packaged it here in quebec.
perhaps they can say how old it is based on the number on the label –> 08U15V
michael bailey

Indian Meal Moth Larvae

Indian Meal Moth Larvae

Hi Michael,
These are the larvae of Indian Meal Moths, Plodia interpunctella.  It was originally native to South America, but now has a cosmopolitan distribution.  It is one of the Pantry Moths that will infest many stored foods, including grain products and spices.  Corn meal, oatmeal, flour, nuts and seeds are all likely sources of infestation, and bird seed seems particularly attractive as a commissary.  The tiny moths fluttering around in the home are a good indication that caterpillars are feeding on some stored food products somewhere in the home.  Often infestations appear in packaged foods, and it is entirely possible that the infestation began at the manufacturer’s packaging plants.  We would guess that the expiration date on those sesame seeds is long expired.  You can find photos of the adult moths on our site and on BugGuide.

Indian Meal Moth Larvae

Indian Meal Moth Larvae

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5 Responses to Indian Meal Moth Larvae

  1. Shawne says:

    We have these infestations of Indian meal moths. They fly around & I am constantly killing at least 8-12 on a given day. Today I found a worm – larvae. Drives me nuts!! Now that I have positively identified what type of moths we have, how do we get rid of them? Will moth balls kill them? I find them hanging out all over in our apt. (walls, ceiling, bathroom, on cabinets in cabinets). Yes, they were in abundance in our cabinet where we have stored nuts. All got thrown away! Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Thank you !!

    • bugman says:

      We would not recommend any form of eradication except finding the source of food for the larvae and discarding. Nuts are a common food source as are grains like oatmeal and cornmeal.

  2. jeff says:

    I had a problem with the meal moths due to improperly stored dry dog food in my garage. After sealing the container the moths disappeared in about a month. However, Indian Moth larvae have now appeared in our master bathroom on the opposite side of the house. We don’t eat in the bathroom so there is nothing for them to consume. I find them on the tile floor and believe they are coming from under the base board, but again, there is no food in the frame of the house or anywhere outside (from any conceivable travel distance). Where might they be coming from?

    • bugman says:

      That seems very strange. We always associate Indian Meal Moths with grain infestations, including the grain used in pet foods.

  3. Suzanne Burt says:

    We found larvae crawling on my kitchen floor this morning. White with little black heads. I squished them and they sorta snapped. Then after cleaning them all up, one appears from no where and they move at a pretty good clip for being on their bellies. Any ideas where they might be coming from? We did get some bird seed, also oatmeal, sun flower seeds, but the only seeds are the sunflower seeds and oatmeal we got from WINCO the other day. There are no traces of any bugs in our pantry. Thanks for your time.

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