Currently viewing the category: "Pantry Moths, Clothes Moths, Case-Bearers and Meal Moths"

Subject: Carpet Moth/Beetle
Location: United Kingdom
April 14, 2014 2:16 am
Good Morning, Please see photos of bugs collected from carpet with rice like cocoons?? Can you identify what the bug is and what the rice bits are. There are areas of carpet which have clearly been eaten and we need to identify the problem.
Many thanks
Signature: Ashley Clarke

Case Bearing Clothes Moths and Woodlice

Casemaking Clothes Moths and Woodlice

Hi Ashley,
The “bugs” are Woodlice or Pillbugs, and though they might be a nuisance indoors, they are not eating your carpet.  They are attracted to damp conditions.  The rice like cocoons appear to be the cases of Casemaking Clothes Moths,
Tinea pellionella, a species that will eat wool rugs and clothes and we believe that is the source of the damage.  According to BugGuide, the larvae feed on:  “Feed on wool, feathers, fur, hair, upholstered furniture, leather, fish meals, milk powders, lint, dust or paper.”  The larvae, not the adult moths, are responsible for the damage.  It appears that one of the cases in the center of your “collection” is a different species in the same family, a Household Casebearer Moth case, Phereoeca uterella, which according to BugGuide:  “feed on old spider webs; may also eat woolen goods of all kinds if the opportunity arises.”  BugGuide also notes:  “Larval cases can be found on wool rugs and wool carpets, hanging on curtains, or under buildings, hanging from subflooring, joists, sills and foundations; also found on exterior of buildings in shaded places, under farm sheds, under lawn furniture, on stored farm machinery, and on tree trunks.”

Many thanks really helpful

Subject: Meal moths and case bearing moths
February 21, 2014 10:57 am
Thanks so much for your extremely helpful site!
I’ve read your identification responses for both the Indian meal moths and the case bearing moths. I was wondering if the Indian Meal Moths also make the flat pods. I have found worms, cases and moths in my house for months now.
We moved to Puerto Rico from Maryland and I believe we unpacked the pests after they sat in a shipping container for two months. We threw away everything that we thought was contaminated, but they seem to be back! Just wondering if all three are maybe the same thing or if we have two kinds of bugs.
Thanks for any help!
Signature: Sara

Thanks for the nice compliment.  You are probably thinking of the Case Bearing Moth Larvae which are different than the Indian Meal Moths.

Subject: Little Brown Moths everywhere
Location: Northern Virginia
February 2, 2014 7:10 am
These little guys seem to have taken up residence in my home Springfield, VA. Mostly in the kitchen but they show up in the bathrooms etc too. Seem to be coming form within the house but I am not sure. I have brought some old firewood in this winter. Any help on an ID is greatly appreciated.
Signature: tom in Springfield, va

Indian Meal Moth

Indian Meal Moth

Dear Tom,
This is an Indian Meal Moth,
Plodia interpunctella, a species with larvae that infest stored grain products, including flour and corn meal.  Check your pantry to see if you have a forgotten container of oatmeal that has become infested.  You can read more about the Indian Meal Moth on BugGuide.

Subject: Grub type worm
Location: South central PA (Amish country)
October 12, 2013 6:44 am
I have these little yellowish grub type worms crawling up my walls, I had to remove the ceiling tiles to get at them. Every morning and every day I get home from work I collect anywhere from 15-30 of them and I have no clue where they are coming from. What little food I have in my house is all sealed and they’re not coming from my trash can. Usually in the morning I find them hanging by I guess a web they make off the ceiling. It’s been a week now and I can’t get rid of them. They’re just more of a nuisance now. They have little legs and a brown head. I think they are forming into these little brown moths of some sort because I seen a couple flying around.
Signature: Steele H.

Possibly Indian Mealworms

Possibly Indian Mealworms

Subject: Grub type worm? (2nd attempt)
Location: Lancaster County, Pa
October 13, 2013 8:58 am
Got a some kind of bugs in my kitchen. They navigate toward the ceiling. I collect about 15-30 every morning and when I get home from work. Don’t know what they are, where they’re coming from or how to get rid of them.
Signature: Irritated

Possibly Indian Mealworms

Possibly Indian Mealworms

Dear Steele,
We hope you are not irritated with us for not responding yesterday.  We had a very busy day doing public service planning and organizing a ten year anniversary commemoration of Heidelberg Park and we did not answer as many letters as we do in a more typical day.  We believe these are the larvae of Indian Meal Moths, or Indian Mealworms,
Plodia interpunctella.  See BugGuide for verification.  They infest stored grain products like corn meal, oatmeal and even pet food and bird seed.  You are correct that they metamorphose into the moths you are finding.  We suggest you thoroughly search the pantry for the source of the infestation.  If they are appearing in the numbers you indicate, the infestation should not be too difficult to locate.

Thank you very much!! That is what they are!!! Now I just have to get rid of them.  Guess I have to trash what little food I have in my cabinets!! Thank you again!! And I am glad that you offer your help for people like me! I searched all over google and couldn’t find a thing to what they were.

Subject: Sudden Strange Flying Moth Infestion
Location: NYC
October 7, 2013 8:14 pm
Hello Mr. Bugman! Over the last week or so, I have been noticing these bugs flying around my apartment. They are slow, but flurry their wings so are quite noticeable. It has gotten much worse over the last few days. Just now I killed about 15 of them. I live in small studio apartment in Manhattan. I even just noticed them in the cabinet above the sink. They are everywhere. I have had carpet beetle problems for years, but those flyers were very different (much smaller) than these. When I kill these, they have a black chalk to them with some red blood, but not much. Attaching photos for you! Please help!
Signature: Flying Fiasco in NYC

Indian Meal Moth

Indian Meal Moth

Dear Flying Fiasco in NYC,
You have Indian Meal Moths.  Go directly to the pantry.  Inspect the corn meal, oatmeal, flour, pancake mix and all other grain and vegetable drygoods.  Check out the stored nuts.  Look at the pet food.  Even tightly sealed containers don’t help if the infestation occurred at the factory or grocery store.

Hello Daniel!
Thank you so much for your reply. After a little investigation on Google, I did suspect this on my own last night. I had a big bag of Chinese herbs that were made up for me about 4 months ago, which have been left untouched. Those were definitely the culprit and disposed of every last food thing in my cabinets. Good thing I am single in the city and didn’t have much food.
My only concern is that it did get into the pet food that was NOT in the cabinet, and this may explain why my pooch has been having diarrhea!
One more thing, a worm or two were found while I was cleaning near the sink (probably from taking the bag down from up top). I managed to find and kill those, but do I need to worry those guys will lay eggs? Or that some of the stray moths will lay eggs in other parts of my apartment? I saw many that were flying into the hallway closet adjacent to the kitchen. Please advise.
THANK YOU AGAIN so much for being so amazing!!!

Hi again G.,
We do not believe ingesting moth larvae will give your dog diarrhea.  The moths will only lay eggs where there is a food supply.  We suspect that many home Pantry Moth infestations begin by bringing home items that have already come into contact with the moths, though once established, the infestations can spread to other items.  Chances are quite good that much of the food that is consumed has eggs or larvae that go unnoticed, but when the items sit on the shelf forgotten for long periods of time, the infestations progress to the point where the adult moths are noticed.  We once opened a long forgotten container of oatmeal and discovered quite a surprise.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you for your thoughtful reply. Will these flyers get into my closets and lay eggs? Found two more this evening upon arriving home. Near the kitchen…

Hi again G.,
Indian Meal Moths have no interest in your closet or your woolen clothes.

Hooray for that. Now to finally track down the carpet beetles that have been taunting me for 10 yrs. good night and thanks again!!

Update:  24 October 2013
Hi Daniel,
Hope this finds you well. It has been nearly 3 weeks since our first email exchange and although I have removed ALL of the food from my cupboards (which was not much since I am a bachelorette) I am still discovering flying objects mainly in the kitchen and on the walls of my apartment. Could it be leftover larvae that are hatching this late in the game? So frustrating. I’ve thrown away even tea, factory sealed. Do I need to toss my spices? I just don’t know where they could be living at this point…
Any knowledge would be excellent!
Flying Fiasco in NYC

Hi again G.,
They might have infested the spices.  Do you have pets?  You might want to also check that bargain bag of pet food.

I have a dog, yes, but he in no way eats bargain pet food 🙂 I have a small bag of ziplocked food, brand new bag, so it’s definitely not infested. I will throw away the spices. Thank you!

Subject: Moth that’s hanging around our chicken coop
Location: Van Nuys CA
August 30, 2013 5:38 am
Hi Bug Man,
We’ve got this moth that is increasing in numbers rapidly. I mostly see it hanging out around our chicken coop. That seems to be the coolest place during the day in our yard. Could this be the bug getting the new froth on all my recently plante speeches and nectarines?
Signature: Diana

Meal Moth

Meal Moth

Dear Diana,
We quickly identified your Meal Moth,
Pyralis farinalis, on the British Lepidoptera site which has excellent photos.  The site indicates:  ” Jun-Aug; stored grain; common in grain stores, barns etc throughout GB.” Since you live in California and not Great Britain, we wanted to also provide a link on BugGuide., but alas, there are no photos, though BugGuide does provide the information that it is found:  “mainly in homes, barns, warehouses and other buildings where grain or processed grain products are stored” and that it is “a pest of stored grain and grain products throughout the world.”  Charles Hogue, in his landmark book Insects of the Los Angeles Basin wrote:  “The larvae are dirty white except for the dark brown head and first thoracic segment.  They live in cases or tunnels of silk mixed with food debris;  they prefer stale damp material, but all stored vegetable products are susceptible to their ravages.”  You should check the grain you are feeding the chickens for the infestation.  We don’t believe the presence of the larvae in the chicken meal will harm your hens which are probably gobbling up the extra protein with gusto.  The adult Meal Moths do not feed on the grain.  Only the larvae feed on the grain.