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Indian Meal Moths

Indian Meal Months in Fresno, Clovis and the Central Valley

The Ultimate Guide to Indian Meal Moths

Did you know Indian meal moths can start laying eggs 3 days after hatching and they lay 100 eggs at a time and the only place in the world they can not be found is Antarctica. 

Searching for Indian meal moths in kitchen cabinetIndian meal moths are commonly found in Fresno and Clovis, CA. These pests usually occur in the dry foods we eat such as cereals, nuts, rice, dried pasta, etc. Indian meal moths can gain access to our pantry and cupboards by coming in with the food we buy or borrow or by flying into our homes. Indian meal moths are not exactly dangerous. They do not bite, but it can be irritating to find one in your favorite bags of dry fruits or when you are pouring cereal into your bowl in the morning. 

Getting rid Indian meal moths can a challenge since they grow in various environments and can build up a strong resistance against pesticides. The bread incredible fast, hide in spots that are sometime impossible to see until you open a jar or box and have them fly out.

Five Steps to Get Rid of Indian Meal Moths

  1. Make sure you are not buying or borrowing food or grain that have Indian meal moth larva hiding in the grain or container. 
  2. Use a neutering agent to slow down breading.
  3. Through away or freeze all infested food.
  4. Clear out the food pantry completely and treat the entire area.
  5. Set up pheromone traps. Warning: setting up more then three or more traps makes it counter productive. The moths get confused and are not attracted to land on the traps. 
  6. Bonus: Re-peat until they are all gone

Size of Moths

Size: The female Indian male moth lays eggs that are around half a millimeter in length. Ranging from 13 millimeters to 20 millimeters, the Indian male moths grow in size if they are feeding well. The moth tends to grow up according to the temperature, environment and the source of food accordingly. Before the stage of pupation, the larvae grow up to 12 millimeters in size. 

Breading of Moths

Breeding: The female Indian meal moth can mate with 5 male moths at max. It can lay over hundreds of eggs each time. The breeding of these moths usually occurs near or on the dried foods we eat. The adult Indian meal moth, upon emerging from its cocoon starts looking for a female moth to mate with in the first 24 hours. 

The mating process is started by the female moth as it signals the inceptors of the male moth by raising her abdomen in the air and releasing pheromone glands. The Indian male moth, upon receiving the pheromone glands rapidly flaps his wings against the female moth who then decides whether it likes the combination for mating or not by turning 180 degrees towards the make moth. 

The Indian male moth has claspers on his abdomen that fold around the female abdomen and thus the fertilization occurs. The process merely goes on for a few seconds and so the female moth can lay eggs then within the next 48 hours. 

Moth Habitats

Habitats:These Indian meal moths can be found usually in our kitchen, pantries or wherever you put dried food. Usually, these moths require a tropical environment to grow in, but they can settle into almost any sort of environment considering that they can build resistance against any type of weather.  They are usually found a lot in the central valley, Fresno and Clovis, CA. 


Life-cycle:The life cycle of an Indian meal moth is very similar to that of a butterfly as moths are known to be from the same family. There are four stages in the life cycle of an Indian meal moth.


Egg: The female moth can lay up to several hundred eggs at a time. The female moth makes sure to lay the eggs near or over the food we eat. Within the span of 2 to 14 days, the larva comes out of the eggs.  


The larva being very little to be able to break through cardboard boxes, plastic bags and thin paper covering over food jars or boxes. As soon as larva hatch from the eggs, they feed onto the food they find near. Apparently, it is an interesting fact about the Indian meal moth that only the larval stage feeds on food. The adult moth does not feed. 


Before entering the stage of pupation, the larvae grow in size and shed their skin each time they eat. The process of shedding their skin is called molting and these moths go through the molting stage up to 5 or 7 times. After molting, the larvae go into pupa i.e. cocoon stage. It tends to darken as time passes by. In about two week time, the adult finds its way outside of the pupa and emerges as an adult.


The adult moth still has weak and soft wings that require a little pressure and time to finally expand; then enabling the moth to fly. Within the first 24 hours, the moth starts looking for a mating partner and thus the process of mating begin. 



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