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Grain Moths

Grain Moth Description     Control of Grain Moths


If you see small moths flying around inside your home, they are probably a type of grain moth.  Do not confuse these with clothes moths; in a clothes moth infestation, one rarely sees adults flying about, especially in large numbers.  Grain moths (more visible adults) are discussed in this article.  Grain moths can include Indian Meal Moth, Mediterranean Flour Moth and others. 

In general, flying pantry pests of this kind can be identified by their numbers (they are highly visible, as opposed to clothes moths) and location.  Since they are insects which love grains, you will most likely see them in your kitchen.  In some instances, these pests can be found in dried flower arrangements, pet foods (dog food, dog biscuits, any dry animal feed) seeds (including bird seed and dried beans), nuts, chocolate, dried fruit (such as raisins.)  In these cases you can find the pests in areas other than the kitchen.  As a group, pantry pests can also be found in rice, pasta, cake mixes, rat or mouse bait, breakfast cereals, children's art work (containing pasta, corn, etc.), herbs, spices -- any grain, feed, seed, dried vegetables (decorative or edible) or dried fruit!

Wild bird seed is a common culprit.  Since these seeds are harvested and packaged for wild birds, quality control (especially pest control) standards are much lower than those used for human or domestic animal consumption.  Therefore, you are more likely to find pantry pests of all sorts in wild bird seed or dry feed.  If you like to feed wild birds, try these pest management tips:

  • Buy no more than what you need for 2 to 4 weeks.  Bulk packaging saves you money but can cause you problems.  Not only is there more product (more chance of bugs!) but these large containers do not sell as quickly as smaller sizes.  This means that the product has been sitting for longer periods of time, increasing the pest populations contained inside.
  • Place a couple of pounds bird seed in baggie type containers.  Leave these containers in your freezer.  Any pantry pest (all stages) will be exterminated after 5 days or more.  You may leave the feed frozen up to 1 day before it is needed.
  • Never purchase sunflower seeds (or any feed) if the plastic bag is sticky to the touch.  When pests of seeds enter or exit the seed, they release the seed's natural oils.  A sticky bag usually means bugs!
  • Store your seed in an air-tight container.

Grain or Flour Moth Elimination

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If you have Indian Meal Moths, Mediterranean Flour Moths, etc.: Set up Moth Traps in areas where moths are flying. These traps are helpful because they will catch the adult stages of any moth as they hatch from their pupae cocoons. The trap has a strong sex pheromone which these pantry moths cannot resist. They will fly to the trap and get stuck on the glue inside. Once trapped, they cannot mate and reproduce.

Next, locate the infested food.  A thorough clean up, using a vacuum cleaner to get into the cracks and crevices, goes a long way in controlling any type of pantry pest.  Be vigilant!  Once these pests are introduced into a home via a grain product, they can very easily spread to other grains.  Inspect every possible grain product and areas where they are stored and used.

In severe cases, a crack & crevice aerosol containing Cypermethrin will deliver the correct amount of low-odor product into the areas where immature or adults might be hiding.  CB-Air Devil is an excellent professional aerosol for this type of pest control.


moth trap

grain moths

flour moths