Pantry or Indian Meal Moth

Pantry Moth or Indian Meal Moth


The Indian Meal (Indianmeal) Moth is also known as North American High-flyer, Weevil Moth, Flour Moth and Pantry Moth. At its development stage of a larvae they are known as waxworms. Since the entomologist who first classified this pest, named them so as they were infesting storage of cornmeal which at that time was called Indian meal.

Description and life cycle

The adults are 8–10 mm in length. Their wingspan is 16–20 mm. The outer half of their forewings are bronze, copper, or dark gray in color, while the upper half are yellowish-gray, with a dark band at the intersection between the two. The moth larvae are off-white with brown heads. When these larvae mature, they are usually about 12 mm long. The entire life cycle of this species may take 30 to 300 days. Female moths lay between 60 and 400 eggs on a food surface, which are ordinarily smaller than 0.5 mm and not sticky. The eggs hatch in 2 to 14 days. The larval stage lasts from 2 to 41 weeks, depending on the temperature.


The Indianmeal Moth larvae can infest a wide range of dry foodstuffs of vegetable origin, such as cereal, bread, pasta, rice, couscous, flour, spices or dried fruits and nuts. The food they infest will often seem to be webbed together. After larvae or moths have been found, it is important to throw out all food sources that are not in very tightly sealed containers. The moths are able to get into surprisingly tight spots, including sealed bags by chewing through them. They are also notoriously difficult to get rid of, and can crawl on ceilings and spin cocoons in rooms other than the kitchen or pantry where they hatched.

Physical Control

Moths often do not even need a lure, as common glue traps sometimes work well to reduce the number of adults. However, the efficiency of such traps is highly doubtful as they only capture males, and usually only a fraction of these, while adult females, eggs and larvae are unaffected, enabling a sustained problem.