How to get rid of Indian meal moths naturally.


Home remedies to exterminate meal moths, eggs, and larvae

So, you’re dealing with an Indian meal moth infestation in your pantry. And you’re freaking out.

In this complete guide, you’ll learn:

  • Why you have meal moths
  • Where they’re coming from and where they’re hiding
  • Natural ways to get rid of meal moths from your pantry
  • How to stop them from infesting your kitchen again
  • How to kill their larvae
  • And more!

You’ll have all the basics to start an effective treatment plan by the end of this article.

Feel free to skip to whatever section you’re looking for.

Bookmark this page so you can easily refer back to it!

And if you have any questions, ask me by leaving a comment.

Let’s dive in and get your kitchen free from moths!

What’s an Indian meal moth?

How to get rid of indian meal moths.
These pests are easy to spot with their colored wingspan.

The Indian meal moth is a common pantry pest that eats grains, dried fruits, birdseed, dried milk, nuts, cereals, and even dog and cat food.

But you probably already knew that.

The moth is also known as the pantry moth or Plodia interpunctella.

It’s often found hiding and eating away in the dark and is found all over the United States.

The Indian meal moth is considered to be a difficult pest to get rid of because it can multiply quickly and is a prevalent pest.

However, with focused effort, you can get rid of them using some home remedies.

Other names

There are a few other aliases for the Indian meal moth:

  • Indianmeal moth
  • Indian-meal moth
  • Flour moth
  • Grain moth
  • Cereal moth
  • Pantry moth
  • Weevil moth

Similar to rice weevils, these moths will attack dried goods commonly found in the kitchen cabinets.

What do they look like?

They’re pretty easy to spot.

  • These moths are about ⅜” in length and have a noticeable wingspan of ⅝”.
  • The overall body is triangular with inverted wingtips that point inward at the rear.
  • These bugs also have huge, beady, black eyes that can be seen by the naked eye.
  • Their most prominent features are the large wings, which have a patterned and segmented coloration and design.
  • Each species may have slightly different coloration and patterning depending on the environment and location but will tend to have a mixture of gray, beige, orange, black, and tan.
  • The wings are folded back and the rear half is rusty colored while the front half is lighter in color.

These are the most noticeable features they have compared to other pantry moths.

How to tell an Indian meal moth from other moths

Indian meal moth wings.
You can tell them apart by their colored wings and patterning.

You can spot an Indian meal moth just based on the wing design and pattern.

  • Look for extended wings that are white to beige near the head and rusty bronze near the rear.
  • The wings are almost perfectly shaded at the midpoint. This is the easiest way to identify them compared to other similar moths that you may come across in your kitchen.

These bugs are pesky and a nuisance, but it’s important that you know the exact bug you have before you do anything. Or else your efforts could be in vain!

Indian meal moth life cycle

The meal moth life cycle is simple.

Adult females can lay up to 400 eggs at once, which are deposited into cracks, crevices, or directly into the food as a substrate. The eggs take about 7 days to hatch. As you can see, they can multiply very fast.

The larvae then emerge as tiny white worms with a darker colored head. They feed on the dry goods and can chew through soft plastics, paper, and more.

They’re not weevils or maggots. They’re caterpillars. And they’ll do nothing but eat.

After they eat enough, they seek out shelter to pupate. This is often soft fabrics and you’ll find them in the strangest parts of your home.

They’ve been reported to be found in closets, furniture, carpets, and even in bedrooms, ceilings, and walls!

The larvae may travel very far from the initial food source to pupate. Pupating simply means making a cocoon, which is wedged between gaps or in a hole.

They’ll remain in a cocoon over the winter and emerge as an adult moth in the spring. Then the cycle repeats again.

Depending on the moth, species, and environment, they can live up to 300 days.

These moths can overtake your kitchen before you can say “Indian meal moth.” warmer conditions will speed up their lifecycle. They’re harmless, but annoying.

What do Indian meal moths feed on?

What do meal moths eat?
Meal moths eat dry foods.

Meal moths eat dried foods that are sitting in storage.

Since they’re nocturnal pests, they seek out dry goods that are tucked away in cabinets, pantries, and cupboards.

The most common foods meal moths eat are:

  • Grain products
  • Dried fruits
  • Nuts
  • Processed foods
  • Pet food (dog, cat, and more)
  • Birdseed
  • Cereal
  • Flour
  • Powder
  • Bulk grains
  • Crackers
  • Chips
  • Sugars
  • Baking powder or baking soda
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • bread
  • Food packaging
  • Stored dry food bins

These are the most common foods that Indian meal moths are attracted to.

Where do Indian meal moths lay their eggs?

Indian meal moths will lay their eggs inside the packaging of dried food that they’re feeding on.

These pests tend to feed in small groups and adult females will deposit their eggs inside food packages.

Sometimes, they may lay eggs directly into the dried food itself.

This means there’s a potential for you to consume meal moth eggs if the food is eaten raw or doesn’t require cooking.

What do Indian meal moth eggs look like?

Their eggs are extremely small and have a gray-white appearance. They’re almost transparent with a slight opacity and oval in shape.

The eggs can be spotted by carefully checking the packaging of the infested food.

You can find their eggs lining the plastic or paper wrapping, or sometimes within the cereal, flour, powder, grains, or other dry food.

What do the larvae look like?

Indian meal moth larvae
Indian meal moth larvae have a colored head segment.

The larvae are small (about 0.5” in length) and have a gray to a white appearance similar to their egg color.

They have a noticeably shaded segment at the head and first body segment that changes color depending on their diet. It can range from brown to orange based on the food the larvae are eating.

Some Indian moth larvae may be pink, green, or stained white.

Meal moth larvae vs maggot

Indian meal moth larvae are considered to be caterpillars rather than maggots.

Maggots are the wrong terminology for the larvae form of meal moths.

To tell the difference, there are a few signs you can look for:

Meal moth larvae are different from maggots:

  • May move far from the infestation site
  • Have a noticeable dark brown head segment
  • Have the typical caterpillar shape
  • Are about 0.5” in length
  • Almost hairless
  • Are the larval form of moths

Maggots are different from meal moths:

  • Are about 0.5” in length
  • Have hooked mouthparts
  • A noticeable tapered head with no coloration
  • No legs and move like worms
  • Two noticeable breathing holes on its rear
  • Have a blunt hind end
  • Are the larvae form of flies

Don’t get them confused over other worms like cutworms or budworms. They’re caterpillars, which are a completely different species.

What is the difference between larvae and maggots?

The easiest way to tell the difference between larvae and maggots is the head.

The larvae from an Indian moth have a head that’s dark in color. Maggots don’t have a noticeable colored head.

Indian meal moth behavior

Meal moth behavior
Meal moths eat up your dry foods.

The behavior of these pests is pretty interesting even though many people see them as an annoyance. Indian meal moths will deposit eggs in food packages where the larvae emerge as tiny worms.

After feeding on the substrate for some time, the larvae worms will pupate into adult moths.

They’re nocturnal

Both the adult and the larvae are active at night, as they’re nocturnal creatures. The larvae hibernate during the winter and come out as an adult in the spring. Indian meal moths are one fascinating pest.

The larvae search for a suitable environment to spin their cocoons before pupating.

They may travel far from your kitchen

They may leave the food source and look for soft fabrics, such as clothing.

This is when you notice meal moths in your clothes or closet. They’re not there to eat your clothes. But rather, they want to pupate in it.

Thus, you may see the larvae wandering around areas outside of the kitchen as they seek out a suitable area to spin a cocoon. If you notice these tiny white worms in your clothes, rugs, carpet, fabric, or furniture, it’s probably a meal moth seeking a place to pupate.

Do pantry moths sleep?

Pantry moths are active at night as they’re nocturnal creatures.

For most people, this makes it difficult to control them because they hide during the day and only come out at night.

They’re active when the sun goes down and start feeding, mating, and seeking out new food sources.

Where do Indian meal moths hide?

Meal moths hiding.
Holes, cracks, and crevices between shelves and drawers are prime hiding spots.

Pantry moths will hide in areas around the kitchen where dry goods are stored. If you have additional storage bins for grains, cereal, flour, powder, nuts, fruits, or pet food, those are all possible targets for this pest.

Most commonly, meal moths hide in common kitchen areas such as:

  • Pantries
  • Cupboards
  • Bread bins
  • Processed good containers
  • Cracker boxes
  • Flour containers
  • Cereal boxes
  • Dried food storage
  • Dog or cat food bags
  • Birdseed storage
  • Dried powder
  • Discarded food packaging
  • Electrical outlet covers
  • Light switches
  • Crevices between cupboards and walls
  • Behind appliances

Where do Indian meal moths come from?

Indian meal moths can come from food packages that are already infested with them.

Since they hang around grain bins from commercial and industrial buildings, they may already have laid eggs before the food actually reaches the store. When you buy it, you may not notice the eggs or larvae.

Then as they grow up into moths, they’ll start to spread and cause problems in your kitchen. They can also start cocoons in jars or cans from the store.

They like canned goods and jars

This means all canned goods, mason jars, or other objects with screw-on lids or ridges can be targeted. In a grocery store, meal moths can easily fly around and find food to eat.

Then the larvae can seek out the perfect object to update on.

Other times, they can just fly into your kitchen from damaged screens, doors, patios, or even directly through your window! Yes. Meal moths are found in the wild also.

How do Indian meal moths come about?

Indian meal moths are found on every single content in tropical habitats except Antarctica.

In the US, the pantry moth is found in tropical states near the equator, such as Florida, which is known to have moth problems.

However, the moth has also been found in many other states such as California and Oregon.

The moth can adapt to many different environmental conditions, which is one of the main reasons why they’re everywhere.

They’re quick to breed and because they can chew through plastics, they get into food storage easily. This is why these bugs are considered to be extremely destructive pests.

Where do Indian meal moths live?

Pantry moths hide out in the dark within food storage areas.

They’re known to be prevalent in both industrial settings like food storage and processing facilities all over the world. Commercial settings such as grain bins and grain storage facilities are prone to pantry moths.

They’re also found in the standard home or apartment in the kitchen pantry, cabinets, or drawers. Any source of dried food storage can attract meal moths.

Grain crop farmers have suffered damages and crop loss due to this grain-feeding pest, as it eats fruits and grains globally. You can find them by using a flashlight and checking your dry goods in the dark.

You’ll often find them scurrying about when you shine the light on them. They’ll take flight, so they should be easy to see during the night.

Are pantry moths hard to get rid of?

Meal moths are difficult to eliminate once they’ve established a pupation site.

They can reproduce and pupate on nearly any soft surface such as clothing. If you have moths in your closet, they could be pantry moths as they use soft fabrics to pupate.

The moths are difficult to get rid of once they start a colony.

Do Indian meal moths bite?

Indian meal moth bite.
They’re harmless.

Meal moths don’t bite or sting humans. They also don’t transmit any diseases or pose any risks. The most annoying thing about them? Simply their presence.

Having moths fly around your kitchen every time you open a bag of cereal. Indian meal moths can’t make you sick and are harmless pests. They’re not harmful to humans or pets.

Do pantry moths eat clothes?

Indian meal moths aren’t attracted to clothing other than to use for pupating.

They don’t eat clothing, so if you find them in your closet, they’re likely using your clothes for reproduction. These pests are only attracted to eating dry goods like grains and cereals.

They don’t eat clothes, but they can damage fabrics

However, they can damage clothing during pupation by leaving behind stains or other sticky residues. If you suspect that you have meal moths in your closet, consider treating your closet for pests.

It’s important to note that “pantry moths” is a word that encompasses many different types of moths, known as Pyraloida. Indian meal moths are grouped within this superfamily, and they don’t specifically eat clothes.

But there are other moths considered to be pantry moths that will eat clothing. Depending on the exact terminology you use, some moths will eat clothes while others won’t.

Typically, “clothes moths” eat the soft fabrics while Indian meal moths don’t.

Can Indian meal moths eat through plastic?

Meal moths can eat plastic and paper food packages.

Yes, pantry moths can easily chew through both plastic and cardboard. They can even eat through paper product packaging, which makes them a real threat to food storage.

Because they have the ability to eat through soft packaging, they can get into food and start their reproduction cycle. Once they start, they’re hard to control.

Do Indian meal moths hibernate?

Indian meal moth adults don’t hibernate, but the larvae do.

During the colder months of fall and winter, the larvae enter diapause, which is a type of hibernation. They come out as adults when the weather picks back up in the spring.

This means only the pre-pupating form hibernate, which is the white worms you see in grains and cereal. The actual moths that are flying around don’t hibernate. It’s important to distinguish the difference.

How to get rid of meal moths naturally

Indian meal moth larvae.
Meal moth larvae can be hard to kill because they hide in your food.

Here are some home remedies that you can do for cheap to kill Indian meal moths. These DIY methods may not work for everyone, so try a few out and see what works best for you.

Use a combo to maximize effectiveness. Once you find one that’s effective, scale it up and apply it to your whole kitchen to get rid of the pantry pests!

Meal moths are prevalent pests and will require a lot of time and energy to completely eradicate.

Dispose of all foods that have moth activity

You should start by disposing of all infested foods, as they’re likely already littered with eggs and larvae that you can’t see.

Don’t try to spare any food, unless you plan on eating the moths and their nymphs.

Purge your pantry

Sometimes you’ll have to clean out your entire kitchen. After you dispose of the foods that are infested, the next step is to transfer all the clean foods to airtight storage.

Transfer your foods

Use thick plastic, glass, or other non-breathable containers that are right. This will stop future meal moths from eating your foods and starting another colony.

Do a deep clean

After the foods are secured, you’ll want to clean out your entire kitchen. This means anywhere that Indian meal moths have graced, they would have laid eggs.

Clean out the following areas:

  • Cabinets
  • Cupboards
  • Drawers
  • Pantries
  • Sinks
  • Food storage areas
  • Nearby closets
  • Nearby furniture
  • Rugs and ceilings
  • Bedrooms
  • Living rooms

Any area that has dry goods can be a prime target for these moths to lay their eggs and reproduce.

You’ll want to use a DIY sanitizer like vinegar or rubbing alcohol. Start spraying and cleaning. Meal moths may use soft fabrics like clothing, rugs, and furniture to pupate.

This is why you need to clean any fabrics within a few feet of your kitchen.

Remember to be thorough, as only a few Indian meal moths are needed to start the lifecycle process all over again.

Don’t skimp on anything. This is the only way to completely get rid of them for good. They’re definitely an annoying pest, but with some effort and persistence, you can do it! Stay focused.

How do you kill Indian meal moths?

Kill meal moths.
Control meal moths by taking careful steps and purging your pantry.

Here are some natural home remedies you can do to get rid of these pests. Try a few of them out. Not every solution will be applicable.


You can use vinegar as a quick way to get rid of Indian meal moths. Vinegar kills them upon contact. To make your own spray, just pour pure white vinegar into a spray bottle.

There’s no need to dilute it as you want maximum strength. Spray the vinegar directly onto any visible meal moths.

The acidic nature of it kills moths, eggs, and larvae. Of course, you’ll want to make sure you don’t get any on your dry food because then they’ll taste sour.

Vinegar is best used for cleaning up storage containers, food bins, kitchen pantries, cupboards, drawers, cabinets, or other things of that nature.

This is a quick way to naturally get rid of Indian meal moths and kill them. Vinegar is an effective home remedy that works. For cheap!

Can you put mothballs in a food pantry?

You shouldn’t put mothballs in your pantry because they require an airtight or enclosed area to work properly.

Mothballs function by releasing toxic fumes into the air. If the area that you place the mothballs is open air, then the fumes spread out and become ineffective.

This is why they can only be used in an enclosed area. Your pantry isn’t sealed enough for them to actually kill moths or repel them. Meal moths may continue to feast on your dry goods even with mothballs.

Plus, the toxic fumes they release is something you don’t want to breathe or have near your food.

Mothballs are good for sealed or areas with less airflow, such as bugs that eat your clothes in your closet, but not for your kitchen pantry.

Manual removal

Removing the meal moth eggs by hand is the most laborious method, but it’s the best way to quickly spot clean small areas of infestation.

If you notice moth larvae concentrated in a specific area in your kitchen, like your cabinets or cupboards, you can manually remove them using a shop vac.

Just suck them out quickly and the problem is solved.

Make a vinegar spray

Vinegar is an effective solution to kill Indian meal moths. Just spray pure white vinegar onto the larvae to kill them instantly.

Remove the dead moths afterward or else this may attract more bugs. If it’s in your food, dispose of the food.

Don’t try to save it because no one wants to eat sour vinegar with dead moth larvae. This also works well on moth larvae and eggs.

Soapy water

Make a mixture of soapy water by mixing 2 tablespoons of dish detergent (like Dawn) and water. Then either spray the mixture onto the moths to kill them upon contact.

You can use soapy water to kill moths hanging out in your kitchen cabinets. Never use it in food, unless you plan to throw out the food after you kill all the moths.

This method works against Indian moths, larvae, and eggs.

Set up pheromone traps

These are a commercial solution that you buy from the store. Use them as the product label says.

They basically have a scent that attracts meal moths and then doesn’t let them back out. I’ve had decent success using these traps.

They’re best used for areas that are tight and hard to reach, such as nooks and crannies that you don’t want to deal with over and over. Just throw a trap in there and let it do the job for you.

Freeze your food

If you have food that’s been infested, but you plan to cook it, you can kill the moths first by freezing them.

Place the dry goods in your freezer for 3 days after sealing it up in tight plastic. Use airtight plastic if possible. This will kill adult moths and their larvae.

When you take it out of the freezer, remove all the dead moths by hand. If you plan to cook the food after, this will kill off any remaining moths.

But be sure to remove as much as you can because no one wants to find a dead moth in their food! I’d only suggest using this method for dog food, as Fido probably won’t care.

Birdseed and cat food also can be treated the same way.

Heat it

Just like freezing, you can also kill off pests by heating your dry goods. Take the cereal, flour, power, or grains and wrap it up with some plastic.

Use saran wrap or cling film to make it nearly airtight. Then place it outdoors on a sunny day for a few hours. The heat will build up inside the package and kill all the Indian moths and their larvae.

Eggs will also be killed in the process. The only drawback to this is that the heat may end up partially cooking your dry goods or even spoiling it. So don’t do this for sensitive foods that cook easily.

I’d suggest using this only for birdseed or dog food.

Or to 100% kill any moths in infested foods before you dispose of it to prevent the spread of moths to your other foods.

Use bay leaves

Bay leaf repellent.
Bay leaves can repel meal moths.

Bay leaves emit a strong and pleasant odor (to humans, for the most part) and will naturally repel meal moths as a deterrent.

They don’t like the smell of bay leaves, so you can buy a few pieces in bulk and place them around your pantry.

They also can be placed in the food containers, but note that the scent will saturate your food.

Protect dry goods

During the process of extermination, you’ll want to transfer all your uninfested foods to airtight food containers.

This will prevent the spread of pests to other food sources and prevents them from breeding another round of larvae.

You can use any generic food container, but make sure it has the following features:

  • Made of thick plastic or glass
  • Has an airtight seal
  • Avoid screw-on caps
  • Mason jars are okay

You can often find these made by Rubbermaid or Tupperware. Just get any old container and transfer your food over to protect them.

Be sure that the food is not infested before you transfer, or else you’re just spreading the moths around.

Clean your pantry

So now you should have started a few home remedies to kill off the moths.

And you should’ve transferred your goods to secure containers. The next step is to clean up your kitchen. This means doing a full, thorough cleaning of everything. Literally everything.

You’ll want to:

  • Clean all cupboards, cabinets, and drawers
  • Remove shelf liners and replace them
  • Sanitize everything
  • Dispose of all unprotected foods
  • Rinse all cans and containers
  • Wash food containers with a cleaning solution
  • Check all food jars for cocoons

Sanitize everything!

Use a sanitizer solution from the store or make your own using vinegar. The main point of this is to sanitize your entire kitchen and do a deep clean.

Use airtight food containers

Food that’s stored in cans and jars are difficult because moths can spin cocoons on traditional screw-on lids.

They can widget between the space where the lid meets the jar and you may find cocoons in that space. You’ll want to remove and then wash the jar, or just dispose of it safely.

Clear out everything in your pantry

During this pantry purge, you’ll want to take everything out of your pantry and check them for pests.

This means food, shelves, and even contact paper. Drawers should be removed completely and the sliders should be checked.

Clean and rinse

Everything should be cleaned and rinsed with vinegar and hot water.

Vacuum all your shelves and cupboards.

And make sure not to miss any gaps or crevices by using a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol.

Check for cocoons

Cocoons are often tucked into cracks or crevices.

This means areas like the drawer pegs, shelf pegs, and holes that support the pegs for adjustable shelving.


Don’t skimp on the cleaning. Even just a few cocoons that are missed can start a whole moth problem all over again!

Patch up your kitchen

The last step is to prevent any possible entry of meal moths that could be coming from outdoors.

This means doing a thorough inspection of your home and then fixing it up.

You’ll want to:

  • Seal up cracks around the foundation
  • Fix any broken window screens
  • Check for crevices around doors
  • Fix broken weatherstripping

This will help stop future meal moths from coming into your kitchen.

How to prevent Indian meal moths

Meal moths in kitchen pantry.
You can stop meal moths for good by cleaning up your kitchen.

After you’ve gotten rid of the infestation, the next step is to make sure you never have to deal with meal moths again. Or at least anytime soon.

Here are some tips to keep your kitchen free from them.

Always store your goods in the airtight food containers

Remember the containers we switched to earlier? Always put your dry goods in those.

Check dry goods before storing them

Whenever you buy grains or cereal from the store, there’s a chance there may be eggs or larvae already.

You can do a quick spot check to make sure they’re not infested with moths.

Avoid “topping off” your storage

Buying a new pack of grains may introduce new species to your existing foods.

Don’t add the new grains or older, safe grains. Place it in a quarantine container.

Avoid shelf liners. Moths tend to use torn or worn contact paper for cocoons. Avoid using these liners when possible. Or convert to mats that don’t peel over time.

Switch from canned or screw-on lids to snap-on

Moths will spin cocoons in canned or jars that use screw-on lids.

The gaps between the lid and jar offer a space where they tend to congregate. Switch to using Rubbermaid or snap-on containers.

Check your kitchen often. Do basic kitchen TLC to catch pantry moths before the problem turns amok. Self-explanatory. This will also help prevent other kitchen pests.

How do you kill Indian meal moth eggs?

The eggs of meal moths can be handled by using a vinegar spray or soap water. Either one will kill the eggs.

You should avoid using dry foods that you’ve sprayed with either, as sprays should only be used to kill the eggs and then dispose of the food.

Don’t eat foods that have been sprayed. Use vinegar or soapy water to kill eggs lining your pantry or cabinets. You can also use these sprays to clean mason jars or other food containers.

How to get rid of Indian meal moth larvae

Meal moth cocoon after pupate.
An empty shell from a cocoon.

The larvae of meal moths can be controlled using a few different home remedies. The most effective ones are to use plain vinegar or freeze the package.

Depending on your situation, if you have larvae crawling around on your pantry or cupboards, use vinegar spray to kill them.

But If you have larvae within your dry goods and you plan to use the food, then freeze it and remove the dead larvae by hand afterward.

Moth larvae on the ceiling

If you notice larvae on your ceiling, these could be meal moth larvae.

Depending on where you find them, the tiny white worms can crawl up your walls and onto your ceiling. If you find them in your kitchen mostly, then it’s likely that they’re Indian meal moth larvae.

However, they can also escape the kitchen and start crawling on your walls, counters, furniture, and ceiling.

They’re known to exhibit strange behavior and travel far from the dry goods to look for a place to pupate.

Indian meal moth larvae in the bedroom

Indian meal moth larvae killer.
They can be far from your kitchen as they seek a place to pupate.

If you find the larvae in your bedroom, bathroom, or even your living room, you shouldn’t be surprised. It’s quite common to find the larvae crawling around far from the food infestation site with adult moths.

The caterpillars will seek out a soft and safe place to make a cocoon, which is often why you might catch them in the strangest places.

You may see them in your bedroom because of the soft sheets or clothing in your closet.

You can get rid of them by:

  • Manually removing them by hand
  • Vacuuming them
  • Placing mothballs in enclosed areas (clothing storage)
  • Spraying them with vinegar

Finding pantry moths in your bedroom is a different story. These may be actual clothes-eating moths that are chewing up your fabrics.

Or they could be Indian meal moths that have completed pupating and are now emerging as adults.

They seek out clothes and fabrics to pupate

Indian meal moths larvae are the pre-pupating form of meal moths. These tiny worms with black heads will eventually pupate into a moth.

You’ll find these worms all over your dry foods after they hatch from a meal moth egg.

You may also notice sticky webbing on your food or lining the food packaging. The larvae also leave behind skins as they molt, so you’ll see empty shells of previous worms left on the grains or cereal.

Lastly, you may find frass, which is larvae poop directly in your dry food.

Any of these are signs of Indian meal moth larvae.

You can make an Indian meal moth larvae killer by using vinegar. Just spray pure vinegar directly onto the larvae and it’ll kill them within a few seconds.

Vinegar also works on adult moths and their eggs.

After you spray, dispose of the infested foods as you don’t want to consume larvae of moths.

Indian meal moths in dog food

Indian meal moth larvae in dog food.
A larvae found in dog food kibble.

Indian meal moths may infest your dog’s food, as it’s a dry food that’s processed and often poorly stored.

This makes it a prime target for meal moths to start eating. If you have a meal moths in your dog food, the easiest way to get rid of them is to dispose of it.

Sure, it’s a waste, but trying to pick out the meal moths in your pet’s food isn’t practical.

Plus, there are likely already hundreds of larvae already chewing up the food. And there are eggs all over it too.

Dispose of the dog food

So disposing of the spoiled dog food and then buying a new pack is your best chance to get rid of them.

With the new bag, you buy, transfer all of it to an airtight storage container with tough plastic.

Remember that they can chew through plastics and paper, and a lot of dog food bags are made of thin materials- especially the smaller bags.

This is why you should transfer all of it as soon as you open the package to a thick storage bin.

When you scoop, quickly shut the bin to prevent meal moth infestation in the future.

Can dogs eat food with moths?

Dogs can eat dog food that’s infested with meal moths safely.

Dogs already eat a variety of bugs, rodents, and other pests naturally, and meal moths are no exception.

Although it’s kind of nasty and disgusting for Fido, it won’t harm your dog to eat the food. If you’re really worried, you can dispose of it and then buy a new bag.

But this time, practice proper dog food storage.

Dog food that’s infested with meal moth larvae will have the following signs:

  • Visible meal moths on the pet food
  • Moths flying out of the package when you open it
  • Meal moth eggs lining the dog food bag or within the food
  • White worms in the dog food

If you notice any of these, your dog food is likely infested with Indian meal moths or some other pantry moths.

Additional resources

Here are some other resources that you may find helpful:

Did you get rid of the meal moths?

How to get rid of meal moths.
Be patient and persistent.

By now, you should have everything you need to know.

You should be able to control, manage, and exterminate them. But it will take some time.

Questions? Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you.

If you found this helpful, let me know also by leaving a comment.

Consider telling a friend who may also find this useful =].

Thanks for reading!

4 thoughts on “How to Get Rid of Indian Meal Moths (Larvae and Eggs)”

  1. Patty Baptiste

    Can these moths lay their eggs on cat poop in the litter pan? Or do they eat cat poop?


  2. Thanks for the informative article. I have a meal moth infestation. I made a solution of roughly %12 vinegar. (I watered down the %45 vinegar sold as weed killer) I have sprayed directly on larvae that I have found on the ceiling and it slows them down for a few minutes and they keep going. I even put one in an open container and watched it crawl after 5 minutes plus. Will bleach work any better? I don’t want to use a stronger vinegar solution because it’s indoors. Are there any bug sprays that will work. Any other ideas. Help!

    1. Yes…CB-80 extra aerosol or Microcare aerosol, or565 Plus XLO or Talstar insecticide. (the professionals are suppose to use these and are available for the general public as well. See or (Talstar works on many other pests as well).

  3. Rhonda Hardy

    Will regular home pest controls work for killing these Indian meal moths? Before I knew about vinegar my husband and I cleaned our cabinets out and sprayed the insides and shelves with home pest control which is suppose to be safe for people and pets. Should I also spray vinegar? I had a pest control guy tell me that a mixture of vinegar & sugar in a small bowl covered with plastic wrap and small holes would attract them and they would get inside and then couldn’t get out. Is this anything you’ve heard of before? Any more help you could give would be greatly appreciated!
    Thank you,

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