Bird Seed Moths Explained

Published Categorized as Moths

Has your bird seed been contaminated by bothersome moths? Pests called birdseed moths, sometimes known as pantry moths or grain moths, are frequently found in dry foods like birdseed.

In this article, we’ll learn all about bird seed moths, how to identify them, their life cycle, and tips on how to get rid of them.

Table of Contents

About the Bird Seed Moth

Moths will look for dry products almost everywhere to lay their eggs. Moths prefer quiet, dark environments. Moths will undoubtedly get inside at some time if you keep any dry food items in a place that is primarily quiet and unoccupied in the evening hours. Every state in America, the majority of Canada, and Europe is home to birdseed and grain-eating insects.

It’s possible that some of your birdseed contains dead moths or their larvae, but that doesn’t mean you have to discard the entire lot. Moths and other insects are actually part of the well-balanced diets of the majority of birds. Therefore, feel free to give your aviary buddies any infected birdseed.

Tossing out your birdseed and taking steps to make sure the infestation has not spread to other foods or stored things, though, may be necessary if you have a serious infestation.

It is never a nice thing to have moths in your dry goods. Moth larvae may be a delightful meal for birds, but people are less likely to desire to eat these tiny insects or their larvae. In order to stop a moth infestation from getting worse, it is best to act right away.

Bird Seed Moth Identification

You must first locate the infestation. Plodia Interpunctella is the scientific name for birdseed moths (Indian meal Moths). By examining the color and placement of the insects, you can determine if you are dealing with these moths. Bird seed containing microscopic moths or tiny, brownish larvae that resemble worms is a symptom of an infestation.

Kaldari, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
Kaldari, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

These tiny moths, which have a wing span of 10 to 15 mm, have a distinctive appearance. The hindwings are greyish white, whereas the forewings are reddish brown with faint yellowish-buff bases.

Microscopic eggs are laid by adult moths in grains or birdseed. A quarter of inch-long larvae that are ravenous emerge from the eggs. These larvae have tubular bodies that are tan in color with brown heads. Larvae of pantry moths adore eating grains like birdseed. They also like a variety of other pet food and animal feeds.

Birdseed moths can infest the following:

  • Bird seed
  • Dry corn and barley
  • Oats
  • Cat food or dog food
  • Animal feed
  • Flour
  • Cereal

To learn more about the different types of moths in our House Moth Identification.

Bird Seed Moth Life Cycle

During the egg stage, a single female birdseed moth can lay up to 500 eggs, with an average of 300 eggs. These eggs might be laid over the course of 18 days or all at once by the moth.

The larvae will spin web-like cocoons when they are completely developed and transition into the pupal stage. The cycle then continues as they develop into adult moths. You can be certain that your birdseed is infested if you notice adult moths flitting about, larvae, and cocooned pupae.

A pantry moth has a lifespan that ranges from 27 days to a little over a year. Although pantry moths can produce up to 8 generations each year, this process is considerably slowed down in colder climates.

Visit our Moth Life Cycle & Pantry Moth Life Cycle guides to learn more!

How Do I Get Rid of Bird Seed Moths?

So, how can you eradicate these moths from your house? A minor moth infestation in bird seed is typically easy to eradicate. Simply throw out your bird seed if the infestation is severe. Treat the space where the seed was kept after that.

You can freeze bird seed for 72 hours if it only contains a few moths or larvae or if you truly don’t want to throw your bird seed in the garbage. Before bringing the birdseed into your house and freezing it, it is advisable to seal the bags or food containers in some way.

To make things simpler, you might need to divide the bird seed into smaller Ziplock bags. You are then free to feed the birdseed to any that are in need.

Check your pantry (or storage shed) to make sure the infestation has not spread after getting rid of the infested seed. If so, you will also need to freeze or throw away any other infested items.

After removing the infestation’s source, it is also a good idea to take prophylactic action. You can use clothes moth traps to catch adult male moths and stop the females from laying eggs by hanging them in your pantry or barn.

Additionally, you could wish to hang sachets with rosemary, thyme, clove, or cedar. A fantastic all-natural moth repellant is cedar! Keeping cedar chips close by if you keep your bird seed in a shed or barn is a good idea.

The best thing to do is store your dry goods in sealed, airtight containers. This goes for cat food, dog food, birdseed, flour, dried fruits and vegetables, grain, etc.

As long as the container that you store food in has an airtight seal, moths will not be able to get in. Moth traps, moth-repellent herb sachets, and cedar blocks, pellets, or chips can help to make your space less attractive to these winged pests. Visit our Cedar Blocks for Moths guide to discover the various cedar techniques available!

Learn more about How to Get Rid of Pantry MothsHow to Get Rid of Carpet Moths, and How to Get Rid of Clothes Moths in our in-depth guides!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How do you get rid of moths from bird seed?

Getting rid of birdseed moths as quickly as possible requires destroying all egg sacs, larvae, and pupae. You won’t ever be able to eradicate the issue if you don’t eliminate the egg sacs, larvae, pupae, and adult pantry moth. Once all of the adult moths, egg sacs, and pupae have been destroyed, the rapid reproductive process has been momentarily stopped. Let’s stop the infestation for good from now on. Freeze any grain-based products you bring into your home, especially bird seed since it isn’t subject to the same regulations as human food. Any eggs present in the grains are destroyed by freezing them for a week before they have a chance to hatch.

Can you get moths from bird seed?

The answer is that you can transport an infestation from the garden center to your pantry. When you purchase and bring home a bag of seeds that is contaminated with moths, these moths can develop into adults. In locations close to your house, the adults mate and lay their eggs. They can specifically infest your pantry or other food storage areas. Don’t purchase birdseed if you ever see live moth larvae crawling through it.

How do you keep moths out of your bird seed pantry?

The best course of action is to keep your dry goods in airtight, sealed containers. This holds true for most grain-based food, flour, dried fruits and vegetables, cat food, dog food, birdseed, etc. Moths won’t be able to enter the food storage container as long as it has an airtight seal.

By Travis Amos

My house is my castle, and there is no space for unwanted neighbors.

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