Moths. I bet you didn’t expect to find them crawling around inside your flour sack. Sadly, moths are drawn to more than simply carpet and apparel. It turns out that some species would cheerfully lay their eggs all over your cupboard so that the entire creepy-crawly family can enjoy the cereal, dog food, or other delicacies you have. These species especially love grains and nuts.
Knowing the life cycle of the pests in your kitchen will help you stop their infestation before it even starts. For this reason, this article will present the life cycle of the pantry moth so that you can avoid your food getting savaged.
What Are Pantry Moths?
Pantry moths, also referred to as Indian meal moths, are one of the more prevalent pests in kitchens. They can be found anywhere, including in Europe and North America. Because they adore cereals, grains, and nuts as food, pantry moths frequently enter homes through such items.
For instance, certain grocery store items could accidentally contain eggs that would later develop and hatch into larvae. Visit our guide on What Do Moths Eat? to learn more!
The nearby food is then consumed by the larvae of pantry moths. Once moths reach adulthood, the females can lay up to 500 eggs in one lifetime. A pantry moth infestation can be a nightmare as a result.
Additionally, those larvae and eggs have the potential to contaminate significant amounts of food and you must throw away anything that comes into contact with them. The positive news is that they are at least not toxic.
How to Identify a Pantry Moth
Adult pantry moths are simple to identify. They have bronze wings with potential patterns, such as a black line running horizontally through the middle. Some will appear a little bit lighter in hue. Visit our guide on House Moth Identification to learn more!
The larvae are almost imperceptible, but the eggs? Those are challenging to miss. They have off-white bodies and a few of them could fit on a small coin; they resemble maggots in appearance. They chew through cardboard and leave behind white silk-covered tracks, which you can locate on corners.
Where Do Pantry Moths Come From?
There are several different ways that these pests can get inside your home. They can enter through unlocked windows and doors. They can get in through gaps around plumbing pipes, cables running through walls, or dryer vent openings. Another typical way they enter your home is by hiding inside food packaging or tainted food purchased from a store or warehouse, such as pet food. The issue will probably worsen if they’ve gotten into a food item.
The pantry moths have a goal. They infest areas where there is a plentiful supply of food and have only one goal: to reproduce. They can lay their eggs safely in this, giving their young the best chance of surviving.
Both a partner and a food supply can be found by them using their sense of smell. They may have already set their eggs inside so you might not discover them until you see an adult moth buzzing around your house.
Pantry Moth Life Cycle
1. Pantry Moth Propagation
A single female Pantry Moth can lay approximately 500 eggs, with an average of 300 eggs, as was previously indicated. The moth will lay these eggs over the course of 18 days or all at once.
The incredibly tiny eggs will be close to foods, particularly those that have a strong aroma or are poorly wrapped. Within seven days of being laid, those eggs will then hatch. It occasionally takes up to 14 days.
2. Pantry Moth Larval Stage
The most harm is caused by Indian meal moths when they are in their larval stage. They have an insatiable appetite and will continuously consume food, excreting waste known as frass. The food will become contaminated and useless due to the frass and webbing.
The larval stage typically lasts for two to three months, depending on the environment and the availability of food. However, in other environments, the larvae take up to 210 days to grow.
3. Pantry Moth Pupal Stage
The larvae transition to the pupal stage once they have eaten themselves into a food coma. The larvae construct cocoons over their bodies at this time in the cracks, fissures, or corners close to their food source.
One surefire sign that you have a pantry moth infestation is when the cocoons are occasionally concealed beneath collections of webs and debris. Pupae spend about 15 to 20 days developing into adult Pantry Moths.
4. Adult Pantry Moth Stage
When fully developed moths emerge from their cocoons and start flying toward any light source you have in the kitchen, the last stage of the Pantry Moth life cycle has begun.
In a comedic way, this common bumping and groaning against light bulbs is a method of luring a mate for reproduction. It’s interesting to note that mature pantry moths have no mouths and do not require food.
Finding a light, finding a mate, and depositing eggs to perish are their only goals. Because mature moths only live for 5 to 25 days, you usually won’t notice them until you discover them when sweeping up dust bunnies.
Pantry Moth Life cycle Summary
In conclusion, a Pantry Moth can live for anywhere between 27 days and slightly over a year. Pantry Moths can have up to 8 generations in a year, however, cold temperatures will significantly slow down this process. Because of this, moth sightings are infrequent when the outside temperature falls below 50 °F/10 °C.
Are Pantry Moths Harmful?
Although they are not known to transmit disease, pantry moths can contaminate food in a home’s pantry or kitchen. The sight of this might be disturbing, and replacing it can be costly. In facilities that produce food, its webbing can seriously harm equipment.
It’s time to thoroughly check your pantry items if you spot these pests within your house. Sadly, you will have to throw away any infected objects you find. If you find any evidence of these creatures, you should check nearby things as well and discard them.
Before putting any dry goods inside your pantry, seal them up in airtight containers to help avoid this issue. A routine inspection of the food items in your pantry, including any fresh, sealed containers you may have just brought home, is also a good idea.
It is simpler to prevent household pests than to eradicate an infestation. If your house is already infested, it’s critical to take preventative measures and act fast to eradicate the infestation.
Dealing With Pantry Moths
Nobody wants to cope with something as repulsive and harmful in their home as pantry moths. Since larvae have an average lifespan of 60 to 90 days, you must be prepared to address the issue quickly before it spreads to your kitchen and food supplies.
Never store food with the lid off or in non-sealing containers. If there are any larvae present, they will munch their way out of (or into) the plastic packaging of other foods, develop, and produce more moths.
For the storage of things like flour, nuts, oatmeal, and baking mixes, use resealable containers, silicone baggies, or even Mason jars. Use powerful traps for pantry moths.
Male Pantry Moths are drawn by the traps to a glue board, where they become trapped and perish. The females must breed in order to survive because they cannot have their eggs fertilized. To get rid of these bothersome pests in your home, think about buying pantry moth traps.
The Importance of Understanding the Pantry Moth Life Cycle
Even though adult pantry moths are not dangerous in and of themselves, you do not want them in your house, especially not with the mess they will undoubtedly bring in. Pantry moth larvae can quickly contaminate your kitchen, which will cost money to clean up and replace any impacted items.
One approach to prevent a pantry moth infestation in your house is to be proactive and understand the pantry moth life cycle so that you can monitor the issue and take appropriate action.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Where do pantry moths lay their eggs?
On grains and foods that have been preserved, you will find pantry moths laying their eggs. Finding an adult moth could indicate that there are items in the house that are infested. The damage is caused by the larvae, which can lay hundreds of eggs immediately on or next to prospective food sources (tiny caterpillars).
Do pantry moths go dormant?
The larvae spin fine webs and build a cocoon after reaching adulthood and finding a spot to rest so that they can develop into adult moths. It is once more inactive as the pupae develop. About two weeks pass during this phase.
What is the pantry moth life cycle?
The life cycle of a moth includes an egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Depending on the availability of food and the temperature, the life cycle may be finished in 30 days or it may take 300 days. The cycle completes more quickly the warmer it is. It usually takes 4 to 7 weeks.
How long do pantry moths live?
It usually takes 4 to 7 weeks. The adult, which can only survive 1 or 2 weeks without feeding, is typically the first thing to be spotted. The female may lay up to 650 eggs at once during this period, right on the food supply that the larvae would consume.