The Indian meal moth (Plodia interpunctella) is a commonly encountered pest in the home year round. The adults are about 12 mm (0. 5 inches) long and are distinct from other moth pests in homes by having a reddish-brown forewing with a light grey basal area. The moths fly around erratically, mostly at night.

The mature, creamy coloured caterpillars are about 12 mm (0. 5 inches) long with a brown head, and are often seen crawling up walls a week or so before they change into the moth stage.

The Problem

This insect pest is commonly introduced into the home through infestations in raw sunflower seeds, dried fruits, pet bird food and in chocolates which contain nuts.

What You Can Do

Improved storage of dry foods in sealable glass or polythene containers protects against these and other pantry pests.

Watch for incoming infested food materials. These should be immediately frozen to control the pest before returning the product to the store.
Similarly before disposing of any infested container contents, freezing for a few days will usually kill off any living stages.

Spraying is not required or recommended.