Indian Meal Moth

Categories: ,

Actual Size: Wingspan of approximately 16mm

Characteristics: Outer half of front wing has copper to bronze-color scales.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Yes

Habitat: Likes to infest coarse flour, whole wheat, cornmeal, and nuts.


  • The most common pantry pest in the United States.
  • Located on every continent except Antarctica.
  • Adults do not eat at all; all damage is done by their constantly eating larvae.

Indian Meal Moths in Mid-South TN

The Indian meal moth is a global pest that got its name because it enjoys feeding on meal from Indian corn or maize. Easily identifiable by its wing pattern where the rear half is distinctly copper or bronze-colored, these moths will also eat any other stored food products it can find, including dried fruits, seeds, graham crackers, nuts, powdered milk chocolate, and even candies. Home infestations often originate in dried pet food or birdseed.

Indian Meal Moth Habitat

The Indian meal moth is the most common food-infesting moth in U.S. homes and grocery stores, or any other place where dried goods are produced or stored. Adults do not eat, but larvae feed constantly and spin silken webbing over their food sources. They prefer coarser flour, like whole wheat, graham flour, and cornmeal. Nuts can also make an ideal breeding site, especially the squirrel nut caches in attics and chimneys.

Indian Meal Moth Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Indian meal moths do not bite or pose any serious health risks, but they are a nuisance in homes for their ability to infest grain and stored pantry products. The waste they leave behind is greater than the amount of food consumed. A common sign of an infestation is the flying adults that are attracted to light and can spread all over the room. Because of this, they are frequently mistaken for clothing pests.

If an Indian meal moth infestation is suspected in your Mid-South TN home, locate and discard all infested material. Contact your local pantry pest control experts for additional advice or assistance.