Meal Moths, Beetles, & Stored Product Pests
Stored product pests are any pests that infest food products. These have complete metamorphosis, meaning the insect progress from egg, to larva, to pupa, then adult. In each stage the insect is totally different. The larval stage is like a worm or maggot and starts very small after hatching from the egg. This tiny larva feeds its way through the stored product growing larger and larger until it can pupate into an adult.
The first sign of infestation is usually the adult emerging out and becoming a pest by crawling or flying around. The adults will mate and the female will lay her eggs near or on the food source, sometimes after tasting it. The most common is the adult meal moth, known as the Indian meal moth, the less common drugstore or cigarette beetle is often found in New England.
To control: look for larva in any opened dry food product and discard or freeze it. Common sources include flour, corn meal, cereal, tea, chocolate, potpourri, dog treats, pet food, bird seed, oatmeal, granola. Think of undisturbed food product and check old expiration dates. You can freeze the product in the case of pet food or bird seed if you don’t want to discard it.
Meal moth damage (note the webbing and frass in the product).