Indian Meal Moth


Actual Size: 16 mm wingspan

Characteristics: Outer half to one-third of front wing covered with copper to bronze scales.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Yes

Habitat: Infests coarse flour, whole wheat, cornmeal, and nuts.


  • Found more often than any other pantry pest in the United States.
  • Found on every continent except Antarctica.
  • Adults do not eat; all damage is done by their constantly eating larvae.

Indian Meal Moths in Bristol

Indian meal moths get their name for their habit of feeding on Indian corn or maize. They are common all around the world. This moth is easy to identify because of its characteristic wing pattern where the rear half of the wings is distinctly copper or bronze-colored. These moths are general feeders upon grain and grain products, dried fruits, seeds, graham crackers, nuts, powdered milk chocolate, and candies. Home infestations can be traced back to nearly any food source but commonly originate in dried pet food or birdseed.

Indian Meal Moth Habitat

The Indian meal moth is the most common food-infesting moth found in homes, grocery stores, and any place where dried pet foods are produced or stored. Adults do not eat, and larvae feed constantly on grain products, spinning large amounts of silken webbing over the food sources. Since it prefers the coarser grades of flour, it is the most common insect found in packages of whole wheat, graham flour, and cornmeal. Nuts are also a common breeding source, especially the nut caches of squirrels in attics and chimneys.

Indian Meal Moth Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

The good news is that Indian meal moths do not bite or pose any serious health risks. However, they are known as one of the most frustrating nuisance pest problems. The larvae do considerable damage as they contaminate food and deposit silken webbing on food products. The waste from contamination is greater than the amount of food consumed. Flying adults are a common sign of an infestation. Adults are attracted to light and may move to distant rooms in the house away from the infestation. As a result, they are also commonly mistaken for clothing pests.

If an infestation is present in your Bristol home, locate and discard all infested material. Contact your local beetle exterminators for help or advice with Indian meal moths!