Indian meal moths or pantry moths lay tiny eggs (0.5 mm) in or near potential food plants. When conditions are right, larvae or "tiny whitish caterpillars" hatch, eat, and then spin a tiny silken cocoon.
Besides bird seed, Indian meal moths also may be found in all cereal food products, whole grains, dried fruits, cornmeal, flour, pasta and pet food. They are not related to clothes moths.
Meal moths can be difficult to eliminate once they've taken up residence, so a good cleaning is a necessary if you’ve experienced and infestation. Throw the contaminated bird seed in a back corner or compost heap and wash all containers thoroughly. The Wild Birds Unlimited - East Lansing, Michigan store also has the moth pheromone traps. Place one of these non-toxic traps in the garage to inhibit the development of adult moths.
The following are a few suggestions to prevent an Indian Meal Moth re-infestation:
|Adult in Resting Position|
2) Storage Conditions - Store seed in a cool, dry place, or a freezer to prevent moths from hatching. In the winter, the bird seed can be stored up to 3-4 months in a steel can outdoors or in an unheated garage.
3) Sterilize Seed – You can use heat to kill any larvae and eggs that may be in the food. In a conventional oven, spread seed out on a flat baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes at 300 degrees. Sterilizing your seed will not alter the attractiveness of the seed for your birds.
4) Seed Selection – You are less likely to find eggs in seed that has no shell. When sunflowers seeds have their shells removed it also removes almost all eggs. Wild Birds Unlimited No-Mess Blend or Shelled Sunflower seeds rarely carry eggs, but may be re-infested if Indian meal moths are in the home. Nyjer (thistle) and safflower seed are also less likely to be infected initially.
What is No-Mess Bird Seed? http://bit.ly/tRaefu
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Seed Storage Cans and WBU Seed Scoops http://bit.ly/uBaSwO
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