Little brown moths

Asked October 5, 2015, 1:37 AM EDT

Hello, We have small two tone brown moths. They are about 5mm and fly slowly. We put out several brands of sticky traps with pheromones. Aeroxon brand works far better than Safer or Pest Revenge. This has caught 4 to 8 moths per trap. I will post photos tomorrow. We have a lot of food storage, & dog and cat food in the basement and have now been putting most of that in giant Ziplock brand bags. These XXL bags can fit a 50 pound bag of wheat. Target store stocks these bags. Are these 2+Mil bags tough enough to stop a bug chewing thru? Somewhere is the "mother lode" where the moths are coming from. Haven't found it yet. I assume when I open a bag of flour, rice etc I will see weevil activity or moths flying out. Thanks

Utah County Utah

4 Responses

That description sounds like Indian meal moth. Here is some information from our fact sheet on pantry pests ( The main point is to find the infestation, and keep food in airtight containers. Regarding the ziplocs, the moths cannot enter unless there is a hole (the moths don't chew, only the larvae). But the adults can lay eggs on the tiniest bit of crumbs.

The Indian meal moth is the most common pantry pest in the world and larvae will infest a variety of grains, cereals, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, chocolate, candy, spices and powdered milk. Large numbers of Indian meal moth larvae can be found in dried pet food and birdseed. Infested food products will be webbed together. Occasionally, infestations may spread to stored clothing and fabrics; proper cleaning and storage will help prevent Indian meal moth damage to valuables.

Adults live for about one week and fly in a “zig zag” pattern at night and seek out potential food sources to lay eggs.

Regardless of which pantry pest has invaded the home, the only reliable control technique is to locate and remove all infested food sources. Use air-tight containers to help minimize infestations. The larvae can survive on food dust particles and will re-invade new food until the food source is removed or consumed.

To minimize pantry pest infestations, rotate all dried food and use older food first. Avoid keeping excess stocks of susceptible food items. Severe infestations generally occur in containers of food that have been stored for extended periods of time. When infestations do occur, examine all stored food, even unopened containers, for insect activity. Signs include the presence of beetles, larvae, and shed larval skins, or off-odors, flavors, or colors. Infested food sources should be discarded.

Thanks Marion, That's the critter. Photo matches. Thanks The Aeroxon pest cards work great. The other brands above might have caught one. The Lindon Nursery staff said Aeroxon were the best. There is an old bad of dog food I will check and get rid of. Thanks Ut State. This forum works well. GW University of Florida page with lots of "lovely" moth and larvae photos. Also more info and stories. I need to keep hunting for the source of moths. Much better with good traps: Aeroxon . Are the flying Indian Meal moths only males or do both fly? Thanks GW

Both male and female moths fly. But just so you know, all pheromone sticky traps, like the Aeroxon, are only attracting and capturing the male moths. (The pheromone mimics the scent that females use to attract males for mating.) So just be sure not to rely on that alone. Use the trap as a tool to see if your management program is working.

Good luck finding the source.