What Are the Little Yellow Worms in the Kitchen?

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Foods such as chocolate and dried fruits can become infested with Indian meal moths.

A well-stocked kitchen is supplied with fresh fruit, baked goods and abundant packaged grains. Unfortunately, when you carry these foods home from the market they often bring tiny insect larvae along as passengers. Homeowners who find little worm-like creature in their kitchens most likely have Indian meal moths, insects that feed on stored foods during their larval stage. Indian meal moths are best controlled with proper sanitation methods.


Identifying the Pest

Indian meal moths are common kitchen pests. The adult form of this insect is a pale gray moth that measures 1/2 inch long. Its larvae are pale yellow or dirty white in color. They infest stored foods and build webbing in food containers. Homeowners with infestations of these pests may find may find larvae inside their cabinets and food packaging, or see adult moths flying about their kitchen.


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At-Risk Foods

Favorite foods of Indian meal moths include dried fruits, pet food, chocolate, nuts, seeds, powdered milk, grain and flour. Meal moths often infest packages that have been opened and improperly sealed, but they are also capable of breaking through foil or cardboard to infest unopened food packages.


Simple Solutions

Discard all food that exhibits signs of insect infestations. Indian meal moth larvae can infest a large number of food items, so inspect all stored foods carefully. Homeowners should also check decorative food items and pet food for signs of larvae. Disposing all infested foods is the best way to eliminate insects. Vacuum pantry shelves to remove all traces of insect larvae and eggs, concentrating on cracks and crevices where insects often lay their eggs.


Pest Prevention

Inspect all packaged foods before bringing them into your home. Most household insect infestations come from food items that were already infested with larvae at grocery store. Place all opened foods in plastic or glass containers with tight-fitting lids. Purchase food in reasonable amounts that can be used within a short time period. Avoid storing large quantities of dried foods for long periods of time.



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