We just received this message from a reader, “I found small light pink worms in a kitchen cabinet where I store food. The first one I found was inside a peanuts bag. Then I started to find them inside more food packages. I don’t know where these are coming from or how to get rid off them. I’ve been searching for them in the cabinet but I can’t see them, they suddenly appear near food or inside food bags. I attached a few pictures I took. By the way, I live in an apartment building in Berlin and I am surrounded by a lot of plants and some trees.” These are the photographs:
What are these small worm-like organisms? We are confident that our reader has discovered the common household pests Indian Meal Moth Larvae. Adult Indian Meal Moths lay eggs in crevices like the folded edges of packaged goods or directly in the dried food. When the eggs hatch and the larvae emerge, the real trouble begins. The larvae will eat their way through whatever food they find in the pantry: dog food, grain products, cereals, pasta, nuts, crackers, spices, birdseed, powdered milk, and whatever else is available. Once the larvae have had their fill, they head to the walls and ceilings to spin cocoons and mature into moths.
Getting rid of Indian Meal Moth Larvae can be a difficult task. First, our reader will need to remove and inspect all food items from the kitchen cabinet where he stores food. He should look for signs of the larvae, like the trail of webbing they leave behind. Anything that has been disturbed should be sealed and thrown out immediately. He can also freeze everything for four days to kill unseen larvae and/or potential eggs. We recommend he throw away everything in his pantry and start fresh. He should also thoroughly clean the cabinet shelves with disinfectant and vacuum all cracks and crevices to make sure there are no hidden eggs or larvae left behind. To prevent future visits from Indian Meal Moth larvae our reader can store foods in airtight plastic, glass, or metal containers, and keep his kitchen clean.