Our reader’s description of these worms is pretty spot on, “They are little cream colored worms with brown heads.” He has two questions he would like us to answer. First, what are these creatures? Second, are they safe to eat?
Worms in Bread are Pantry Moth Larvae
Today we will discuss two questions we received from one of our readers. He explained that he was enjoying some Hawaiian rolls when he noticed a few worms in the bag that the rolls came in. He had already eaten one entire roll before he noticed the worms. The experience really shook him up because he wrote, “My scalp is tingling right now from revulsion as I write this.” Here is the photograph he sent us:
We are confident that these worms are pantry moth larvae, which are also called Indian Meal Moth Larvae. Pantry moths and their larvae are likely the most common pest found in the kitchen. Since they feed on such a wide variety of food items, a pantry makes an ideal home for these pests. They eat cereals and grains, flours, dried fruit, bird seed, pasta, bread, candy, pet food, nuts, and dried herbs.
Pantry moth eggs often travel into a home undetected, hiding inside food packages. People often discover them in the larval stage, like our reader did. The larvae feed on whatever food items are available, leaving a silky webbing behind as evidence. When the larvae are ready to pupate, they often crawl to ceilings or walls. We don’t think our reader has a full blown pantry moth infestation on his hands, just a few larvae that were already in the Hawaiian rolls bag when he brought them home from the store. He can dispose of the rolls, and check other food items in his pantry to make sure there isn’t other evidence of these annoying creatures!
Finally, we don’t think our reader will get sick from accidentally eating a pantry moth larvae (or two!) That being said, if he is experiencing any odd symptoms, we encourage him to see a doctor as soon as possible.