“Please help!” exclaims this reader in her submission about the “worm” she found “crawling all over [her] kitchen walls and ceilings. “What is this worm?” she asks about the off-white larva-like creature with a brown head in the photo below.
In addition to the photo, she also sent in a video that shows the critter wriggling about on some packaging from Aldi. From looking at the video (linked below), one can see that the larva does not have legs to walk on. Its squirming also shows us that it is quite flexible.
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All in all, taking into consideration its physical characteristics, as well as the location in which it was found, we have concluded that this is a pantry moth larvae.
Otherwise known as Indianmeal moth larvae, these little critters are notorious household pests that are not too uncommon. They often come about as a result of neglecting to clean one’s kitchen, but they can just as easily be brought inside on groceries. Yes, there are indeed pantry moth eggs already laid in a lot of the grains we bring home with us from the grocery store. This is unfortunate, but it is true.
Now, our reader only found one larva, but that does not necessarily mean that there is only one in her whole kitchen. First off, our reader should just take the larva she found outside. Following this, we advise that she check all the food products in her kitchen, and especially the grains and nuts in her pantry, for more roaming larvae or eggs. The signs of infestation on an item of food are quite obvious; the food will look discolored, there will be faecal pellets among the food, and likely eggs and larvae. Any infested items should be thrown out (they cannot still be eaten!), but not in a trash can inside the home (as the infestation can just continue to spread from there).
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As for items that could potentially be infested, either currently or in the future, we advise that our reader freeze these items for 48-72 hours in order to eliminate any potential eggs in them. This is a nifty trick one can employ with any at-risk food items immediately after bringing them home from the grocery store.
Lastly, we advise that she thoroughly clean her pantry and kitchen, and make sure that there are no crumbs or other food debris that is lying about and rotting, as this can attract adult moths who will come and lay eggs in such areas. In general, keeping up a consistent cleaning regime is a good idea to prevent the attraction of multiple species of moths, beetles and other critters.
To conclude, the “worm” our reader found on her kitchen walls and ceiling is a pantry moth larva. These guys are not harmful to humans, but they can infest one’s food and render them inedible. We hope that the advice listed above proves helpful to our reader and we are crossing our fingers that she does not find any infested items or more roaming larvae!