White Worms with Brown Heads Found in Uncooked Pasta are Pantry Moth Larvae

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“Are these worms pantry worms?” asks this reader concerning the white worm-like creatures with brown heads pictured below. “Is it possible an infestation of pantry worms could be found in items purchased from the grocery store?”

Our reader asks this question because she found these worms in a “box of uncooked pasta just purchased from the grocery store”, which we are sure was a shocking sight. And to answer these questions, these are indeed pantry moth larvae (also known as Indianmeal moth larvae), and it is possible to find infestations of them in products brought home from the grocery store. Unfortunately, it is not that uncommon either. At least, it is not uncommon that there are pantry moth eggs present in products at the grocery store, but it is definitely more rare that the larvae are already fully-grown.

“Why aren’t manufacturers aware of this in their product before shipping to grocery outlets/ human consumption?” continues our reader. This is a good question, and one we cannot answer. If we were to guess, we would say that some manufacturers probably are aware of this, but it is very difficult to prevent once the eggs have already been laid, especially in products like pasta, rice and other white/beige grains in which the eggs would perfectly blend in.

Now, what we recommend that our reader do is freeze this pasta, with the larvae in it, before throwing it out. Either that, or she throws out the pasta in a trashcan not in her home. She wants to make sure that the infestation does not continue in her home and then spread to her other food products.

If she is concerned about the other products in her home that could become infested (such as other grains, pet food, and nuts), we recommend that she freeze those products too, for a minimum of 48 hours, to ensure that no larvae or eggs survive. Normally we do not condone killing organisms, but in this case it is a matter of protecting one’s health, as consuming infested food products is not safe, and these infestations can become a huge nuisance if not tended to immediately.

To conclude, the worms our reader found in her pasta are indeed pantry moth larvae. It is unfortunate that she wasted her money on pasta that was already infested with these larvae, but it is good that she caught it immediately, as it gives her a better chance of avoiding an infestation in her home. We wish her the very best.

Note: All About Worms is completely free, and reader-supported. If something that you find here helps you, please consider supporting us.
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Summary
White Worms with Brown Heads Found in Uncooked Pasta are Pantry Moth Larvae
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White Worms with Brown Heads Found in Uncooked Pasta are Pantry Moth Larvae
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"Are these worms pantry worms?" asks this reader concerning the white worm-like creatures with brown heads pictured below. "Is it possible an infestation of pantry worms could be found in items purchased from the grocery store?"
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Author: Worm Researcher Anton

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