Worm Found in Dog Food Might Be Indian Meal Moth Larvae

A reader recently reached out to us because she discovered a worm-like organism in some dog food. She explained, “I found the attached larvae in the plastic scoop included with my sealed plastic dog food container. We immediately buy food and empty directly into container. We clean the wood floors daily.” She wants to know if this is a baby carpet beetle larvae or something else. Here is the photo she sent us:

We don’t think this is a carpet beetle larva. After looking at the photograph, we know a few things about the specimen. Using the dog food as a size comparison, we can tell that this creature is quite tiny. It has a tan or pink segmented body, and a small brownish-red head. We believe this is an Indian Meal Moth Larvae!
Indian Meal Moth Larvae are likely the most common pest found in kitchens and pantries in the United States. These larvae feed on a wide variety of items: grain products, nuts, pasta, cereal, crackers, spices, birdseed, dog food, powdered milk, and whatever else is available. Adult Indian Meal Moths lay their eggs in the corners of packaged goods or directly in the food. When the larvae emerge, they will eat their way through the food leaving a web-like substance behind.

This larva was likely in the bag of dog food before our reader even brought it home from the store. She can go through the food and remove any other larvae she finds, or simply throw the food away. Getting rid of these larvae early is important because once they mature into moths and lay eggs, a full blown infestation can be underway.

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To end, one of our readers found a small larvae in the dog food bag she opened. We believe she has discovered an Indian Meal Moth Larva. We recommend she get rid of the food so that there is no risk of an infestation. In the mean time, if her dog accidentally eats a larvae or two he will be fine, these larvae are harmless!

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Worm Found in Dog Food Might Be Indian Meal Moth Larvae
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Worm Found in Dog Food Might Be Indian Meal Moth Larvae
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One of our readers found a small larvae in the dog food bag she opened. We believe she has discovered an Indian Meal Moth Larva.
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