Q: I found moths in my dog food. Help!

June 27, 2010 | By Mary T. | 1 answer | Expired: 2036 days ago

Mary T.

What are tiny moths doing in my bulk dry dog food?

Chosen Answer

If the moths in your dry dog food are ½- inch long, dusty-gray or beige-colored moths, they are probably the pesky but harmless (to people and pets) Indian meal moths (Plodia interpunctella, or “pantry moths”) and they’re probably in other dry foods, too.

The meal moth is one of the disadvantages of buying thrifty dry foods (oatmeal, grains, bread crumbs, spices, pet foods) in bulk. These critters might have come home as eggs in the dry foods. Your first indication might be silky, webby clumps of food created by hatching larvae of the moths as they begin to feed (adults moths don’t feed, and they won’t live long after laying another round of eggs, but they certainly are annoying).

While dry food contaminated with meal moth larvae, technically, is not unsafe to eat, the “yuck factor” will make you want to throw it out. Look through all dry food containers in your pantry, and check for other sources. Freezing newly bought dry foods will kill any meal moth eggs that might be there, as will heating in an oven for an hour at 140 degrees F. Sticky pheromone traps can catch adult male moths, but the best remedy is to get rid of all contaminated foods and hope for the best next time. Storing in tightly sealed glass containers makes it easier to monitor the food.

Meal (pantry) moths won’t hurt your dog, and cats love to chase them.

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