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The Indianmeal Moth –- Mouse Connection Explained

By Chris Williams on January 13, 2016.

We’ve seen several white worms crawling up the wall in an upstairs bedroom. They’re about ½ inch long. I can’t tell where they’re coming from. Could they be fly maggots?

W. Y., Hooksett, NH

No, they wouldn’t be the larvae (maggots) of house flies or blow flies since these larvae don’t have legs and can’t climb, although they can wriggle around pretty good. You should have the “worms” identified to be sure, but I think they could be the larvae of a food moth, probably the Indianmeal moth. Mature larvae leave their food source and wander away looking for a protected place in which to spin a cocoon. This is when the tiny caterpillars are often seen crawling up walls or across ceilings (see Those White Worms Are Indianmeal Moths).

Mice Hide Food That Food Insects Infest

“Really!” you’re saying. “Why would there be food moths in a bedroom?” In cases like this, we would first suspect that mice had hidden food inside a wall or ceiling void which has become infested with Indian meal moths (see Mice Will Hoard Food in Wall Voids). If that’s the case, there could be other food pests such as sawtoothed grain beetles or dermestid beetles feeding on the hoarded food as well.

Next question is “Where are mice in a bedroom getting the food?” Mice like to hide a supply of food, usually (but not always) within10 feet of their nest, but that is 10 feet in any direction including above or below. Your kitchen, with crumbs or pet food left out, might be directly below this bedroom, or there could be bird seed or dry pet food stored nearby. Or maybe the occupant of the bedroom has a hidden food stash.

The source of the moths doesn’t have to be food hidden by mice. Squirrels or other animals denning in an attic above will also cache nuts, pet food, or seeds that can become infested with food pests. Indianmeal moths will infest some surprising items such as fish food, spices, and bean mosaic pictures!

Seen Any Little Moths Flying Around?

If you think about it you may have seen small adult moths flitting around in various parts of the house. The Indianmeal moth is about 3/8 inch long and flies to lights. Its wings are gray near the base with a broad coppery band across the tips.

Give Colonial Pest a call. A professional inspection might uncover a mouse infestation that you didn’t even know about. We can take care of that. We can also place pheromone traps to check for Indianmeal moths and other hidden food pests. And if an animal is making your attic home, we can take care of that, too. We do pests so you don’t have to!

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