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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Moth? in Pantry Containers


QUESTION: We live in Chicago. You helped us out a couple of years ago with small eggs on our interior walls that you identified as moth eggs that would die due to lack of attention, you were right.

We now have small (about 1/2" long) bugs that appear to be moths flying around the house. We found them in our (not well sealed) pantry containers for rice, wheat, and nuts, but not sugar. We thoroughly cleaned the pantry and dumped all the food about 3 months ago but we still have them flying around.

Can you confirm what we are looking at and let us know where we might look for their "home"? Photo attached.


ANSWER: Dear Tom - Unfortunately, the link to your image appears broken, and I cannot view it. Please have a look at the information on the Indianmeal moth at  to see if it matches what you are seeing. If it doesn't, please try resubmitting your image on a follow-up question.
Waiting to hear back,

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Hoffmann Moth
Hoffmann Moth  

Hoffmann Eggs
Hoffmann Eggs  
QUESTION: I think you are correct with the Indian Meal Moth. Should we continue to look in the pantry for their home? I've also attached a copy of the eggs you identified before.
Thanks Tom

Dear Tom - Your moth does appear to a rather battered Indianmeal moth, and yes, you should thoroughly examine all your food storage areas (including dry pet food/bird seed storage) for signs of infestation. We had a problem with these moths ourselves several years ago, and now keep all infestable items (including dry fruit) in sealable containers such as Tupperware.

Hope this helps,

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad


Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.


21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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