Pet Store Insect Problems

Since they feed on any items containing grain, Indianmeal moths are common pests found in pet stores. The Indianmeal moth is a particular problem in bird seed, but can also be found in dry pet foods.

Indian Meal Moth (Plodia interpunctella)

These moths are often called "miller moths" or pantry moths and can be seen flying around the store. This is one of the easiest stored food insects to identify because the adults have a colorful appearance and the larvae (which look like yellowish-white worms) leave a silken webbing trail wherever they crawl. Newly emerged adults have bi-colored (copper and tan) wings and measure about 1/2" from top to bottom. The IMM larvae most commonly feed on grain products including flour, cereal, nuts, bird seed and pet food.

Trap placement and use: Although there is no exact number of traps that you should place within your home, we can give you some general guidelines. In general, a store should use one to two traps in a small storage room and traps can be conspicuosly placed around sensitive items in the retail space.. Sensitive items include bird see and any type of dried food for cats,dogs or other animals. Items containing seeds or nuts are especially prone to insect attack. Traps should be placed at eye level for easy access. Traps are effective for two months, after this they should be replaced with new ones. For more information click here.

Red and Confused Flour Beetle (Tribolium spp.)

The "Red Flour Beetle" and the "Confused Flour Beetle" are actually 2 species that are very similar in appearance and diet . These beetles are small at 4 - 5 mm or 1/6 to 1/5 of an inch in length and are reddish bown in color. Often found in flour, they may infest any product made with grain, but they cannot infest sound (undamaged) grain. Flour beetles require about a month to complete their life cycle. Adults may live up to three years.

Trap placement and use: Since flour beetles usually won't fly into a trap, It is best to trap them with flat traps or pitfall traps. Flour beetles typically only travel a few feet from their food source, so traps placed directly in the food pantry will give you the best indication if these beetle pests are present or if you have eliminated the problem.

Learn about controlling insects without pesticides

Let's take a little time to find out about this guy that spends your money so freely. This is one of the easiest stored food insects to identify because the adults have a colorful appearance and the larvae leave a silken webbing trail wherever they crawl. Newly emerged adults are bi-colored and measure about 1/2" from top to bottom.


  • Eggs are microscopic. Female adults lay 200-400 eggs during their short lifetime.
  • Larvae: Usually feed in protected areas such as the ears on a bag or in cracks and crevices. This is the damaging stage. The larvae can chew through bags of food and seed. These larvae are yellowish-white in color but will take on several tints of light green, pink and brown.
  • Pupa: This quiescent stage can be seen covered in a silken cocoon. No damage occurs during this stage.
  • Adult: Indianmeal moths only live for 5-7 days. Their major function is to reproduce. This is why the pheromone traps work so well. The male moth is very attracted to the pheromone scent.
  • Life Cycle: All insect life cycles are dependent on temperature and environmental conditions; but in the summer months (65°F+, 18°C+) the IMM will take 5 to 7 weeks to develop. Although this pest is not a native to the US, it has spread throughout.

WAREHOUSE BEETLE (Trogoderma variable)

This small, oval beetle is a common pest of dog food. Warehouse beetles feed primarily on animal products, but will readily feed on grain and cereal products.


  • Larvae: are orange-brown in color and look hairy. The hairs of the larvae can cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals especially when swallowed.
  • Adult: The adult is a tiny black beetle with white or lightly colored markings on its back.
  • Life Cycle: From egg to adult can be completed in 43 days, but they can stay in diapause (hibernation) for up to two years.
  • Trap Use and Placement: There is no exact number of traps that should be placed in a Pet Store to detect the presence or absence of insect pests. This will vary depending upon the size of the store and the number of rooms. In general, both types of traps should be placed 25-50 feet or 6-15 meters apart (3/1000 ft3 or 0.9 m3) at eye level. Lures should be replaced every 60 days and traps should be replaced when necessary.