Will Eating a Pantry Moth Make You Sick?

By Julie Miller
Will Eating a Pantry Moth Make You Sick?

Pantry moths find their way into our homes. They might find their way into our stomachs, too. It’s a good idea to be able to identity these winged invaders and then know whether or not it’s okay to gulp one (or a few) down.

Pantry moths, also known as Indian meal moths, are small winged insects, measuring about ½ an inch in length. They are quite distinctive looking. Their forewings are purplish brown with pale yellowish buff bases. Their hindwings are grayish white. As part of the pantry moth's life cycle, their larvae are white to yellow in color with reddish brown or yellowish brown heads. They can live from 30 to 300 days, depending on conditions. 

These winged invaders, flying in zigzag patterns, are most commonly found indoors—in locations where food packaging is stored such as kitchens, stores selling food, and food processing plants. They attack a wide range of products, laying their eggs on this (attacked) food and grain so that their larvae, with chompers ready to eat, are born to a feast.

Will I Get Sick if I Swallow a Pantry Moth?

Consuming a pantry moth is essentially harmless to a human. Thank goodness. Their eggs may end up our cereal, before we even have the chance to pour it out into a bowl. Their larvae may be discovered in an unsealed plastic bag of pasta, which is why you’d never want to eat wiggling pasta. But, if a few eggs accidentally go down with that bite of coco puffs or you feel something wiggling in your throat as it makes its way further down your esophagus, you’re going to be okay. Really. I’ll say it again. You’re going to be okay.

Pantry moths, like many other insects that might occasionally make their way into your belly, will simply be digested. You could also ingest an arthropod—like a spider, a mite, or a tick—and be fine. Additionally you’d be okay if you inhaled another insect like a gnat, a fly, a mosquito, or a bedbug.

Here’s the best news: Pantry moths do not produce toxins or carry diseases. They are not known to spread any known disease, parasites, or pathogens.

When Might I Swallow a Pantry Moth?

To be honest, I think we all swallow a bug from time to time. Remember that bike ride, many moons ago, with your best friend? One minute, you were laughing so hard, your head cocked back and your mouth agape, tears rolling down your cheeks as he recounted a story about a fishing trip with his dad…and then the next minute, you realize that something just flew into your very open mouth. You felt a flitter in the back of your throat, next to that thing—your uvula, and then, in a rush, you swallowed it. Gulp.

This is a common insect-swallowing occasion. You could also swallow a bug while running, simply inhaling too sharply, on that roller coaster at an amusement park, or while skateboarding down a ramp, to name a few.

How Do I Know It Was a Pantry Moth That I Swallowed?

Once it’s swallowed, it’s gone. You may not ever know. There are over 11,000 species of moths in North America alone, one of which could be in your belly. But fear not. The pantry moth, harmless to your digestive tract, is the most common of these.

Too, if you accidentally swallowed (though who does it on purpose?) a poisonous species of moth, it would be quite the feat, award-worthy for sure. Poisonous and stinging moths are brightly colors and often have spiny bodies. You’d have to shove quite a few of them in your moth to fall ill.

But, just to be safe, if you are vomiting, have stomach cramps, diarrhea, or other signs of gastrointestinal distress, you may have swallowed something that you shouldn’t have. Get off of that roller coaster, stop your bike, run (if you’re already running) to the nearest hospital or call your doctor’s office.

I Didn’t Swallow a Panty Moth, but I Have Them in My Home

If you realize that these scoundrels are taking over your pantry (or your home), look no further than Dr. Killigan’s Premium Pantry Moth Traps. We understand that a moth infestation can be disgusting and frustrating and are here to help. You are not alone in this battle.

The Final Word on Whether Eating Pantry Moths Can Make You Sick

No one wants to swallow a bug. No one wants bugs in their home either. If you find that you’re a part of the latter group, Dr. Killigan’s Premium Pantry Moth Traps are potent pheromone traps that will bring peace of mind back to your home. They are non-toxic, safe to use around children and pets when used as directed, and come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you purchase and then find that you are not completely satisfied with your Premium Pantry Moth Trap purchase, please contact us. We will not hesitate to make things right.


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2 comments
  • Hello Hg, Thank you for your engagement with our blog post. I am excited to hear you are interested in insects as much as we are. I cannot speak for how many calories are in a moth, but I have done some research and found that moths are very high in protein and very low in fat. Although, you would have to eat about 300 months in order to consider it equivalent to a meal. You are welcome to enjoy moths as your side dish, but personally, I will stick to killing moths instead of eating them.

    vanessa meyer on
  • I came on here looking to see if it’s OK to eat pantry moths on purpose. For example, if I wanted to have them as a side dish, you know what I mean? Basically, are they a legitimate food source? Years ago I saw a show about a guy in the desert. He had a flashlight and kept attracting moths and eating them. That always intrigued me because, like many, I often wonder how life would be as a survivalist. I understand you can eat ants, crickets, bees, June bugs, larva, etc. How many calories would be in one pantry moth? Thank you.

    Hg on

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