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Pest ID: Indian Meal Moth

Common Name:
Indian Meal Moth

Scientific Name:
Plodia interpunctella

Description:
An Indian Meal Moth adult has a wingspread (wing tip to wing tip) of about 5/8″ to 3/4″ (16 – 20 mm). Wings are pale gray but the outside 2/3 of the front wing is reddish brown in color with a coppery luster. Mature Indian Meal Moth larva are usually about 1/2″ (range 9 – 19 mm) long. Usually dirty white but color may vary to greenish or pinkish or brownish hue depending on its food source. Head and prothoracic plate/shield yellowish brown to reddish brown with 5 pairs of well developed prolegs on abdomen and each bearing crochets (hooks).

Places Most Commonly Found:
The adults cause no damage. The larva are surface feeders and generally produce a lot of webbing throughout an Indian Meal Moth infestation on part of the materials. They are general feeders and attack grain and grain products, a wide variety of dried fruits, seeds, nuts, graham crackers, powdered milk, chocolate, dried peppers, dry pet food and bird seed. Adults are attracted to light, but the larva will migrate away from the food source to pupate in dry, quite areas.

Most Active Period:
May occur any time of the year and are a common problem as Indian Meal Moth control in the early winter months when flour, meal and other baking goods are left stored in the cabinets or pantry. Females active mostly at night laying 100 to 400 eggs singly or in small groups. The larva establishes itself in a crevice of the food material and feeds in or near a funnel like case it has webbed together from grass and silk.

Difficulty of Control:
Getting rid of Indian Meal Moth is easy if food source is eliminated and proper sanitation protocols are used. Using Indian Meal Moth traps might work with small populations.

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