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Home > Bugs > Bugs of Homes and Structures > Indian Meal Moth

Indian Meal Moth—Plodia interpunctella

 

Indian Meal Moths are probably the most common pantry pest found in kitchens and pantries. The larvae infest a wide variety of food products, especially those of plant origin. They have been found in stored grains, flour, cornmeal, nuts, dried fruits, powdered milk, candy, chili pepper, fish food, dry dog and cat food, seeds, and chocolate. Most of the damage to food products is caused by the larvae spinning massive amounts of silk that accumulate fecal pellets, cast skins, and egg shells. The moth received its common name from the United States where it was found to be a pest of meal made of "Indian corn" or maize.

 

Indian meal moth adult Indian meal moth adult Indian meal moth larvae
Indian meal moths are 3/8 to 1/2 inch long with wings folded over the back. Wings are two-toned, with the bases a pale gray and the ends reddish brown or copper. They are often mistaken for clothes moths in the home, however the clothes moth does not have two-toned wings, their wings are uniform in color. The larvae are surface feeders. There are five to seven instars; mature larvae are 1/2 inch long.

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Identification and Control Information (each will open in a new window)
  • Fact Sheet: Indian Meal Moth [PDF]—Colorado State University Extension
  • Fact Sheet: Indianmeal Moth [PDF]—Ohio State University Extension
  • Fact Sheet: Indian Meal Moth [HTM][PDF]—Penn State Entomology

 

[Photos, left to right: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org; Pest and Diseases Image Library, Bugwood.org; Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, Bugwood.org]

 
It is the policy of the State of Maine to minimize reliance on pesticides. The Maine Department of Agriculture and the Maine IPM Council encourage everyone to practice integrated pest management and to use pesticides only as a last resort. The mention of pesticides in the fact sheets linked to these pages does not imply an endorsement of any product. Be sure that any product used is currently registered and follow all label directions.