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 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.

Indian meal moth adult
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.

Indian meal moth larvae
The larvae are surface feeders. There are five to seven instars; mature larvae are 1/2 inch long.

Click on images to view full-size

Identification and Control Information

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