Indian Meal Moth
Indian Meal Moth
Indian meal moth adults have a 5/8- to ¾-inch wing spread. The wings are a burnished cooper, almost purple with a broad gray band near where they attach to the body. The mature larvae are about ½-inch long and dirty white, pink, brown, or light green. The head and top of the first body segment behind the head are reddish-brown to yellowish brown.
The adult females lay 100 to 400 eggs at night on the larval food over a one to 18-day period. Larval development requires 13 to 288 days. The average lifecycle, egg to egg, requires 25 to 135 days. There are usually four to six generations per year depending on the food supply and temperature. These moths usually over winter as larvae. The adults are more active at dusk and are attracted to light.
Indian meal moths are one of the most common stored product pests found in homes, food processing plants, and grain storage and processing facilities. The larvae prefer to feed on coarsely ground flour and meal but commonly feed on whole grains, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, beans, crackers, biscuits, dry dog food, birdseed, and red peppers.
The larvae produce silk webbing over the surface of the materials upon which they are feeding. The webbing contains large amounts of their frass (feces). The damage caused by this insect’s feeding is compounded by the presence of this repulsive mat. The larvae move into cracks and crevices in the food material, feeding within or near this silken mat. The mature larvae often move away from infested materials to pupate in cracks and crevices. This behavior pattern often allows them to be discovered by homeowners.