Definitions

indian meal

Indian meal moth

The Indianmeal moth (Plodia interpunctella) is a moth of the family Pyralidae. Its larva is a common grain-feeding pest found around the world, feeding on cereals and dry grain products (see Waxworms).

Identification

The outer two thirds of the forewings are bronze or copper in color while the upper third are yellowish-gray, with a dark band at the interface between the two. The wingspan is 16-20 mm.

Up to 300 eggs are laid directly onto the food surface. These are smaller than 0.5 mm and not sticky. The larvae (Waxworms) are off-white, with a brown head and approximately 12 mm long when mature.

They are commonly called "flour moths" or "pantry moths."

A similar species is the almond moth, Ephestia kautella.


Systematics

The genus Plodia is closely related to the genera Cadra and Ephestia, which both have also pest species.

Pest Control

After larvae or moths have been found, it is important to throw out all grains (cereal, bread, pasta, rice), spices (salt, etc.), dried fruits (raisins), and any other food source that is not in a very tightly sealed container. The moths are able to get into surprisingly tight spots, including sealed bags and Tupperware containers. The food they infest will often seem to be webbed together. They are also notoriously difficult to get rid of. They also crawl on ceilings.

Last instar larvae are able to travel significant distances before they pupate. When seeking the source of an infestation, do not limit your searches to the immediate area where pupae are discovered.

One way to keep the moths away is to place Bay Leaves in the food containers along with the original grains. Though products already affected should still be thrown away.

Some people place questionable items in the freezer or refrigerator during the cleanout phase.

Nontoxic traps are also available to cut down on the movement of adult moths. For example, one type of trap is a triangular box with a lure inside and sticky walls. Moths are attracted inside by the lure and then stuck inside the box. Moths often do not even need a lure, common glue traps work well to reduce the number of adults.

See also

Footnotes

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