Indianmeal moth is most common stored food pest in Georgia

Information from Daniel R. Suiter, Michael D. Toews, and Lisa M. Ames, UGA Department of Entomology

Several dozen insect species infest food and non-food products of plant and animal origin commonly found in homes. Most of these stored product pests are small beetles or moths. Often the first sign of a stored product pest infestation is the sudden, unexplained and persistent presence of numerous insects in a particular area of the home.

The UGA Department of Entomology has an excellent resource for identifying and controlling stored product pests in the home. The following article on Indianmeal moth is an excerpt from this publication. See the entire publication here.

The Indianmeal moth (approximately 1/2 inch long) is the most common stored product pest found in homes, where it commonly infests cereal and other grain-based foods.
The Indianmeal moth (approximately 1/2 inch long) is the most common stored product pest found in homes, where it commonly infests cereal and other grain-based foods.

The Indianmeal moth, Plodia interpunctella, is the most common stored product pest in homes, where it infests bird seed, breakfast cereals, and other consumables.

Indianmeal moths are most commonly found infesting food items in kitchen cupboards, but adults may be found throughout the home because they are excellent fliers and readily disperse from the food item they are infesting. Adults may be found well-away from the larval food source.

Adult Indianmeal moths are distinctive in appearance. Their wings are bi-colored, and alternate between beige and copper. Moths are most active at dusk, when they can be seen (indoors) flying while searching for mates and food. During the day, moths can be found resting motionless on walls and ceilings, often near their larval food source. Adults are shortlived and do not feed.

Indianmeal moth larvae (approximately 5/8 inch long and dirty-white to pink to greenish colored) often crawl away from feeding sites before they pupate.
Indianmeal moth larvae (approximately 5/8 inch long and dirty-white to pink to greenish colored) often crawl away from feeding sites before they pupate.

Indianmeal moth larvae, just before they pupate, are approximately 5/8 inch long, cylindrical, and dirty-white to a faint pink or green color. Larvae produce visible silk webbing in the items they infest and generally pupate close to the items they are infesting.

Just prior to pupation, larvae crawl away from their feeding site to pupate at the intersection of a ceiling and wall or similar seam within the cupboard, including spaces between walls and shelves and in the tight folds of packaging. Another favorite pupation site is between the corrugations of cardboard boxes. When looking for Indianmeal moths, inspectors should look between a product’s cardboard box and liner by lifting the liner out of the box.

A telltale sign of Indianmeal moth infestation is the presence of silk webbing produced by larvae.
A telltale sign of Indianmeal moth infestation is the presence of silk webbing produced by larvae.

For information on control read these sections of the publication:

Solving a Current Infestation of Stored Product Pests

Preventing Future Infestations of Stored Product Pests

Topics in the Stored Product Pests in the Home publication include:

Leave a Reply