Indian Meal Moth

Classification
Species category: Stored product pest
Scientific Name: Plodia interpunctella
Family: Pyraloidae

Description
Adult are about 14-20mm (wing span). Basal third of the front wing is cream-coloured. The rest of the wing is copper coloured with dark grey spots. Larvae are yellowish white, sometimes reddish or greenish, and measure up to 17mm in length. It takes about 27 days from eggs to develop to adults.

Behaviours
Egg-laying commences within 24 days of the adult’s emergence and up to 350 eggs are laid during the first four days. When temperatures are low, the moth overwinters as larvae. It is the larvae that damage produce; the adults do not feed and have a short lifespan. Larvae are the primary pest of cereal grain and flour, ground nuts, and dried fruits. Webbing and frass are also produced in the infested commodities.

Region
It has a cosmopolitan distribution and has spread throughout the world by travelling on imported stored food produce.

Habitat
A tropical or subtropical species which is frequently located on imported cargoes. It is common in food production warehouses, particularly dried fruits, chocolate and cereal, where the larvae develop by chewing and feeding on produce.

Risks
Moth Larvae cause considerable damage to stored goods by chewing, feeding and contaminating with webbing and frass. Adult insects are not responsible for damage as they either feed on liquid food and water or do not feed at all.