Indianmeal Moth. The most common species of meal moths found in
the home pantry is the Indianmeal moth. All damage is done by the
larvae, which attack a wide range of products, including cereal
and cereal products, flour, cornmeal, rice, dried fruit,
dehydrated vegetables, nuts, chocolate, candies, and other
confections. When infestations are heavy, mature larvae can often
be found in parts of the house far from the original food source
because they move quite a distance to pupate.
The Indianmeal moth is a fairly distinct small moth with reddish
brown forewings that have a coppery luster on the outer two-thirds
and are whitish gray on the inner or body portion. The female moth
lays its eggs singly or in groups on food material. Eggs hatch
within a few days into small, whitish caterpillars.
Larvae of the Indianmeal moth spin a web as they grow and leave
behind silken threads wherever they crawl. When fully grown, the
larva is about 1/2-inch long and white with a greenish or pinkish
hue. This larva spins a silken cocoon and transforms into a light
brown pupa, from which the adult moth later emerges. The
Indianmeal moth takes about 6 to 8 weeks to complete egg, larval,
and pupal stages during warm weather.
Don't confuse Indianmeal moths with clothes moths, which are
smaller and have more hair than pantry moths. For more information
visit the Cloths Moths page.
click on an
image for a larger view