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Indian Meal Moth
(John Obermeyer, Purdue University)
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Common Name: Indian Meal Moth

Order: Lepidoptera

Family: Pyralidae


Pest Status: Indian meal moths are common pests of stored foods in homes as well as in food handling establishments.

Appearance: Adults are small (3/8-inch long) with a wingspan of about 5/8 inch. The overall body color is generally brown-gray, but the tip half of the wing is rust or bronze colored.

Life Cycle: Female moths lay their eggs singly or in clusters on suitable larval food. The larvae hatch from the eggs and produce silken tunnels for protection while feeding. Larval development time varies with temperature and type of food material. Before pupating, the larvae leave the food source.

Where to Collect: Moths are often found flying in kitchens and other rooms of the house. Sometimes, the appearance of moths is an indication of a breeding population of larvae in some type of stored food.