Indian Meal Moth
The Indian Meal Moth (Plodia interpunctella) is a very common kitchen and pantry pest of a great many sorts of dried foodstuffs, including pet food (dried dog and cat food, hamster and guinea pig food, bird seed, etc.), stored grains, cereals, breads, pasta, rice, flour, cornmeal, spices, dried fruits and nuts, and even sometimes–reportedly–chocolate, cocoa beans, and cookies. The pest got its name in the 1800s, when cornmeal was referred to as “Indian meal.” It is sometimes spelled with the first two words joined together (Indianmeal Moth), and it has several other common names: North American High-flyer, Weevil Moth, Pantry Moth, Flour Moth or Grain Moth.
The larvae of this small moth spin silken threads as they crawl around, causing the infested food to look as though it has been webbed together. Newly-hatched larvae are very small, so are difficult to see. They are about ½” in length when fully mature, and range in color anywhere from yellow, to green, to pink, but with a brownish head (see photos below).
- Indian Meal Moth (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
- Indian Meal Moth (Penn State)
- How to Deal with Pantry Pests (Cornell)