Indian Meal Moths

Photo of Indian Meal Moths
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 stored grains, cereals, breads, pasta, rice, flour, spices, dried fruits and nuts, and even sometimes–reportedly–chocolate, cocoa beans, and cookies.  Not surprisingly, it is commonly associated with bird seed.  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.

Additional Information: Indian Meal Moth (Penn State)