Creature Feature

Indianmeal Moth

Although native to South America, the Indianmeal moth is now present in most of the world and one of the most common stored product pests. “Indianmeal” is another name for cornmeal, in which the American entomologist who named the moth found larvae feeding. Indianmeal moths attack a wide variety of both whole and processed seed products. They prefer coarse flours like whole wheat and cornmeal. In homes, bird seed and dry pet food are common infestation sources. Dried fruit, spices, powdered milk, and chocolate can be infested as well.

Adult Indianmeal moths do not feed. The larvae tend to feed at the surface and not deep within infested products. They produce silk webbing that aids development by creating a warm and humid environment. This webbing can mat the surface of infested products and cause more damage from contamination than from the amount of product consumed. Larvae leave their food source when ready to pupate and pupae can be found far from the infested product.

Locating and removing infested product can often eliminate Indianmeal moth infestations, especially in homes. Pheromone traps can help locate infestations by demonstrating sudden population increases in an area. They can also significantly reduce Indianmeal moth populations when they use a high amount of sex pheromone to confuse adult males and prevent them from mating with adult females (mating disruption).

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From farmers to consumers, stored product pests cause monetary losses from the destruction of valuable food products. After completing this course, you should be able to recognize and the twelve most common stored product pests, understand their biology and communicate how pheromones fit into management programs.

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