Indian meal moth adults have a 5/8″ to ¾” wing span. The wings are a copper brownish colour with a grey band near where the wings attach to the body.
The larvae are about ½” long and dirty white in colour. The head is a reddish-brown colour.
Life cycle and habitat
Adult females lay 100-400 eggs at night over a period of about 18 days. The larval development requires 13- 288 days. The average life cycle, egg to egg, requires 25- 135 days. There are usually 6 generations per year.
Indian meal moths infest common stored products such as whole grains, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, beans, crackers, biscuits, dried dog food, bird seed and red peppers. The larvae produce silk webbing over the surface of the materials upon which they are feeding.
The larvae move into cracks and crevices in the food material, feeding within or near this silken mat. The mature larvae often move away from the infested materials to pupate in cracks and crevices. This behavioural pattern often allows them to be discovered by home owners.
All infested items should be discarded and all uninfected products should be placed in insect-proof containers. Shelves and cupboards should be thoroughly vacuumed and treated with a residual pesticide. Pheromone traps can used to help locate areas of activity.