At this time of year in Canada, the prevalence of Indian Meal Moth seems to increase as this pest is present in stored grains, dried fruits, nuts, cereals and various processed foods. The larvae can be seen inside packaging that has or has not been opened in pantries and other food storage areas. The larvae spin loose webbing as they move through food stuffs they are feeding on and this is a good identification characteristic for determining the presence of Indian Meal Moth. The larvae vary in colouration like greenish/yellowish or even pinkish with a distinctive brown head capsule. When they have fed on the food source they are in, they can complete their life-cycle from egg to an adult moth in as little 40 to 50 days in normal environmental conditions. This can vary if its colder or warmer in the location they are found in and can create anywhere from 7 to 9 generations per year based on normal conditions and food source presence.
When the adults emerge, they have a distinctive reddish-brown colouration with a whitish band on the first 1/3 of the wings. If adults are seen flying around control can be achieved by pristine sanitation practices combined with a residual insecticide treatment. If no adults are present then a pheromone monitoring program can be implemented. In homes with larvae present in the pantry, removal of the infested material and a residual insecticide treatment will rid your home of this stored product pest. Call the professionals at Poulin’s for identification and treatment if you believe this pest is present in your pantry or if you’re a farmer in your grain bins.