Indian meal moth

(Plodia interpunctella)


The Indian meal moth, which is part of the pyralid moths family (fam. Pyralidae) has become the most common moth in industry, trade and dwellings. The moths have a wing span of 15 to 20 mm. The part of the front wings which is close to the body is yellow-grey, whereas the wingtips are red-brown to copper in colour. Unlike tineid moths (fam. Tineidae), such as the webbing clothes moth, which have narrow hind wings, this species has wide hind wings. The female lays 200 to 400 eggs. The larvae grow up to 16 mm and vary in colour from white to greenish or reddish depending on their diet.



The German name “Dörrobstmotte” (which translates as dried fruit moth) is misleading as it actually affects all types of food, which is why we sometimes refer to it as a “pantry moth” in English. It can be found, for example, on dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, grains, mueslis, spices, etc. On grains, the larvae eat the germ layer of the kernels, meaning that you can find chewed holes on the foodstuffs. The foodstuffs become highly contaminated by the webs spun by the moths and by their droppings. The adult caterpillars go through a migratory phase when they search for a place to pupate. In the process, they also gnaw on and damage materials which are not suitable for eating (e.g. fabrics, book covers, etc.).