Indian Meal Moth

Plodia interpunctella

Indian meal moth

Indian meal moth adult; note copper-colored wing tips (Mark Dreiling,

Indian meal moth

Indian meal moth larvae and adult (Clemson University,


  • very tiny moth: 5/8 - 3/4 inch long
  • weak, meandering fliers
  • wings with copper-colored tips (use hand lens to see wing tips if necessary)
  • typically fly at night

Nesting Habits

  • lay eggs on stored food products
  • pupate off food in food storage area, containers, etc.


  • wide variety of stored food products
  • grains/grain products, cereals, dried fruits, seeds, nuts, powdered milk, biscuits, chocolate, candy, spices, dry pet food, bird seed, etc.


  • very common in homes and food storage areas
  • larvae feeding destroys stored food items
  • contamination by larvae droppings and silken webs
  • moths are an annoyance to building occupants

IPM Recommendations

  • Inspect all incoming food items for pests.
  • Clean up all spilled food products and food storage shelves and storage areas in general.
  • Store all susceptible food items in pest-proof containers.
  • Keep food in regular rotation.
  • Keep moisture low in food storage areas by improving ventilation.
  • Dispose of infested food items.
  • Indian meal moth traps can monitor and help control moths.

Additional Resources

IPM for Fabric and Pantry Pests: Integrated Pest Management in Sensitive Environments (University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension)