The Indian Meal Moth is considered the most troublesome of the grain-infesting moths. Damage is caused by the larvae spinning silken threads as they feed and crawl, thus webbing food particles together. Besides infesting all cereal food products and whole grains, larvae also feed on a wide variety of foods and feeds such as dried fruits, powdered milk, cornmeal, flour, raisins, prunes, nuts, chocolate, candies, health food and seeds, bird seed, dog and cat food, fish food, graham crackers, dried red peppers, pastas, etc.

How to control them?

Stored-grains offer compact food sources for a number of insect pests. Good management practices are aimed at excluding these insects while maintaining grain quality. The longer grain is held in storage, the greater the need to maintain good management practices such as sanitation and residual sprays. When proper management is ignored, populations of insects which have been feeding and reproducing in grain residues are free to infest new grain. Once in the new grain, the insects continue to eat and reproduce. Substantial numbers of grain infesting insects can reduce the value of grain, or render it unfit for processing or feeding. Indian meal moths in the grain result in reduced grain weight and dockage because of contamination by fecal material and webbing.

Pheromone traps are commercially available for inspection, monitoring, and pinpointing infestations of adult Indian Meal moths. Insects use pheromones to communicate with each other, and are natural compounds created in the insect body. Many have been isolated in the laboratory and now used to lure insects into sticky traps. Not only is this a partial method of control but also mainly a method of monitoring, thus assessing in which area the infestation is worst, and enabling treatment to carried out with specificity.

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