The Indianmeal moth (Plodia interpunctella), also spelled Indian meal moth, sometimes known as the North American High-Flyer, is a moth of the family Pyralidae. Its larvae (caterpillars), commonly known as waxworms, are a common grain-feeding pest found around the world, feeding on cereals and dry grain products.
Etymology: The common name for this species was coined by Asa Fitch, an entomologist employed by the state of New York during the nineteenth century. In a report published in 1856, Fitch described the species, noting that the larvae infest stores of cornmeal, which was then called “Indian meal”.
Indian Meal Moth Facts
Indian meal moths are also sometimes referred to as “flour moths” or “pantry moths”.
Female moths lay between 60 and 400 eggs on a food surface, which are ordinarily smaller than 0.5 mm and not sticky. The eggs hatch in 2 to 14 days. The moth larvae (known as waxworms) are off-white with brown heads. When these larvae mature, they are usually about 12 mm long. The larval stage lasts from 2 to 41 weeks, depending on the temperature.
Adult moths are 8–10 mm in length with 16–20 mm wingspans. The outer half of their forewings are bronze, copper, or dark gray in color, while the upper half are yellowish-gray, with a dark band at the intersection between the two.
The entire life cycle may range from 30 to 300 days.