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Species Page

Indian meal moth

Plodia interpunctella
This information is part of a full datasheet available in the Crop Protection Compendium (CPC); For information on how to access the CPC, click here.


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List of symptoms / signs

Fruit - external feeding
Fruit - webbing
Seeds - external feeding
Seeds - webbing


The presence of P. interpunctella in infested commodities is readily detected by observing larval webbing intermixed with frass, cocoons, adults and larvae.

Prevention and control

Cultural Control

Good store hygiene plays an important role in limiting infestation by P. interpunctella. The removal of infested residues from last season's harvest is essential. Ensuring that all spillage is removed and cracks and crevices are filled is also important. Infestations may also be limited by the storage of good quality grains, such as whole cereals with fewer broken grains and dockage and milled rice with a high milling degree (at least 95%) and few broken grains. Processing facilities should always have separated storage and receiving areas for raw (potentially infested) materials from processing and finished product storage and shipping, preferably in separate buildings at a site or at opposite ends of a single building. Food products received by a warehouse or processing facility should be confirmed to be free of P. interpunctella (Heaps, 2006).

Chemical Control

Due to the variable regulations around (de-)registration of pesticides, we are for the moment not including any specific chemical control recommendations. For further information, we recommend you visit the following resources:


P. interpunctella may be the most commonly encountered stored product pest in the world. In many countries P. interpunctella can cause serious infestations of stored products in large warehouses, grain elevators and food factories. In the USA it is one of the most common and important pests of stored maize and groundnuts. In Russia it is a secondary pest of cereal products, also causing damage to dried fruit and stored medicinal herbs.

The infestation of stored groundnuts by P. interpunctella, especially in southern USA, may cause considerable losses if unchecked. Attacks by P. interpunctella on processed foods, such as dried fruit, nuts and chocolate, frequently result in consumer rejection. Generally the infestation of raw commodities by P. interpunctella is tolerable until product loss and/or level of contamination exceeds some action threshold. However, in value-added finished food products, P. interpunctella at very low infestation rates, such as detection of just one individual, can have substantial financial impact on the manufacturer or retailer due to customer or regulatory rejection, even though the percent of product loss is minimal.