Indian Meal Moth
This remarkably named moth (plodia interpunctella), which measures 10mm long, lurks in the larder. The adult moths are are grey/white colour at the front and the lower half is a rusty brown; the moths like to fly at night and lay eggs on grain and dried food.
The batches of eggs number between 40 to 350 and they hatch into small, whitish yellow caterpillars. These larvae - which wriggle vigorously when disturbed - spin silken threads in the infested food and feed for around 2 weeks before reaching their full size and pupating, before emerging as an adult in 30 days. This cycle takes up to 6 weeks and there are 4-6 generations per year.
If the moth is present, remove any foodstuffs – open or sealed – which may have been infected and use a vacuum cleaner to remove all food debris from cracks and crevices and behind appliances. Follow this by scrubbing the storage space and vicinity with very hot water and a strong household detergent- this should remove any infestation.
Once the pest has been removed, good sanitation practices in the pantry or larder should prevent any re-infestation. Store food in sealed glass or plastic containers and do not leave food spilled on surfaces or packets open. Regular vacuuming of hidden areas, such as under furniture and between cupboards and worktop surfaces, will remove pieces of food that the moth finds desirable.
Although not a horticultural pest as such, we were attracted by the wonderful name of the moth and thought you might like some further information!