Various species of Moths, Weevils and Beetles combine to form a group commonly referred to as the stored product insects, they are responsible for infesting and damaging most stored products. Combined they can eat and contaminate, with their feces, a wide range of products including wheat, flour, fruits, nuts, oil seeds, cocoa beans, textiles, leather, drugs, poisons, fish and dried meats.
A lot of the damage is created by the larvae of some species, and for that reason the identification of the pest species involved is very important.
The Indian meal moth (pictured right) is a very common household pest. The distinctive 1/2-inch long adult is easily recognized by the pale gray and coppery brown front wings. The dirty white to pink larval stage is a caterpillar that crawls away from the infested products to find a place in which to transform to the adult. The caterpillars feed on the surface and produce silk webbing throughout the food source. The life cycle can be as short as 25 days. They can feed in dried fruits, powdered milk, chocolate, flour, meal, dried dog food, bird seed and a variety of food stuffs. They prefer coarse flours and corn meal.
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