Meal Moth larvae dine on stored grains and can be found gorging themselves in silos, warehouses, and pantries around the world.
The Meal Moth has a global presence thanks to mankind's ability to store dried grain crops. Larvae of this species are not particular about the grain, and eat into stashes of wheat, barley, corn, rice, and other staples. Worldwide trade of these stored grains made it possible for the Meal Moth to find a food source anywhere grains are present. It has been found in the fields where grains are grown, in distribution warehouses, and even home pantries. Because most storage areas are temperature-controlled, the Meal Moth can be present all year round. This species is the only one of its genus that is found in the U.S. and Canada.
The adult moth is a chestnut brown color with a central, paler brown band that may have olive green hues. This paler band is bordered in thin, white, wavy lines and it stretches across the center of the wings. The inner middle part of the wings are dark. The abdomen may curl upward, poking out between its wings. The caterpillar is creamy white in color with a brown head. Its plump body may be seen inside bags or containers of grains as it feeds on the endless food supply.
Scientific Name: Pyralis farinalis
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 14mm to 30mm (0.55in to 1.17in)
Colors: brown, white, tan
Descriptors: grain, pantry, pest, bands, flying, crop pest
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.