AppearanceAdults are 8–10 mm in length with 16– to 20-mm wingspans. The outer half of their fore wings 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 larvae are off-white with brown heads. There are 5-7 larval instars. When these larvae mature, they are usually about 12 mm long.
"They have five pairs of well developed prolegs that help them move considerable distances to pupate."
The entire lifecycle of this species may take 30 to 300 days. 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 larval stage lasts from 2 to 41 weeks, depending on the temperature.
NamingThis is, as far as is known, the only living species of the genus ''Plodia''. It is closely related to the genera ''Cadra'' and ''Ephestia'' which include other pest species .
The species has been described under a number of junior synonyms, which may occasionally still be found in nonentomological sources:
⤷ ''Ephestia glycinivora'' Matsumura, 1917
⤷ ''Ephestia glycinivorella'' Matsumura, 1932
⤷ ''Plodia castaneella''
⤷ ''Plodia glycinivora''
⤷ ''Plodia interpunctalis''
⤷ ''Plodia latercula''
⤷ ''Plodia zeae''
⤷ ''Tinea castaneella'' Reutti, 1898
⤷ ''Tinea interpunctalis'' Hübner, 1825
⤷ ''Tinea interpunctella'' Hübner, 
⤷ ''Tinea zeae'' Fitch, 1856
⤷ ''Unadilla latercula'' Hampson, 1901
The common name for this species was coined by Asa Fitch, an entomologist employed by the state of New York in the 19th century. In a report published in 1856, Fitch discussed the species, noting the larvae infest stores of cornmeal, which was then called "Indian meal".
StatusThe Indian mealmoth larvae can infest a wide range of dry foodstuffs of vegetable origin, such as cereal, bread, pasta, rice, couscous, flour, spices, or dried fruits and nuts. More unusual recorded foods include chocolate and cocoa beans, coffee substitute, cookies, dried mangelwurzel, and even the toxic seeds of jimsonweed. They have also been known to infest commercial bird food, such as cracked corn. The food they infest will often seem to be webbed together.
FoodIts larvae are commonly known as waxworms like those of its relatives, though they are not the particular waxworms often bred as animal food. They are a common grain-feeding pest found around the world, feeding on cereals and similar products.
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