The Indian meal moth is the most common moth we deal with. They have stripes that go across the wings. This pest can infest any organic matter found in the pantry and it is the most common insect found in packages of whole wheat, graham flour, and corn meal. Another food moth we deal with are Angoumois Grain Moths. It attacks dried grains in storage as well as those maturing in the field. This moth is active at low temperatures and does much damage in the winter. Certain food moths, because of dormancy in summer, may have a full life cycle from 3 weeks to as much as 1 year. The larvae is 9 to 19 mm in length, and is usually dirty white in color, but may range from pink to brown to a greenish tinge. Larvae pupate mostly in March and emerge in April. The female commences to ovipos it about three days after emergence, laying 200 to 400 eggs.
Fabric moths can be confused with a species of the grain moth. It is the larvae of the fabric moth that does the most damage to clothing. Items damaged are those containing a protein material known as keratin. It is a naturally occurring material in wood, hair, fur, horns, hoofs, and feathers. The Webbing Clothes Moth and the Case making Moth are the two most commonly encountered species. A third kind, the tapestry or carpet moth is seldom a problem in the U.S. Webbing clothes moths are covered with shiny golden scales and their eyes are black. The head of the Webbing clothes moth is covered with reddish-brown hair. They are weak flyers and like the darker areas of the room and avoid light. The case making clothes moth has to encase itself in a silken tube or case, in which it lives. The forepart of its body and legs protrude and it drags its case behind as it moves to newer feeding areas. The larvae will die if removed from this silken case. When ready to pupate the larva draws itself completely inside the case and seals off both ends. The first stage larvae cannot survive on clean wool. They need additional nutrients provided by soiled woolens.