Don Silhacek, Mentor
Kimberly Bass is testing the hypothesis that the Indian meal moth (Plodia interpunctella) is attracted to some volatile emanating from the plywood in pallets used in warehouses storing commodity.
Counting Indian meal moth larvae in test samples.
The Attractants of Plodia interpunctella
Plodia interpunctella, otherwise known as the Indian meal moth, is the number one pest of stored food products in the United States. Each year the United States loses millions of dollars in revenue from these moths infesting grain and finished flour products. Last summer the observation was made that Indian meal moths were attracted to plywood pallets even if there was no commodity on the pallet. My project was to find out why this was happening. It was hypothesized that a volatile in plywood attracted the moths to the empty pallets that were commonly used in our test warehouses. In this project it was found that this hypothesis was not true. The results obtained show that plywood has no attractive volatile. We then hypothesized that the color of the pallet might be involved. In tests just concluded, we did indeed find that adult moths were attracted to the color brown. Further study is needed to understand all the factors involved in moth attraction and determine if more than the one color is attractive.