Indian Meal Moth – Public Enemy #1

Indian Meal Moth – Public Enemy #1

Pat Headshot

By: Pat Kelley

Most of what we know about the Indian meal moth, Plodia interpunctella comes from many years of scientific research. We study this moth, due in large part to its infuriating behavior of damaging our food supplies. Indian meal moths directly consume the food products we eat including nuts, cereals, grains, bird seed and pet foods. They also contaminate this food with their bodies, their webbing, and their feces. The damage that they perpetrate on the products vital to our survival makes them a serious enemy to our general well-being.

Public Enemy #1

In this same respect, the larvae of the Indian meal moth can cause contamination issues even when they aren’t directly feeding on our food. Indian meal moth larvae like to wander away from their food source when they are ready to pupate. In doing this, they indirectly contaminate both food and non-food products adjacent to the initial source of the infestation. The mere presence of moth larvae and pupae can bring about consumer
complaints and the disposal of perfectly good food. This is essentially collateral damage that this public enemy # 1 inflicts.

If we look at our relationship with Indian meal moths as a war, then we should look to the quote from Sun Tzu, The famous Chinese philosopher and military strategist
from 500 BC. In his book, “The Art of War”, he said

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of 100 battles” …Sun Tzu

In other words, Sun Tzu was saying that knowing our enemies is vital to winning our battles against them. This is an important concept for anyone dealing with pest moths. By understanding the life cycle, preferred food and habits of the Indian meal moth, we are better equipped to make decisions that will cause this pest insect to leave or die.

Take this opportunity to better know this particular foe. Watch the following new video of the Complete Life Cycle of the Indian Meal Moth to better equip yourself to fight this Public Enemy # 1.

IMM video screen capture


Dave’s Soapbox … for what it’s worth

Dave’s Soapbox … for what it’s worth

Dave Mueller Headshot

By: David Mueller

Dr. James Campbell is the 2018 Wendell E. Burkholder Award Winner for Excellence in Stored Product Protection.

Jim Campbell is a Research Leader and Research Entomologist with the USDA ARS Center for Grain and Animal Health Research in Manhattan, KS. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees from Rutgers University and a Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of
California-Davis. His research interests include the behavior of stored product insects and their natural enemies and how the use of behavioral information can improve the management of insect pests.

Jim works to research and develop better ways to manage stored product insects. These beetles and moths react much differently to chemical responses. Jim takes his ideas from the government laboratory in Manhattan, Kansas into the field to get a better understanding of their effectiveness. Jim is an educator. He has spoken at many
entomological science conferences along with continued education meetings. Dr. Campbell has worked internationally to develop methods of pheromone trapping in various conditions.

Jim is an invited speaker at the 13th Fumigants & Pheromones Conference. His topic is Pheromone Research and Development. The Burkholder Award will be presented prior to Dr. Campbell’s presentation.

A tradition of the Fumigants & Pheromones Conference is to recognize an exceptional scientist in Stored Product Protection with the Wendell D. Burkholder Award.
Previous award recipients were Dr. Franklin Arthur, Dr. Paul Fields, Paul Cogan, Dr. Rudiger Plarre, and Dr. Tom Phillips.

Dr. Wendell Burkholder spent 30 years patiently studying insect behavior and communication. His contributions were many with both USDA and the University of Wisconsin. A patient and generous mentor, Wendell was much beloved by his many graduate students and visiting scholars from around the world. Wendell was a soft spoken gentle man who always found time to share his time with you. He often picked up a phone and called his students just to see how they were doing. Wendell is considered one of the giants in pheromone research.

Wendell was a pioneer in the field of insect pheromones for biological pest control as an alternative to the widespread use of insecticides. His landmark research and product development have preserved countless tons of food supplies particularly in developing countries. Wendell traveled throughout the world sharing his knowledge. He was the inventor and original patent holder of a synthetic pheromone used in controlling grain
weevils and a pesticide-free trap for the monitoring and control of insects. The Wendell Burkholder Award was created in 1993 for excellence in stored products protection.

Jim Campbell

Jim Campbell, Ph.D.

David Mueller stated: “Dr. Burkholder would be very happy to have Jim Campbell, Ph.D. as the 2018 recipient of the Wendell E. Burkholder Award for Excellence in Stored
Product Protection. Jim has many of the same patient qualities that Wendell exhibited. Both individuals displayed the qualities of being excellent researchers and communicators in the area of insect behavior research and field application.”

Congratulations, Dr. Jim Campbell.


State Insect Chosen

Say’s firefly named Indiana’s state insect


Firefly Drawing by Arwin Provonsha, 1996

Several Indiana state officials, including Gov. Eric Holcomb, boasted about the persistence of a handful of elementary school students when it came to naming an
official state insect for Indiana.

“When we work hard, when we work together and when we never give up, we can make a positive difference in our world by being involved citizens of our great state of
Indiana.” Said Kim Bowers, Cumberland Elementary School principal.

Retired Purdue Entomology Professor, Tom Turpin, also spoke in favor of naming the Say’s Firefly (known to Hoosiers as “lightning bugs” or “fireflies”).

Cumberland Elementary school’s gym filled up with students and guests to welcome Holcomb for the bill signing on March 24, 2018. “Guys, you did it. Congratulations,” Gov. Holcomb told the students. “I couldn’t think of a better place to sign a bill… where it
all began.”

Four years ago, Kayla Xu noticed while doing research on the state, that Indiana was one of a few states that did not have a state insect. So, she and her classmates wrote letters and cards to get a bill, which would name a state insect.

“I’m so proud of all the work we’ve done,” Xu said. “Our amazing four-year journey had its ups and downs, but we’ve persevered, and we’ve made it.”

Governor Holcomb said when he first heard about the students pursuing this venture, he was all in.

Firefly article photo 2

Indiana Govenor Eric Holcolmb with students

“Doctor, I’ve got the bug,” he said. “Let’s get this done.” When the students go out and see fireflies during the summer months, they’ll have a constant reminder that they were a “big, big part” of getting them as the state insect.

Twenty-five states have butterflies as their state insect, while 17 other states have a type of bee.

The Say’s firefly has another connection in Indiana outside being named the state insect. Thomas Say, has been called the father of North American entomology, lived in New Harmony, Indiana, where he did his research on insects. Say is buried in New Harmony as well.

Firefly article photo 3

Students shine lights simulating fireflies at Gov. Holcomb
on March 25, 2018 at Cumberland Elementary School in
West Lafayette, Indiana. Holcomb came to the school to
sign a bill naming the Say’s firefly as the Indiana state

Source: Shannon Hall, Lafayette Journal and Courier.
Photo credit: John Terhune



13th Fumigants & Pheromones Conference

13th Fumigants & Pheromones Conference

Dave Mueller Headshot

By: David Mueller

Insects Limited and Fumigation Service & Supply are excited to introduce you to the 13th Fumigants & Pheromones Conference. It is especially exciting to see friends and colleagues from past conferences. We invite you to join us on June 11-14 for our 25th year of Sharing Trough Education.

Allow me to guide you through this year’s 25th anniversary educational meeting to be held June 12-14, 2018 in Downtown Indianapolis Indiana USA.

After arriving in Indianapolis. You head to the center of Downtown Indianapolis. From the airport you are 30 minutes away, and if you are driving you are about 20 minutes away from the beltway called I-465.

The big blue 33 story J.W. Marriott Hotel is a 4-star hotel with several other hotels attached to it. There is parking available nearby.

Registration is on the second floor of the J. W. Marriott Hotel. Barb Bass and her team will be there to assist you. Registration starts at 5:00 PM, Monday, June 11. Look for the conference banners near the Starbucks in the hotel. Here you will receive your conference booklet, list of attendees, name badges, other take home items, and drink tickets for the host reception on the first floor of the J.W. Marriott Hotel. During the host reception you will have a chance to visit with other attendees from around the world. The conference speakers and sponsors will also be there.

If you like professional baseball, the Indianapolis Indians play Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday across the street at Victory Field. Games start at 7:00 PM. Tickets are available.

On Monday, the conference begins at the Indiana State Museum. This is across the street from the hotel. At 7:00 AM registration and vendor displays will be set up in the Indiana
State Museum. Take time to visit the sponsors and vendors to see what’s new in the industry.

Conference Flyer

At 8:00 AM sharp, we will be in our seats and ready to start the conference. We pride ourselves on being on time so don’t wait too long to find a seat.

The first order of business is to have the attendees introduce themselves, their company, and their country. This is my favorite part of the whole conference. We expect 200 people
from over 30 countries to attend.

The keynote speaker is Dr. Steve Yaninek from Purdue University. Steve will speak about “Helping Feed the World”. Speakers to follow are Dave Mueller, BCE, Dr. George Opit,
Dr. Juergen Boye, Dr. Spencer Walse, Dr. Tom Phillips, Dr. Michael Doyle.

Lunch breaks will allow the attendees to walk the canal, visit the Indiana State Museum, and visit the sponsors and vendors.

We traditionally leave Monday evening open for people to go out to eat in Downtown Indy, visit the zoo, or visit a professional baseball game to grab a hotdog and a cold beer.
(The Indianapolis Indians are a AAA baseball team affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates).

Tuesday morning starts at 7:30 AM with a visit to the Indiana State Museum and the sponsors and vendor stands.

At 8:00 AM the first speaker is Dr. Paul Fields. Paul has been mentioned on the last two evaluation sheets as the speaker that people most want to hear again. Don’t be late. After Paul you will hear from Dr. Michael Doyle. If you haven’t heard Michael before, it is frightening, educational, and will leave you with some food you may never eat again… seriously! Michael’s years of experience with the CDC in Atlanta will make your hair stand up. Quinn Schroeder, Tom Mueller, Pat Kelley, and Dr. Jim Campbell will present new skill sets that you can take home to implement in your business. Dr. Jim Campbell will receive the Dr. Wendell E. Burkholder Award for excellence in Stored Product Protection. The afternoon will include Simon Ball from Adelaide, Australia, Jeff Waggoner, and Alistair Morton from Copenhagen.

A special evening is ahead of you when you visit the NCAA Hall of Fame. This museum celebrates university sports with many interactive opportunities. The special dinner on Tuesday evening will be in the NCAA Conference Center. This once in a lifetime opportunity is 3 blocks from the hotel. Dress is business. The remainder of the conference dress is business casual, and the workshops are casual wear. It will be hard to top the special dinner in Adelaide in 2016 with the ‘Legend’, but we will try.

One of the reasons this conference came back to Indianapolis in 2018 is because here we have opportunities to offer practical hands-on workshops. People have asked for this workshop after the strong reviews in 2012 here in Indianapolis. People learn by seeing and asking, and this workshop promises to be the best ever! You have 2 choices. Pat Kelley will lead the Museum Workshop with a lecture in the morning and a walk
across the street to the Eiteljorg Museum for a behind-the-scenes look at a world class pest management program. This Museum Workshop is limited to 30 people so sign up early, we expect it to sell out. The second choice is the Fumigation and Pheromones Workshop at the Fisher Food Grade Seed Company in Shelbyville, Indiana (30-minute bus ride). Here will be innovative technology demonstrations for insects, remote fumigant monitoring, recent technology in rodent control, innovative technology for pheromones, grain bin sealing, safety discussion, and more.

We will return to the hotel by 4:30 PM therefore, we suggest flight arrangements be made after 7:00 PM or the next day.

While in Indy, plan to visit the Indy 500 track and museum (20 minutes away). The Indy 500 race is on Memorial Day, May 28.
We look forward to seeing you in Indy in June!
Dave Mueller
Conference Host

conference link box



Pi Chi Omega Picks First Recipient of the Alain VanRyckeghem Scholarship

Alain Chemist

Alain Van Ryckeghem at home in his Laboratory

Letter from Pi Chi Omega to Insects Limited
April 2018

The inaugural recipient for the 2018 Pi Chi Omega Alain Van Ryckeghem Scholarship is Johnalyn Gordon. Johnalyn is a graduate student under Dr. Phil Koehler at the University of Florida. This is actually the second Pi Chi Omega scholarship that Johnalyn has received to support her graduate studies, her first scholarship was awarded in
2017. Her essay submitted with her application gave insight into her research and how she plans to contribute to the urban pest management industry.

I am so glad that this perpetual scholarship has been established in Alain’s name. Thank you very much to the dozens of contributors to this worthwhile cause. The financial commitment from these generous contributors was instrumental in establishing Alain’s scholarship. It will also help Pi Chi Omega continue the scholarship program for decades into the future.

Kind regards,

Andrea Coron

Pi Chi Omega Executive Director

Johnalyn Gordon

Johnalyn Gordon –2018 Scholarship Recipient

Pest-proofing a Single Exterior Door

Article is from Techletter For Pest Control Technicians – – Volume 34, No. 2 – Published by Pinto & Associates, Inc. 

Everyone knows that pest-proofing or pest exclusion measures should be part of any job involving pests that are getting in from outside. Pest-proofing of ground level or below-ground level doors is especially important since most foundation pests and rodents first interact with a building at ground level. Pests are attracted to exterior doors by odors, heat, light, or moisture escaping from inside. If there are gaps around a door, why search any further for an opening?

Pest-proofing of exterior doors is mostly directed at keeping out rodents but may also be necessary to keep out seasonal or occasional invaders such as stink bugs, oriental cockroaches, crickets, sow-bugs, even lizards. Sometimes interior doors need pest-proofing as well, especially in commercial accounts when you want to isolate a room or area that is highly desirable to pests such as food-handling or food storage area, or a restroom.

The main components for pest-proofing a single entry door are sheet metal flashing, door thresholds, door sweeps, and weather stripping. When pest-proofing doors to prevent rodent entry, the materials that you use should be gnaw-proof. Begin by standing in a dark room and looking at the closed door with bright light behind it. Look for light leaks where there are gaps at the bottom, along the sides, or at corners. These are the places that need you attention.

Door Bottom – Doors can’t fit so tightly at the bottom that they won’t open and close easily but there shouldn’t be extra space either that would allow a mouse to enter. There should not be a gap between the bottom of the door and the floor beneath the door. If the gap beneath a closed door is larger than 1/4-inch (6 mm), close the space by adding a threshold or by installing door sweeps that will cover the gap but still allow closure. There are automatic door sweeps for commercial sites, nylon, brush sweeps, and plastic or rubber sweeps (not gnaw-proof). In commercial sites or areas with rodent pressure, wooden doors can be fitted with 12 inch (30.5 cm) high, 26-gauge sheet metal kick plates on the outside bottom to prevent gnawing.

Door Sides or Jambs – Weather seals or weather stripping improves the tightness of the seal at the top and sides of a door. Weather stripping is available as foam tape, wrapped foam flange, or rubber, vinyl, or felt compression strips. Door sealing kits come in a wide range of sizes and include header seal, jamb seals, and door bottom seal.

Article is from Techletter For Pest Control Technicians – – Volume 34, No. 2 – Published by Pinto & Associates, Inc. 

Meet the House Spider

Article is from Techletter For Pest Control Technicians – – Volume 34, No. 2 – Published by Pinto & Associates, Inc. 

The house spider,  Parasteatoda tepidariorum, is also known as the American house spider, the common house spider, or the cobweb spider. It belongs to the family of comb-footed spiders, Theridiidae. This is the same group that includes the black widow and other widow spiders. While the house spider has some features in common with the widow spiders, it does not have a poisonous bite.

Like the widow spiders, the house spider female has a globular body that is about 1/4-inch (6 mm) long but the spider can be an inch (2.5 cm) or more across with legs outspread. Coloration of the female is variable, usually light tan with various darker markings giving it a mottled appearance that is sometimes confused with the female brown widow spider. The legs are banded pale yellow and brown. The less noticeable make house spider is much smaller than the female with an elongated abdomen and orange legs. He is sometimes found in the web with the female.

Female House Spider

The web is not a nicely-shaped, circular orb web but is instead a cobweb: loose, messy, and tangled. A light tan, almost round, silken egg sac or sacs may be hanging in the web. The egg sac is often bigger than the body of the spider. From each sac, an average of 250 spiderlings will hatch out in 7-10 days after which they slowly disperse from the web.

The House Spider as a Pest

House spiders feed on small household insects and other arthropods such as ants, flies, centipedes, and cockroaches. The spiders are found in their webs constructed in hidden, protected places preferably in damp sites. Webs are found underneath furniture, in corners behind doors, and near windows or lights that attract prey. The female cues in on web movement to entangle and paralyze her prey. Underneath the web, you may find dried out silk-wrapped prey carcasses that have been dropped to make space in the web.

If a web does not capture prey, she will build another, so the number of dusty webs found is not necessarily an indication of the number of spiders present. But in a desirable site, several female house spiders may build their nests near each other. When disturbed, the house spider will retreat and hide and may “play dead”.


Key Points to Remember – The house spider can be found outside but is common in structures, including warehouses, throughout the U.S. and Canada. It bites only in self-defense, but the bite can be painful. A female can live for more than a year, producing 17 egg sacs.

Article is from Techletter For Pest Control Technicians – – Volume 34, No. 2 – Published by Pinto & Associates, Inc.