U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version



Insects 2018, 9, 42


Copyright 2018 by the authors.

Open access



The larvae of the Indian meal moth, Plodia interpunctella (Hübner), can invade or penetrate packaging materials and infest food products. Energy bars with three polypropylene packaging types were challenged with eggs (first instars), third instars, and fifth instars of P. interpunctella to determine package resistance at 28 °C and 65% r.h. The packing types were also challenged with two male and two female pupae of P. interpunctella under similar conditions in order to determine which package provided the greatest protection against larval penetration. Samples infested with eggs, third instars, and pupae were evaluated after 21 days and 42 days to count the number of larvae, pupae, and adults found inside the packages. Packages challenged with fifth instars were observed after 21 days to count the number of larvae, pupae, and adults inside each package. The number and diameter of the holes were determined in each package, followed by the amount of damage sustained to the energy bar. Third and fifth instars showed a higher tendency to penetrate all of the packaging types. First instars showed a reduction in package penetration ability compared with third and fifth instars. The increase in exposure time resulted in an increase in the damage sustained to the energy bars. Among packaging types, the thickest package (Test A) was most resilient to penetration by all of the larval stages. In conclusion, energy bar manufacturers need to invest more effort into improving packaging designs, creating thicker gauge films, or advancing odor barrier technology, in order to prevent penetration and infestation by P. interpunctella larvae.