Safer alternatives to protect stored food products from the Indianmeal moth and its larvae are being sought by Agricultural Research Service scientists at the agency's Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology (CMAVE) in Gainesville, Fla.

Scientists in CMAVE's Postharvest and Bioregulation Research Unit want to find alternatives that eliminate or reduce conventional pesticides and that also make sense economically. Studies have focused mainly on protecting processed cereal-grain products by using the infesting moths' own behavioral and physiological responses against them.

Cereal products become infested when females lay hundreds of eggs directly on the product or when newly hatched larvae crawl into the product. For a successful infestation, a cereal must have the appropriate nutrients for larval growth.

Read more about this in the May issue of Agricultural Research magazine, available on the World Wide Web at: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/may03/cereal0503.htm.