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a family of moths that have a wingspread of 1 to 3 cm (occasionally reaching 5 cm or more). The wings are variously shaped and colored. There are approximately 20,000 species, constituting several subfamilies that are sometimes considered to be separate families. Pyralids are distributed throughout the world; about 1,500 species are found in the USSR, primarily in deserts and steppes. Only a few species are encountered in the taiga and tundra. The larvae live in silken tubes, which are attached to plants or lie in the soil or sod. Sometimes they live in groups of leaves gathered with silken filaments. The larvae of certain species bore into fruits and shoots, and others live in water on aquatic plants.
There are many destructive pyralids. The European corn borer (Pyrausta nubilalis) damages sugar beets, hemp, corn, and hops. Mesographe forficalis eats various cruciferous garden crops; the seeds of crucifers are consumed by Evergestis extimalis and Evergestis frumentalis. Grass moths destroy meadow grasses and grain sprouts. Sunflower plants are damaged by Homoeosoma nebulella. The Iima-bean pod borer (Etiella Zinckenella) eats beans, and the Indian meal moth (Plodia interpunctella) consumes dried fruits. The meal moth (Pyralis farinalis) and the Mediterranean flour moth (Anagasta kuhniella) damage flour and other milled products, and the bee moth (Galleria mellonella) damages honeycombs and beeswax.
M. I. FAL’KOVICH