Mediterranean Flour Moth

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Scientific Name: Ephestia kuehniella

Family: Pyralidae

The Mediterranean Flour Moth has forewings which are grey in colour with darker mottling, their hind wings tend to be paler. Adults have a 20-25mm wingspan. Larvae tend to be pinkish/white and can have dark underside spots.

A native of Central America, the Mediterranean Flour Moth is now a cosmopolitan species.

It is a particular problem in provender mills, bakeries and occasionally even in catering premises. One generation is usually produced but in warm conditions, adults will be present throughout the year and may produce 4-6 generations.

Most active from dusk until dawn, it rests during the day. This species is a particular pest of flour mills.

Mating takes place immediately after the adults emerge. Up to 350 eggs are laid and these may be stuck to various foods by a sticky secretion. The eggs hatch in 4-28days and the larvae spin silken tubes in which they live. After 3-5 moults the larvae are fully grown and 15-19mm long.

Larvae present a more serious problem, as it is their feeding and excretions that contaminate the produce. The adults do not feed.

The larvae produce copious amounts of silk which contaminates grains but this larval webbing also causes serious blockages in provender mills. The larvae eat holes in sifting silks and may also reach mill’s finished products.

The webbing may also cause condensation which leads to damaging molds.

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