Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name

Ephestia kuehniella

Appearance

The adult Mediterranean flour moth is pale-gray color and about ¾ inch long, with a wingspread of about one inch. Black, wavy lines run across the wing. When at rest, the adult moth extends the forelegs, which raises the head and gives the body a sloping appearance. This is a very distinctive characteristic and is useful for identifying Mediterranean flour moths. The off-white or pink larvae have a dark head and are about ½ inch long when full grown.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Mediterranean flour moths are common moth pests of food goods in the kitchen or pantry. This moth attacks flour, grains, cereal, pet food, beans, chocolate and dried fruits. It is common in every part of the United States. The female moth lays somewhere between 100-200 eggs, often attached to flour or grain particles. These small, white eggs hatch in just a few days and the larvae immediately begin to spin silken threads and crawl around eating. The silken threads mat the food particles together and are one of the more obvious signs of an infestation. Adult moths do not damage food.

More Information

The first step in controlling Mediterranean flour moths is a careful inspection. Empty the kitchen cabinets and the pantry. Look for insects on shelves and examine every food package. Food that is covered with webbing is infested and should be discarded. New food should be stored in sealed glass or plastic containers for protection until you are sure the infestation is resolved. Make sure to re-inspect every one or two months to uncover and act upon any future problems. Vacuum the empty shelves to remove any cocoons and food scraps. Vacuum the edges of doors, inside wire shelving, cracks and crevices, edges of walls, and any shelf support holes. Pantry moth eggs and larvae may be hidden in these places. If you purchase organic or bulk grains, carefully monitor those items since you could be bringing home an insect problem along with the products. Check to ensure you do not purchase products in broken packages. There is a greater chance for infestations in a broken package than a perfectly sealed one. Use the oldest foods first. Remember FISO – first in, first out. Always contact your pest professional to help control a Mediterranean Flour moth infestation.