Mediterranean Flour Moths
The Mediterranean flour moth is a pest of stored food products. It attacks flour, cereal, pet food, dried fruits and even dried flowers. It is common in every part of the United States.
The adult moth has a wingspan of about 24 mm measured from wingtip-to-wingtip. The front wings are dark gray with black markings. The back wings are off-white. The adults are active early in the day and are attracted to light.
The adult moths do not damage food. The females lay eggs on the food material. When the eggs hatch, the larvae crawl around eating. As they eat, the larvae spin silk threads. The silken threads mat the food particles together. This webbing is a sign that the food is infested.
When the larvae are full grown, they leave the food. They crawl around to find a comfortable place to change to adults. The larvae change to adults inside a cocoon or in cracks and crevices. Depending on the temperature, the entire life cycle takes 1½ to 3 months.
The first step in eliminating Mediterranean flour moths is a careful inspection. Empty the kitchen cabinets and the pantry. Examine every food package. Food that is covered with webbing is infested. All infested food should be discarded. New food should be stored in sealed glass or plastic containers.
Vacuum the empty shelves to remove any cocoons and food scraps. Inspect the walls and ceilings for crawling larvae.
Insecticide applications are the final step. Application may be made to cracks and crevices. The object is to control insects that are still in cocoons. To avoid misapplication, it may be preferable to call the local pest control professional.