Angoumois Grain Moth

Facts, Identification & Control

Scientific Name

Sitrotroga cerealella


The Angoumois grain moth is a small moth with front wings that are buff to yellowish colored and a wingspan of 3/16 inch. A very important distinguishing characteristic is a narrow projection that extends from the tip of the hind wing. Full-grown larvae are usually yellowish-white with a yellowish-brown head and are about 1/8 inch long.

Grain Moth
Grain Moth image licensed under CC

Behavior, Diet & Habits

This grain moth is active at low temperatures, and may do damage during the winter months in many areas. The moth is extremely important as a stored grain pest. Generally, the adult Angoumois grain moth attacks only whole kernels of corn, wheat and other grains and seeds. When found in homes, the source is often popcorn, decorative ears of corn and decorative boxes of seeds. Eggs are laid on or near grain either in the field or during storage. Larvae penetrate the kernel, and once inside, continue to feed until mature, all the while creating and enlarging a cavity within the kernel. When mature, the larva eats a channel to the outside of the seed; spins a silken cocoon; pupates within the kernel; and emerges as an adult moth. The complete life cycle (egg to adult) can be completed in as little time as five weeks. Adult moths do not feed on grains. The peak time for flight activity is dusk. Angoumois grain moth prevention and control starts with a careful inspection to identify infested products. Any product that is infested should be thrown away. Dispose of holiday decorative Indian corn or similar items. You are asking for future problems if deciding to keep such items until the next holiday season. In addition, it is important to routinely check the walls and ceiling for the presence of larvae and pupae. If using insecticides, exercise caution to avoid contact with food, food preparation surfaces or food utensils. Should control measures be necessary, contact your pest professional for assistance and expertise with treatment applications and the use of insect traps.

More Information

These moths often are confused with clothes moths. The main difference is the Angoumois grain moth actively flies around the house, while clothes moths stay close to areas where fabrics are stored or hung.