Cadra cautella (Walker)
Secondary pest: Grain feeder
Sometimes referred to as warehouse moth or tropical warehouse moth; scientific references may use Ephestia cautella.
- Adults have forewings that are grey with indistinct markings, wingspan is 16 to 30 mm
- Prefers dried fruits, but will feed on a wide variety of material including flour, grain, dates, cocoa beans, nuts, seeds.
Signs of infestation
- Holes in packaged food
- Copious amounts of silk in and around foodstuffs and in machinery
- Presence of adults flying about
- Larvae preferentially feed on the germ and bran.
- Large quantities of silk bind together and foul foodstuffs.
- Copious amounts of silk are produced and may block machinery.
- Foodstuffs are contaminated with frass, cast skins, pupal cases and dead moths.
- Is found worldwide, but it can only overwinter in tropical regions or inside heated structures in temperate areas.
- Is an important pest of mills and food processing plants
- Is also found in warehouses and households
- Adults rest on walls of structures during the day and are more active at dawn and dusk.
- Larvae infest bulk and bag stored grain but are restricted to attacking surface layers in bulk grain storage
- Continued population survival is associated with residues in structures and machinery.
- Females lay eggs loosely amongst the food source.
- Eggs hatch in about three days at 30°C.
- Larvae wander in search of food and will enter packaged food through the smallest of openings.
- Larvae burrow into food sources and reinforce tunnels with silk.
- Larvae may enter diapauses during declining temperature and day length in temperate regions. Diapause may last several months.
- Larvae are tolerant of low humidity and low moisture content in food.
- When ready to pupate, larvae become obvious as they leave the infested food source in search of pupation sites.
- Adult moths are short lived and do not feed.
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