Mediterranean flour moth
Ephestia kuehniella Zeller
Secondary pest: Grain feeder
- Adults are fairly large with a wingspan of 20 to 25 mm and a length of 9 to 12 mm.
- Adults have forewings that are uniformly grey with some brown and white markings.
- Labial palps are upturned.
- Larvae are white to pinkish with a distinct head capsule, reaching a length of 20 mm at maturity.
- Larvae have dark spots at the base of each setae.
- Predominantly affects wheat flour
- Will also infest bulk stored grain but is restricted to surface layers
- Is recorded from a wide number of other commodities and may feed on dead insects
Signs of infestation
- Direct larval feeding damage
- Heavy webbing of food surfaces
- Damage is not distinctive.
- Larvae cause damage, adults do not feed.
- When they feed on whole grains, larvae prefer to feed on bran and germ.
- Larvae can produce copious amounts of silk contaminating grain.
- Silk can also block machinery, legs and augers.
- Webbing can result in condensation resulting in increased humidity and subsequent formation of moulds that may produce toxins.
How to control
- Is found worldwide but is not abundant in the tropics
- Is not well established in Canada, if at all
- Is found in mills, processing facilities, warehouses and households
- Can survive winter outside of heated structures
- Does not cope well with high temperatures (more than 30°C)
- Adults are most active at dusk and dawn, rest during daylight hours
- When mature, larvae will leave the food and wander in search of a pupation site
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