Almond moth

Cadra cautella (Walker)


Secondary pest; Grain feeder
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Pyralidae
Acronym: CCA

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


Similar species

Commodities affected

  • 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.

How to control

Geographic range

  • Is found worldwide, but it can only overwinter in tropical regions or inside heated structures in temperate areas.

Where found

  • 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.

Life history

  • Females lay eggs loosely amongst the food source.
  • Eggs hatch in about three days at 30oC.
  • 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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