Brown house moth
Hofmannophila pseudospretella (Stainton)

Classification

Secondary pest: Grain feeder
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Oecophoridae
Acronym: HPS

Description

  • Adults are bronze-brown with darker flecks in the forewings.
  • Hindwings are considerably broader than in Endrosis species.
  • Adults range in size from 8 to 14 mm long, with a wingspan of 17 to 25 mm.
  • Adult males are smaller than females.
  • Larvae are white with a brown head capsule, reaching a length of 18 to 20 mm when mature.

Similar species

Commodities affected

  • Carpet, cork, cereals, cereal products, meals, pulses, seeds, dried fruit, dried plants, fur, wool, feathers, leather, book bindings, paper

Signs of infestation

  • Grain connected by silken material, although this is not unique to this species
  • Silk and frass (excrement) are present

Damage

  • Damage is not distinctive.
  • Larvae produce silk webbing as they feed, although not conspicuous amounts.
  • Irregular holes may be present in commodity attacked.

How to control

Geographic range

  • Is found worldwide
  • Is most abundant in temperate regions
  • In Canada, it is found only in southern Ontario

Where found

  • Is more often associated with houses and apartments
  • Can digest wool as larvae and can eat through plastic and insulation materials
  • Will live in bird nests in the wild and will feed on cadavers of birds
  • Indicates aged residues and poor sanitation when present in large numbers

Life history

  • Adults lay eggs in and around the food source.
  • Larvae require high humidity for rapid development.
  • Larvae canenter diapause (a dormant state that slows growth).
  • Adults do not feed on commodity.
  • Diapausing (dormant) larvae are resistant to desiccation and to a certain degree, insecticide application.

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Did you know?

The brown house moth is found worldwide. It is not suited to hot, tropical climates and is more of a pest in cool climates.