Common Name: Mediterranean Flour Moth
Scientific Name: Anagasta kuehniella (Zeller)
Although now of worldwide distribution, this pest owes its common name to the belief that it originated in the Mediterranean region; others believe a Central American origin. It was first found in the United Stated in 1892, in California.
Adults with wingspread (wing to wing tip) about 1″ (24 mm) or less. Front wings pale gray, each with 2 black zigzag transverse lines. Hind wings dirty white. With distinctive resting pose in which front of body is raised giving wings a distinct downward slope with tip of abdomen protruding up between them. Mature larva about 5-8-3-4″ (15-20 mm) long.
Color pinkish white, head and prothoracic plate/shield dark reddish brown, and with some darker areas about base of some setae (hairs) but no rows of spots on dorsum or backside. With 5 pairs of well-developed prolegs on abdomen, each bearing crochets (hooks). Perspiracular tubercle (warlike area between spiracle and front edge of segment) of prothorax with 2 setae (hairs).
Tubercle V1 on mesothorax (wartlike area near and above leg) with 1 seta (hair). On most of body, pinacula (dark or pale wartlike areas at base of hairs of setae) present. With large dark thickened ring about base of seta 111 (directly above spiracle) of mesothorax and abdominal segment 8. Spiracle of 8th abdominal segment about diameter of pale area enclosed by dark thickened ring about base of seta 111.
1) Almond moth (Cadra cautella) with 2 transverse bands on gray front wing, inner band dark, nearly straight and broadly bordered with paler band to its inside, outer band pale and wavy.
(2) Tobacco moth (Ephestia elutella) with 2 transverse bands on gray front wing, inner band pale and bordered to outside with black, outer band pale and bordered on both sides with dark lines.
(3) Meal moth (Pyralis farinalis) and clover hayworm (Hypsopygia costalis) with in addition to transverse bands on front wings also with 2 transverse bands on hind wings, both wings dark.
(4) Other small moths with hind wings pale and larger than front wing, and/or lack gray front wing with black wavy transverse bands.
The females lays 116-678 white eggs in or on the food material, which hatch in 3-5 days. The larvae confine themselves in silken tubes and are full grown in about 40 days. They typically pupate in a silken cocoon but this may be lacking if pupation takes place in a crack or crevice.
Regardless, pupation occurs in clean food material, away from the mass of infested material. The pupal stage lasts for 8-12 days. The life cycle (egg to egg) usually takes 8-10 weeks but in heated structures may be completed in 4-6 weeks. This means there may be 4-6 or more generations per year, depending on the temperature.
The adults cause no damage. The larvae cause most of the problems because as they crawl around extensively, and spin silken threads which mat food particles together. These silken food mats clog flour mill machinery, sometimes causing shutdown until they are removed. In homes, this extensive crawling about means the larvae can be found anywhere. Adults are attracted to light. The Mediterranean flour moth infests flour, cereals, bran, beans, biscuits, dry dog food, nuts, seeds, chocolate, dried fruits, and many other stored foods.
Follow the standard procedures for stored product pests.