moth originally came from India. It was first found in Europe in about
1877 in some American wheat. Nowadays there are few concerns dealing with
flour and cereals which do not suffer from time to time from the depredations
of this moth. It may also become a concern in households, though these
days this is less likely. Another picture below shows the larvae which
does all the damage.
of Oklahoma State University
major pest of flour mills, its main habitats are flour and grout mills,
corn milling plants, bakeries and any other place used for processing
grains or preparing flour products. E. kuehniella occurs
in most of the temperate and sub-tropical parts of the world, where average
temperatures are around 20°C - 25°C. Complete development requires
about 74 days at 25°C and 75% relative humidity. Larvae entwine all
the material on which they feed resulting in solid lumps of food particles,
faeces and larval exuviae. Adults are similar to E. cautella
but the body is relatively longer.
insect is found world-wide. Depending on temperature and humidity, a single
female may lay up to 562 eggs. Optimum temperature is 26º C. At 27º C
temperature, timing for development of a generation varies from 43 to
72 days, and from 140 to 243 days at 10º C. It can only develop up to
Life cycle takes three to four months, under adequate conditions of temperature
and air humidity (70%).
It is generally similar to E. elutella (which we haven't covered yet),
but larvae become pupae within the food. Eggs are laid near the products
where they feed. Larvae move quickly, feeding and producing silk, creating
webs. The product also acquires an unpleasant smell and a grey/brown colour
due to the faeces. They grow completely and form pupae within the same
products they infest. Silk may form compact masses (webbing) that may
obstruct tubes and shoots in wheat mills, in fact it has been known to
bring machinary to a standstill, and serve as an undercover for other
insects that damage grains and stored products.
Adults are short lived (approximately 14 days), do not feed and usually
fly near the roofings. They fly more actively at the early morning and
moth larvae prefer wheat flour, but will also feed on all sorts of grains,
cereals, seeds, macaroni, dried fruits, cocoa, nuts and almonds.
treatment is as for all stored product pests, scrupulous housekeeping,
regular pest control inspections which give detailed feed-back, so that
any problems can be spotted early and dealt with. If the problem gets
bad, then the only way is to fumigate allied with a spraying program
of alighting surfaces, cracks and crevices, (where the larvae and pupa
may be residing). There are developments at various establishments,
which are using the biological approach, use of other insects including
mites fungi which are showing prospects, but these are in the future
and we are still using gases.
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