species is closely related to the meal moth, it is very common insect
in tropical and temperate climates, but it's taste is more in the way
of nuts, almonds, cocoa beans and dried fruit (it is a major pest and
also damages flours, milled cereal products, cocoa, etc). It is therefore
a very serious pest problem in the chocolate industry. The moths nearly
always reach the factory in the raw materials. In addition, the remains
of cocoa beans and other materials may be seats of infection, and the
machinary itself may harbour povckets of suitable food for these moths.
the moths appear in the factory there is alweays the risk that they may
have laid eggs on the finished product, and so one may have the problem
of 'worms' in the chocolate (see the picture below, you can't see the
worms but you can see where the nuts have been eaten leaving the outlines
in the chocolate). The infestation may also take place in a store or shop.
larvae cannot penetrate hermetically sealed packages, but if there is
the slightest gap the female moth, attracted by the scent, will lay eggs
nearby and the newly hatched larvae will crawl in and start to feed.
moth can also eat tobacco. Remarkably enough it can tolerate nicotine,
and, together with the tobacco beetle, it is one of the most serious pest
in the tobacco industry.
Eggs are laid over or near the products. Larvae are mobile over products
or bags, where they feed and produced silk which may form large webs.
When completely grown, they leave the products and move towards the structures
or package openings.
Pupae may be immediately formed, becoming adult moths. However, most of
them only become adults within a year, keeping the infestation. Adults
are short lived and do not feed. They are active at night and usually
fly towards the structure’s roofing. They live for 13 to 14 days and a
female may lay 279 eggs.
Life cycle takes 50 - 90 days under optimum temperature conditions. The
picture below shows the moth again and the larvae.
treatment is as that for all other stored product insects check out
Indian meal moth and Mill
to main Stored Product Insect page