Mediterranean Flour Moths
The Mediterranean Flour Moth owes its common name to the belief that it originated in the Mediterranean region, although it is now found worldwide.
Adult Mediterranean Flour Moths are about 1” wide from wing tip to wing tip, wings are pale gray with black zigzag lines. Mature larvae are about 3/4” long, usually pinkish white in color with a dark reddish brown head.
The female Mediterranean Flour Moths will lay between 100-600 eggs 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. The life cycle (egg to egg) usually takes 8-10 weeks, but in heated structures may take as little as 4 weeks, which means there may be 6 or more generations per year.
The adult Mediterranean Flour Moths cause no damage to food. The larvae cause considerable damage by crawling through the food source, leaving behind silken threads and webbing, frass (excrement), and larval casings. Mediterranean Flour Moths will attack a broad variety of foods, from grain products, flour, cereals, bread, etc., to dried fruits, nuts, chocolate, candies, powdered milk and any dry pet food.
Adult Mediterranean Flour Moths are attracted to light and are commonly found around windows and indoor light fixtures.
Achieving control of Mediterranean Flour Moths, as with any type of Stored Product Pest, requires a multi-step process. Because Stored Product Pests are so invasive, every step is very important.
1.) Food Source Removal: This consists of disposal of all infested foods or products, as well as any opened containers of grains, flour, dried foods and/or dry pet foods. This is typically the single most expensive step of the control process, but also one of the most important.
2.) Good Sanitation: Thoroughly vacuuming out all food and pantry cabinets is vital in the control of Mediterranean Flour Moths. Removing all containers from cabinets and carefully cleaning the corners, cracks and crevices in food cabinets and pantries is the best way to ensure proper treatment of infested areas by your pest control technician. Make sure to dispose of the used vacuum bag immediately after cleaning infested areas to prevent spreading the infestation.
3.) Treatment: Appropriate treatment by a trained and licensed pest control operator is almost always necessary to eliminate the remaining eggs and larvae of the Mediterranean Flour Moths.
4.) Prevention: To help prevent future infestation, it is important to carefully inspect any incoming food sources for signs of Mediterranean Flour Moths or other Stored Product Pests. Any flour, grains, seeds or dried foods that are opened or in paper/cardboard containers should be kept in airtight glass or Tupperware containers. Any foods that are still in unopened plastic bags or sealed plastic containers are fine until opened.