Adults of E. cautella are approximately 8-10 mm in length with an approximate 10-18 mm wingspan. Forewings are grey-brown and banded with lighter and darker colours.
Adult females lay around 300-400 eggs during the first week, usually starting 20-25 days after adult emergence.
The larvae are an off-white colour with purple spots. Larval growth and rate of development depends on temperature. At 25°C they will be fully-grown in 25 days. The tropical warehouse moth overwinters as larvae in low temperatures. When pupation draws near, they generally migrate away from the foodstuff, and climb walls in search of crevices to pupate safely away from the food source. Pupal period is completed within 12-15 days if food sources are readily available.
Nature of Damage
The larvae of tropical warehouse moths commonly attack grains, nuts, dried fruits and a great variety of other stored products. Larvae are able to chew through foil wrapping to infest protected products. E. cautella larvae cause damage by contaminating foodstuffs with frass or silk webbing. Silk webbing produced by the caterpillars can block and subsequently damage the machinery of flourmills and food processing plants.
Russell IPM Ltd manufactures and supplies pheromone lures, traps and complete monitoring systems for the black carpet beetle Ephestia cautella, the tropical warehouse moth or almond moth.
The Xlure-RTU is a multi-species diamond trap for Ephestia cautella, and other Ephestia spp.