Ephestia kuehniella, the Mediterranean flour moth adult will begin mating immediately after emergence. The adult stage is completed after 10-14 days. During this period the adult female can lay between 300-350 eggs which are stuck to various foods by a sticky secretion.
The eggs of Ephestia kuehniella, the Mediterranean flour moth hatch within 28 days. Larvae of the mill moth are white or pinkish-white and spin silken tubes in which they live. After 3-5 moults the larvae are full grown and the full grown larval size is about 15-19 mm long.
In colder climates the Mediterranean flour moths overwinter as larvae but, in contrast to other species, usually remain within the foodstuff. The larval stage typically lasts about 40 days. Moths pupate within 7-16 days in the dark corners of buildings or machinery where they seek shelter.
Nature of Damage
The larval stage is the most damaging stage of the Mediterranean flour moth life cycle. The mill moth larvae typically prefer wheat flour, but will also feed on other grains, cereals, seeds, dried fruits, nuts and almonds if available.
The newly emerged larvae migrate towards the stored products where they will feed voraciously whilst producing a web or silk. During this period of feeding the larvae can produce an unpleasant smell in the infected product and leave frass that contaminates the food stuff. Additionally, the webbing produced by the larvae can cause serious blockages in provender mills subsequently resulting in damage to the machine. The larvae are able to spin a protective tube in which they feed and produce frass.
Russell IPM manufactures and supplies pheromone lures, traps and complete monitoring systems for the mill moth, Ephestia kuehniella. Pheromone traps provide early warning of the infestation and will alter the pest controller to enable timely and effective treatment.