Ephestia cautella

Ephestia cautella (Walker)

(Sometimes placed in the genus Cadra).

Common names: Almond moth, tropical warehouse moth.

Systematic position: Insecta, Holometabola, Lepidoptera, Pyralidae.

Morphology: The body of adults is pale-brown, the forewings are brown with elongated pale stripes and short fringes. The hindwings are whitish with brown veins and pale fringes. The larvae are about 10–15 mm in length, pink-grey with black heads, and dorsal dark spots that bear short setae.

Distribution: Cosmopolitan due to the larvae being transported in food products throughout the world; more common in the tropics and subtropics.

Life history: Adults live for about 10 days, fecundity coming to about 500 eggs/female. The larvae feed on diverse stored foods, especially cereals and their products on which they develop best. They prefer wounded grains as they cannot penetrate the shells. They are cannibalistic, feeding also on their own eggs and small larvae. Under optimum conditions (30-32°C and 75% RH) a generation can be raised in 4-5 weeks. The mature larvae pupate within cocoons, often in wall crevices or in spaces between commodity bags.

Economic importance: Almond moths infest many grains as well as dried fruits, nuts, beans, flour and chocolate confectionaries, and even garlic, in India. Additional damage to stored products is due to the need to remove the abundant webbing which also contains faecal pellets, cast skins and egg shells. Losses may exceed 60% of the stored commodity.


Monitoring: Pheromone traps and water traps attract the pest. The latter is considerably more efficient, catching moths of both genders.

Cultural practices: Maintaining good hygiene, such as cleaning the store between harvests, removing any commodity spillages, immersing grain sacks in boiling water and fixing storehouse cracks and crevices.

Modified atmospheres: Provided that the grains are stored in closed structures, low oxygen and carbon dioxide-enriched atmospheres can be used to control the pest.

Mating disruption combined with water traps eliminated large moths from a confectionary factory, acting together as an IPM system.

Chemical control: Fumigation with phosphine is often used to control the moth. Another option was fogging with pyrethrins.

Biological control: Several species of Trichogramma parasitize the eggs of the pest. Habrobracon hebetor and Venturia canescens attack the larvae. The mesostigmid mite Blattisocius tarsalis is an important predator. Some of the pest’s populations have become resistant to Bacillus thuringiensis.


Burges, H.D. and Haskins, K.P.F. 1965. Life-cycle of the tropical warehouse moth, Cadra cautella (Wlk.), at controlled temperatures and humidities. Bulletin of Entomological Research 55: 775-789.

Gothilf, S., Shaaya, E. and Levski, S. 1993. Effect of sex, age and mating on attraction of Cadra cautella (Walker) (Lep., Phycitidae) to stored food. Journal of Applied Entomology 116:139-144.

Graham, M.M. 1970. Warehouse ecology studies of bagged maize in Kenya—II: Ecological observations of an infestation by Ephestia (Cadra) cautella (Walker) (Lepidoptera, Phycitidae). Journal of Stored Products Research 6: 157-167.

Haines, C.P. 1981. Laboratory studies on the role of an egg predator, Blattisocius tarsalis (Berlese) (Acari: Ascidae), in relation to the natural control of Ephestia cautella) (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) in warehouses. Bulletin of Entomological Research 71: 557-574.

Karuppaiah, V., Soumia, P.S., Wagh, P.D. and Singh, M. 2018. Ephestia cautella (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae): an emerging pest on garlic in storage. Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies 6: 2282-2285.

McGaughey, W.H. and Beeman, R.W. 1988. Resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis in Colonies of Indianmeal Moth and Almond Moth (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Journal of Economic Entomology 81: 28–33.

Navarro, S. and Calderon, M. 1979. Mode of action of low atmospheric pressures on Ephestia cautella (Wlk.) pupae. Experientia 35: 620-621.

Özder, N. and Kara, G. 2010. Comparative biology and life tables of Trichogramma cacoeciae, T. brassicae and T. evanescens (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) with Ephestia kuehniella and Cadra cautella (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) as hosts at three constant temperatures. Biocontrol Science and Technology 20: 245-255.

Süss, L. and Savoldelli, S. 2011. Mass trapping and mating disruption to control Cadra cautella (Walker) in a confectionary factory. IOBC/WPRS Bulletin 69:143-149.

Trematerra, P. and Savoldelli, S. 2013. The use of water traps and presence of spermatophores to evaluate mating disruption in the almond moth, Ephestia cautella, during exposure to synthetic sex pheromone. Journal of Pest Science 86: 227-233.

Website https://www.google.co.il/search?q=Ephestia+cautella+images&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwik3d7AvdDcAhVIJJoKHX5WBBoQsAR6BAgGEAE&biw=1280&bih=644