Argument exists over whether this species originated in the Mediterranean or Central America, but it now is found throughout the world.
This species infests virtually any material of plant or vegetable origin, including processed foods as well as nuts, seeds, and legumes, and dried fruits and baked products. It is a major problem in the flour industries, where the larvae create large masses of silk webbing that interferes with machinery and the processes. The female can lay over 600 eggs, usually fastened to a surface containing the food material. They appear to prefer ovipositing on dusty, powdery materials. Typically the life cycle takes about 2 months to complete, and in favorable climates generations can continue all year long.
The adult moth is a pale gray color on the forewings, and on fresh specimens you can find several dark, wavy lines running across them. The wingspan is just under one inch. The adult can also be recognized by its characteristic pose when at rest, with the front end elevated and the front legs tucked up against the body. While flying it often flies in a rapid zig-zag pattern. The larvae are whitish to pinkish with the head noticeably large and hardened, and several longitudinal rows of dark spots along the body. While feeding it constructs and stays within silk tubes, and usually pupates in or very near the infested material.
Characteristicts Important to Control:
Typical of most stored food moth infestations, an inspection must be made to determine which materials are infested, including areas of the structure where foods may not typically be found, such as garages or closets. Disposal of the infested material, followed by a thorough cleaning of the area and possible application of a residual insecticide to intercept any larvae that may have left the food material are needed.