Almond moth (Cadra cautella)

Type of pest: Secondary pest

The almond Moth or tropical warehouse moth (Cadra cautella) is a small stored-product secondary pest. It belongs to the snout moths (Pyralidae family), more specifically to the tribe Phycitini of the huge snout moth Phycitinae sub-family.

Distribution: Worldwide, warm temperate to tropical

Identification: Adult with short labial palps, short and curved upwards. Forewing (7 – 9 mm) gray with darker markings. Larvae are 15 – 20 mm, white to pink with black spots (at base of hairs); rim of abdominal spiracles evenly thickened.

Similar species: This species is often confused with the related Indian mealmoth (Plodia interpunctella). The almond moth is more common than the Indian mealmoth in tropical areas. The almond moth has an appearance similar to the Mediterranean flour moth (E. kuehniella). Distinction from Ephestia spp is only reliable by examination of the genitalia.

Life cycle: Adults live for about 10 days and do not eat, but may drink if water is available. The mating system is polygamous; many females will only mate once, however.Breeding conditions are temperatures between 17°C – 37°C and humidity greater than 20%. The female lays 150 – 200 eggs loosely and randomly on a food source. If the temperature is 30°C and the humidity is 80%, the larva can complete its development in 26 days. When the larva is mature, it will actively leave the food source and search for a site in which to pupate. The larva pupates in a silk cocoon. The larva can enter diapause if the conditions are unfavorable for development.

Commodities infested: The almond moth is found more often in heated structures than in non-heated ones. It is found in mills, processing facilities, warehouses and households. The insect appears to prefer dried material of plant origin like fruits, nuts, confectionery and cereal products, and is often found in concealed locations. Caterpillars are cannibalistic and will even feed on their siblings. The larva burrows into food and creates silk tunnels in which it will be concealed while feeding. It produces silk webbing when it feeds and binds the surface of a grain bulk together. Large larva can burrow through packaging. A sign of infestation in the product is contamination with silk webbing, frass, cast skins, pupal cases and adult remains.

Treatment: Controlled Atmosphere for infestation in product
Treatment: Heat Treatment for infestation in buildings

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