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Widely distributed in temperate zones, it breeds most successfully indoors in stored food situations e.g. food factories, warehouses and shops. This species attacks a wide range of commodities, although it does not seem to attack white flour.


Complete metamorphosis life cycle. Adults emerge in the spring and mate. Females may lay up to 200 eggs over 2 weeks. Larvae are active, secreting and depositing large amounts of silk within the micro-habitat. After 5 or 6 moults, they move upwards toward wall / ceiling junctions where they secure themselves for pupation and emergence after diapause.

Pest Status

The most common and serious moth pest of food storage in the UK. Physical damage to stored foods can be significant, however, the main problem caused by infestations of E. elutella is the contamination of foods by the silk produced by the larvae which may end up in packaged product or in extreme cases, jam machinery.


Good hygiene, harbourage denial and quarantine of inbound stock are recommended. Any insecticidal treatments that may be applicable should be timed for adult emergence to achieve maximum effect. Residual sprays should be targeted at resting places and harbourage areas. Monitoring traps can be used as an indication of emergence.

Case Bearing Clothes Moth


Common Clothes Moth


Flour Moth


Indian Meal Moth


White Shouldered Moth


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