The control of food moths in the warehouse

Moths that damage stocks (Indian meal moths, Mediterranean flour moths or angoumois grain moths) are widely spread pests in food storage and processing companies. Endangered goods are cereal products, nuts, spices, teas, pasta, various sweets, like chocolate. But often also dry food for pets, especially bird seed and grain feed, is infested. The larvae can ideally develop here.

An infestation by food moths is not only unappetizing, but also hazardous to health because the feeding activity of the larvae spoils the food. The consumption of infested food can cause allergic reactions, mucous membrane irritations and bowel diseases. Besides, mites and various fungi settle on the fecal residues. Therefore, food infested by storage pests is only marketable to a limited extent and has to be disposed costly.

In the warehouse also the so-called `food moth`, the Indian meal moth Plodia interpunctella, is the most common one.

Appearance of the Indian meal moth (Plodia interpunctella):

The moths are very easy to recognize by the distinctive coloring of the wings (bronze bands on a silver background on the forewings), size about 1 to 1.5 cm. The larvae are yellowish-white and become up to 1.5 cm in size.

Way of life of the moths:

The female moths lay their eggs (200-300 eggs / female) on or in close proximity to food. Shortly thereafter the small larvae hatch and immediately start eating. Afterwards the larvae walk around and search for a suitable hiding place for pupation. At normal room temperatures, the larval development takes about 4 weeks. After another 10 days the next generation of moths hatches, lays eggs again and the cycle begins again.

In the warehouse the Mediterranean flour moth Ephestia kuehniella, the angoumois grain moth Sitotroga cerealella, the meal moth Pyralis farinalis, and different warehouse moths may also occasionally occur. The eggs of these moths are adopted by Trichogramma. For an effective control, however, the moth should be reliably determined, so that the application site can also be better defined.


Trichokarte- aufhaengung lager

To prevent further spread, a few simple basic rules should be observed. Main reason for moth infestation is the wrong and overlong storage of products.

  • Pests often get into the warehouse with the receipt of stock. On receipt of goods or at the latest before storage the batch should be checked for pest infestation (an infestation can be recognized by spun small droppings, cocoons or feeding damage on the packaging).
  • Apparently infested goods should be stored separately.
  • Paper and film packagings do not offer safe protection against pest infestation.
  • Regularly check the stock and do not store goods for overlong periods: the longer stocks are stored the higher is the risk of an infestation by pests.
  • Do not store goods openly, if possible fill them in tight-closing containers.
  • Always store stocks in a dry and, if possible, cool place.
  • Simple and smooth shelf structures offer only few hiding places to pests and are easier to clean.
  • Secure the windows with fly screens to prevent flying in from the neighborhood.
  • Pheromone traps only serve for control purposes and are no effective control agent. Only males are trapped, the females continue to lay eggs.
  • A fixed monitoring system, however, is the precondition for a successful pest management.
  • If all preventive measures do not solve the problem, parasitic wasps can be used against the food moths. The tiny parasitic wasps (smaller than 0.5 mm) are able to control the moths effectively, environmentally friendly, discretely and sustainably.

Application system TrichoKarte

The TrichoKarte is an application system for the Trichogramma parasitic wasps developed by us and tried and tested in the practice for many years. It is used a million times outdoors, in greenhouse growing, in stock-keeping and in private households

The TrichoKarte VORRAT is fitted standardly with 2000 parasitized eggs of Trichogramma evenasecens (for a release every 14 days) or 3000 parasitized eggs (for a release every 21 days). 3000 parasitized eggs occupy one surface.

We have been keeping these quality standards for 15 years. They are the basis for a successful control of the moths and the success of the procedure!

Biological control of moths in the warehouse

Trichogramma parasitic wasps are egg parasites, that is they look for the laid eggs of moths, lay their own eggs inside them and instead of a moth larva a new beneficial parasitic wasp hatches. This cycle repeats as long as there are moth eggs available. When the parasitic wasps do not find moth eggs anymore, they die.

To effectively break the development cycle of the moths, at least 4 releases of the parasitic wasps at 14 day intervals are necessary. Alternatively, in the warehouse the cards with 3000 eggs every 3 weeks may be used.

Depending on pre-infestation and risk situation, releases have to be made during the entire season (spring to fall).


The quality is decisive!

We have been breeding Trichogramma parasitic wasps for more than 20 years to biologically control different lepidopteran pests. The breeding and the provision of beneficial insects for a successful control requires a lot of experience and care. Our application systems, like the TrichoKarte, are permanently tested and have been established in practice for many years.

Especially for the use of beneficial insects a good consultation is important so that the beneficial insects can work successfully. We are happy to answer your questions about the use in the stock-keeping!