Common Moth Species

Moths may look small and harmless but they can cause surprising amounts of damage to your clothing and stored products in general.

Learn more about the lifecycle and habits of moths that are commonly found in Hong Kong.

Indian Meal Moth

(Plodia Interpunctella)

Appearance

  • Adult wing span is around 14 – 20 mm long.
  • First third of forewings are cream in colour. Remainder of the wings is copper with dark grey spots.
  • Larva is yellowish white in colour and sometimes in reddish or greenish colour.

Lifecycle

  • Egg to adult stage takes 27 days.

Habits

  • Often found on cereal grain, flour, groundnuts and dried fruits.
  • Leaves webbing and frass at infested areas.

Rice Moth

(Corcyra cephalonica)

Appearance

  • Adult forewings are uniformly pale buff brown with slightly darkened veins.
  • Larva is pale white in colour with brown head capsule and prothoracic tergite.

Lifecycle

  • Egg to adult stage takes about a month.

Habits

  • Eggs are laid on food.
  • Larva pupates at stored product, store structures or on the bags.
  • Adult is nocturnal, hence are most active during night time.
  • Leaves webbing, cocoon, frass and excreta at infested areas.

Tropical Warehouse Moth

(Ephestia Cautella)

Appearance

  • Adult wingspan wing span is around 15 — 20mm long.
  • Adult forewings are grey-brown banded with lighter and darker colours.
  • Larva can be whitish, yellowish or reddish in colour depending on food consumption.

Lifecycle

  • Egg to adult stage takes 31 days.

Habits

  • Larva tends to wander upwards to dark areas to pupate.
  • Often found on stored cereals, nuts, dried fruit, oil seeds and oilcakes.

Angoumois Grain Moth

(Sitotroga cerealella)

Appearance

  • Adult wing span is around 10 – 18 mm long.
  • Adult forewings are pale brown in colour and often with small black spot at the outer half.
  • The hint wings are with a long fringe of hairs, and sharply pointed at the tip.

Lifecycle

  • Egg to adult stage takes around 25 – 28 days.

Habits

  • Eggs are laid on grain.
  • Larva completes its development within a single seed and leaves a small round hole when pupation complete.

Common Clothes Moth or Webbing Clothes Moth

(Tineola bisselliella)

Appearance

  • Adult measure about 12 mm.
  • Wings and body uniformly buff/ golden color
  • The larvae are 1/2-inch long when mature. They are small caterpillars that are a clear to creamy-white color with a light brown head capsule.

Lifecycle

  • Egg to adult stage takes around 50 – 90 days. The development period depends on temperature.

Habits

  • Attack synthetics fibers, feed on keratin-containing materials such as wool, hair, fur, etc.
  • The larvae prefer to feed in hidden places such as under collars, on carpeting from the back/ underneath side, etc.
  • The adult do not feed. They shun light, not being attracted to lights as most moth species.
  • Female are poor fliers but are fast on their legs and run when disturbed. Males may fly up to 100 yards but seldom do so.

Brown House Moth

(Hofmannophila pseudospretella)

Appearance

  • Adults 8-14mm and brown with three or four darker spots

Lifecycle

  • Larvae up to 20mm, off-white with brown head.

Habits

  • Larvae feed on a wide range of animal textiles including wool, leather and feathers.

Further Information & Next Steps

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