The Meal Moth

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The Meal Moth

You probably know them the cheerfully fluttering "Feed moths", "Supply moth" or "Food moth". They owe their name to the location where they like to hang out: Food! That is not very pleasant for us, but in this blog we are going to tell you everything about these little critters, how to prevent them and how to get rid of them.


It is very important to understand how the feed moth's life cycle works so that you can better prevent and control it.

The feed moth lays its eggs in/on or near food, the moth has a clear preference for carbohydrate and protein-rich food; that is not surprising because when the larva hatches, it must be fed energy-rich food. Where the larva affects the food by eating it, the moth itself is harmless in its entirety. The eggs, the larva and the moth are completely harmless to our animals. The omnivorous (protein eating) rodents such as: Mouse., Dwarf Hamster, Hamster, Gerbil and Rat like to eat the larvae! These can be fed as a substitute for live mealworms.

When do the eggs hatch?

The eggs of the feed moth only hatch when the temperature is higher than 22°C for more than a week. Only at this temperature do the eggs receive a signal to hatch, this is also the reason why we mainly see food moths in the summer and hardly ever in the winter.

It takes about 7 to 11 days for the eggs to hatch, so the temperature must have been above 22°C for 7 to 11 days. In practice, only part of the eggs hatch and the feed moth does not quickly cause an invasion like the feed weevil does.

The larva is on its way

When an egg of the food moth hatches, it takes an average of 2 to 3 months for the larva to develop into an adult moth, so the food moth needs time and the right conditions.

The larva is the first to look for food and then pupate. The duration of the larval stage strongly depends on the temperature and the food supply.

If conditions are right, the stage lasts about one month.
If the circumstances are not favourable, this can take up to 40 weeks.
At temperatures below 13-15℃ the development of the larva almost comes to a standstill.
Pupation itself takes about 2 to 3 weeks.
The adult moth only lives for 2 weeks.
The larvae can hibernate in their cocoon during pupation and only hatch in the spring when the temperatures rise.

The dolls are often in cracks, seams, under a shelf, behind cartons of packaging, against the wall or in corners of the walls, so they do not have to sit directly with the food. The adult moths are nocturnal.

At a temperature of 18-20℃, 4 generations per year can occur in the feed moth. In unheated rooms about 2 to 3 generations occur and of the other species sometimes only 1 generation per year. The larvae can hibernate in their cocoon during pupation and only hatch in the spring when the temperatures rise.

If you see a moth flying, it could very well be that it came from a package from 40 weeks ago.

Fighting the feed moth at the manufacturer

Of course we also took a look at our manufacturers to see how the food moth is combated there. In the past, gases were used for this, but nowadays the raw materials are treated in an autoclave. An autoclave is very efficient and works on the basis of CO2 at high pressure, which kills everything.

All power supplies that can be found on our digital shelves make use of this, but some manufacturers still suffer from food moths. With some manufacturers, the production process takes longer, such as at JR Farm, for example, which gives the moths a chance to get to the food afterwards. An example:

Raw materials are treated in the autoclave -> Raw materials are processed into semi-finished products (biscuit that still needs to be sprinkled, for example) -> Biscuit continues to sprinkle with dried herbs -> Biscuit with sprinkling is packaged. This production takes longer than food packaging, where the raw materials are treated in the autoclave -> mixed (sometimes treated again) -> packed.

It is mainly the natural treatment of raw materials that ensures that moths can never be banned 100%.

Fighting moths at DRD Rodent Shop

In our warehouse you can eat off the floor. All products are triple checked by us: 1st time upon arrival, 2nd daily quality check, 3rd time during the packing of the order. In our warehouse it does not happen that the temperature exceeds 22℃ for a longer period of time

Fighting moths in our home


In our home it is very important to make the conditions for the moths as unfavorable as possible and we do this by:

1) Keep the food cool < 20℃ is best
2) Always keep food in a dark place
3) Keep the food closed at all times
4) Immediately remove flying moths
5) Hang a pheromone trap

If you do have moths or are unable to keep the temperature lower, for example because it is warmer in the summer in the house, "pheromone traps" may be the best option. These are small sticky traps that contain pheromones. These mimic the scent of a female and trap the males, making reproduction of the moths no longer possible. The pheromone has an effect of 6-8 weeks, so you are protected for most of the summer.

What to do if a larva or moth has traveled with it?

In the summer it is important to monitor the diet well. For example, if you have ordered a bag of food, check it carefully upon arrival. Is there a larva in it? Do not panic! This can safely be fed to the mouse, dwarf hamster, hamster, gerbil or rat. thrown out for the birds.

<20℃ eggs do not hatch

Is there a moth in the package? Don't panic, if it is a single moth, it can be removed and the food can be used safely. There may be eggs in it, but they will not hatch if the food is kept cool <20℃. In this case, give small portions so that you can keep the rest cool and the animals eat the portions at least within a week, because eggs hatch after 7 to 11 days if the temperature is above 22℃ during this period. Temperature is especially important, so for all foods and snacks, keep dry and cool. Dry to prevent mold if food gets wet and cool so that nothing can come out.

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