Control Cacao (Cocoa) Moths and Larvae – Identify and Prevent

Control Cacao Moths – This cocoa moth belongs to the Pyralidae family and is known by a slew of other names. Cacao (Cocoa) moth, warehouse moth, tobacco moth, and hay moth are all names for the same pest. These names aren’t just a coincidence; the little moth prefers to feed on the items with which they are named.

This quickly demonstrates why we view the moth as a nuisance. The larvae contaminate a wide range of products, including cocoa beans as well as other chocolate preparations, cereals, nuts, and dried fruits, as well as more expensive goods like tobacco, straw, and hay.

Chocolate moths can do little harm to the food storage areas of homes and pantries, but substantial damage to grain storage facilities like warehouses and silos. The sections below will teach you how to spot and eliminate these little tobacco moth pests from your home.

How can the cacao moth (Ephestia elutella), commonly known as the warehouse moth, be identified by its appearance? What harm does the moth do to us, and how do we get rid of it? We teach you how to naturally get rid of warehouse moths.

How to Control and Get Rid of Cacao Moths and Larvae

Here are some of the best ways to get rid of cocoa/cacao moths and it’s larvae.

Using Chemical Insecticides

There are a variety of conventional pest control solutions available if you’re determined to win the battle. Chemical moth sprays are a go-to option for eradicating these nocturnal pests. Nevertheless, many of these chemical mops contain substances that are hazardous to human health and the environment.

Natural Cacao Pest Control

Ichneumon wasps, on the other hand, are a long-term, safe solution. The helpful insects are nature’s answer to the moths, and they do so without harming themselves. However, the following principle applies here as well: Food that has been infested with spider webs or larvae must be thrown away completely before it may be eaten.

It’s impossible to buy ichneumon wasps in the hardware store because they have a short life span. Instead, you can try purchasing the eggs (placed on cards) over the internet.  These are given to you in the form of little cards that you just lay down in the areas that are infected with the disease.

Your pantry or kitchen’s size will determine how many cards you need. We recommend four cards for a normal-sized kitchen. The ichneumon wasps will hatch and begin working on your cards shortly after you lay them out.

They go out of their way to find and parasitize moth eggs. You will receive three further free delivery of new ichneumon wasps on little cards at 14-day intervals to assure complete pest extermination, as well as any succeeding generations.

The ichneumon wasps are stealthy and quick. They are almost imperceptible to the human eye and create no commotion. The wasps can no longer reproduce without moth eggs, so they die after only a few days of activity. Ichneumon wasps have no stinger and can’t fly, so they’re entirely safe around children and dogs.

These ichneumon wasps show how easy it is to get rid of cacao moths.

#Tip: By the way, ichneumon wasps and pheromone food moth traps (for male moths) can be used simultaneously. However, they should not be placed very near to the ichneumon wasps, in case the latter run over them and stick to them as well. Because they are not a control strategy, moth traps are an excellent way to monitor the moth populations.

Prevent Warehouse Cacao Moth Infestation

As soon as you’ve gotten rid of the pests, you’ll want to take steps to prevent future cocoa moth infestations. The best approach to accomplish this is to store your food in sealed plastic or glass containers.

To put it another way, the thin paper or plastic packaging used to deliver food is insufficiently protective and consequently inappropriate for long-term storage. The flimsy cloth was no match for the tiny warehouse moth caterpillars.

Repack freshly purchased food as well, since moths can get into the container at the store while purchasing, even if it has been refrigerated.

If food moths are a persistent problem in your house, it’s a good idea to keep a closer watch out for them. Traps that use pheromones, like food moth traps, can assist in this effort. Use caution, since the traps’ effectiveness degrades with time and needs to be changed approximately every six weeks.

Even jars with screw-on lids without sealing are insufficient for protecting early larvae since they are so tiny.

Tips to Prevent Cacao Moths and Larvae Prevention

  • Transfer food to airtight glass or plastic containers for storage.
  • Also, inspect freshly purchased food.
  • Vacuum regularly.
  • Set out pheromone traps for quick infestation detection.

When it comes to warehouse/cacao moth control, Ichneumon wasps have proven to be useful and natural pest control. Check out our comprehensive ichneumon wasp fact sheet for additional details on biology and health benefits.

Damage caused by Cacao Moth Larvae

Neither the adults nor the caterpillars are always present in the meal. Despite this, infested products will have evidence of the rodents’ presence. Insect larvae create tangled webs that clump together grains of cereal, flour, and even tea leaves.

Therefore, the damage pattern resembles that of the flour moth and is difficult to tell apart. However, in this instance, it is not required to make an exact identification of the food moth. Stuck products, regardless of how they got there, should be thrown away right away.

Basic Information about Cacao Warehouse Moth

In order to successfully apply the above control and prevention techniques, you much first learn to recognize this pest and the damage that it is capable of causing.

Origin of Cocoa Moth

Originally originating from Central Europe, the cacao moth is an invasive pest. Although the species can still be found in the open here, it has become very well adapted to humans as well as their habit of food storage through the course of history.

The moth eventually spread to southern Europe, North America, and eventually the rest of the world as a result of global trade. During the months of May and October, adults can be seen flying over our neighborhood.

A grain silo, open packages of tea, chocolate, or oats are all examples of places where birds lay their eggs during this time period. Since they hatch right into a food paradise, the larvae can grow into new butterflies in 40 to 100 days depending on the temperature, humidity, and availability of food for them.

Identify Cacao Moths

There are a few telltale indicators of a warehouse moth infestation because the adults don’t always fly through the kitchen in an obvious manner. Only the little larvae or their webs are seen most of the time.

Food moth traps, for example, assist in discovering infestations early on. In nature, female moths emit pheromones to attract male moths, and these are outfitted with them. Male moths fly to glue-coated traps in pursuit of females, where they stick to the traps’ adhesive.

You’ll know right away if there’s a food moth infestation, and you’ll be prepared to take action. Because pheromone traps do not work on female moths or larvae and also do not catch every male.

Thus moth traps do not provide a comprehensive solution for moth infestation control. They are solely employed for the purposes of detecting and monitoring infestations.

What does Cacao Moth Larvae look like?

Small and unnoticeable, the mature cacao moth measures 1 cm in length and has a wingspan of up to 2 cm. The brown-gray forewings of the moth have a faint sheen and are speckled with dark horizontal bands. The hind wings are a bit paler, nearly silvery, and have a fringed border around them.

The larvae are maggot-shaped caterpillars which are around 15 mm in size, with a dark head and, depending on the food they have a white to the yellowish body. They are frequently found immediately in the stored food. As a result, your search for a colorful and gorgeous butterfly will come up empty.