Rice Moth

Classification
Scientific Name: Corcyra cephalonica
Family: Pyralidae

Description
The Rice Moth has a pale, buff-brown colour which is uniform and features no distinctive markings, the veins may appear darkened and the hind wings are almost translucent. It has a 15-25mm wingspan.

The larvae are dull, yellowish/white body and a dark brown head. They have long fine hairs that cover their body.

A native of the tropics, it now has a widespread distribution and is imported in foodstuffs.

This tropical species typically enjoys a warm climate but in temperate areas it can survive all year in heated stores. It is a major pest of stored foods and favours grains, particularly rice. They are common in flour mills but can be seen in all types of stored food areas.

Behaviour
This moth attacks grains, especially rice, but will also eat oil seeds, cocoa beans, dried fruit and spices.

It lays up to 160 eggs on or near a food source. The larval stage lasts 15-20 days in favourable conditions and the larvae will produce masses of strong webbing which it uses to form a dense cocoon in order to pupate. This stage will last 7-10 days.

Risks
Rice moth larvae contaminate food by producing large amounts of strong webbing and frass. This can bind food together and make foods unsuitable for sale or consumption.

Frass from the rice moth can also attract other stored food pests and increase the damage and contamination of the product.

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