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The flour moth, or food moth

When you pick up a packet of flour, do you see a little butterfly flying away ? It's probably a food moth. In this dossier, you'll find a range of answers and natural products to help you combat this insect, which is so fond of your food. 

I would like to

Find out more about the food moth

(identity, feeding habits, reproduction, etc.)


Combat the food moth

(action method, natural insecticides, ...)


The food moth - Ephestia kuehniella

Who is the food moth ?

Latin name : Ephestia kuehniella
Order : Lepidoptera
Family : Pyralidae
Size : around 2 cm
Location : kitchen and storeroom
Period : all year round

What you need to know about the food moth

food moth larvae

Native to India, this insect can only live in dwellings. With a clear preference for flour, this insect can also attack cereal grains, biscuits, noodles, chocolate, your pet's croquettes, dried fruit, etc.

The caterpillars, between 12 and 25 mm in size, produce silky threads that quickly render foodstuffs unfit for consumption. 

Life cycle of the food moth

Food moths belong to the butterfly family. They have a wingspan of 25 mm and their wings are blue-grey (Ephestia) or copper (Plodia).

The female lays around 200 eggs from which the larvae hatch. The larvae feed on food, which they then pollute with their cocoons and excrement.

Now a butterfly, the food moth seeks to reproduce and the cycle begins again (2 to 4 generations per year). 

How can I get rid of the food moth ?

The food moth - Ephestia kuehniellaProceed methodically :
1. Take a large bin bag and throw away anything that isn't in a completely airtight box, even products that seem perfectly clean.
2. Vacuum every nook and cranny of the cupboard or storeroom.
3. Fill a basin with hot water + washing-up liquiddisinfectant (organic, of course!). Using a brush, scrub the entire cupboard, leaving no nook or cranny untouched.
4. When everything is completely dry, treat the entire cupboard with our 4J insecticide diluted to 5% (allow 500ml for 5m² of surface treated). To treat large areas, use the same insecticide in concentrated form. In this case, you'll need to dilute the insecticide with 5% water in a spray bottle (50 ml of insecticide for 950 ml of water).

5. Put a few food moth repellent sachets in various places in the cupboard.

6. Place food moth traps (Aries or Kapo brand) in various places in the cupboard or in the rooms. For a major invasion or large rooms, you can opt for the Aries XXL trap (field of action = 70 m²).

7. All that's left to do is put all your food back in the cupboards, but always in completely airtight boxes.
8. If you still have butterflies flying around, either in the room or in your cupboards, you can get rid of them for good with our aerosols, using Ecodoo Insecticide or Aries Flying Insecticide. Composed of pyrethrum, a synergy of essential oils and alcohol, these products have the advantage of staying in suspension for longer, so they give good results on flying insects and the treatment of enclosed spaces.

9Finally, when it comes to fumigation, Habitat Biovétol fogger will give excellent results on this type of insect. An insecticide based on active ingredients of plant origin (pyrethrum + geraniol), designed for basic treatment of the home. Highly volatile, the solution settles in the smallest nooks and crannies where parasites and insects live. Immediate and prolonged action, for up to 4 months.


All our customers who have followed this procedure have quickly solved the problem of food moths in their storerooms.


The products you need to combat food moths

Go directly to the detailed product sheets for food moth control.

4J Insecticide concentrate with plant...

4J insecticide concentrate to be diluted. Effective against a large number of crawling and flying insects in our homes. Available in...
In stock

Insecticide 4J diluted 5% - All insects -...

Ready-to-use  4J insecticide diluted to 5% . With this concentration, you will destroy  most flying and crawling insects  very quickly....
In stock

Refill food moth traps

Food moth traps. Natural and ecological solution to get rid of it. These traps detect and attract male moths to prevent reproduction....
In stock

Food moth trap – x2

Kpro Vert adhesive food moth trap. Protects all your foodstuffs. Attracts and neutralizes male moths which, once trapped in the glued...
In stock

Food moth trap – Maxi 70 m²

Natural and ecological solution to get rid of food moths in your home. This XXL format trap detects and attracts male moths to...
In stock

Fogger Habitat with plant-based active...

This is fogger composed of plant-based assets is intended for the background treatment of the habitat in case of infestation by mites,...
In stock

*PAE : ready to use.


Discover our full range of natural products to combat food moths

Accédez à notre page


Frequently asked questions about food moths

Q: I live in a block of flats, and for the last 2 summers I've had a problem with food moths in my flat. I know that the problem doesn't necessarily come from my flat; after investigating, my neighbours have them, but they don't feel concerned... For the last 2 years, I've taken all the necessary precautions: cleaning my cupboards, throwing away products or putting them in tins... sticky traps of various brands inside my cupboards... nothing helps; I'm invaded... from March to September. What's more, the sticky traps only attract males... so the problem can last a long time... I've seen that you sell food-safe moth repellents in sachets; can you tell me more? Could you send me the instructions? Does this insecticide destroy moths, or does it just repel them? If it destroys them, does it also work on the females? In short, I'm looking for the miracle product that will definitively destroy food moths, males, females and larvae....

A: All the customers who have followed our treatment procedure have eliminated the problem. It's likely that the moths are coming from outside. In the spring, you may need to use either preventive or curative measures.

Q: Can 4J pure insecticide with pyrethrum be sprayed in a food cupboard to get rid of unwanted moths ?

A: Of course, as long as the cupboard is emptied first, so that the insecticide doesn't come into contact with the food.

Q: I once had food moths in my house. I haven't had them for a long time now, but I'd like to know if they are dangerous to our health ?

A: We have no documents to show that moths can carry diseases. It's probably less dangerous than the fly, which can carry a lot of bacteria.

Q: Where can I find 4J flour moth insecticide ?

A: You can use our 4J insecticide diluted to 5%, which is available on our website.

Q:  I've just come back from holiday and in my grocery cupboard I find little white dots on all the tins that move around like fine semolina. What are they ? How can I get rid of them? What else can I do, given the size, in my opinion my cleaning won't be enough. Please reply as soon as possible.

A: It could be mealworms, which will give you food mites. We have a special page on our site on treating food mites, but it could also be mites.

Q: Are food moths dangerous to health ?

A: Not specifically, but they are dangerous for cereals.

Q: What should be done with foodstuffs in which moths have passed (flour, pasta, biscuits, etc.)? Do they lay their eggs in the food ? They leave a sort of stringy thread. Is this harmful, can it still be eaten or should it be thrown away ? And how do these insects get into foodstuffs when the packets are not always opened ?

A: All our answers on the food moth issue.

Q: Food moths are making their larvae in the nespresso machine, exactly in the water tank ! Can they be found elsewhere ? What are the possible solutions ?

A: I'm not sure what these larvae eat to develop, as they normally only eat cereal-based products (flour, cake, dog food, etc.). I invite you to read our special report on food moths. We explain the basic rules for eliminating them. Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Q: I wanted to know if you had an insecticide product to kill food moths ?

AYes, our 4J insecticide kills moths (adults, eggs and worms) perfectly. After treatment, you can add our Penntybio anti-food moth granules.

Q: What do you have to combat food moths ? I've found the "mit'clac" traps, but they're not enough.

A: For food moths you can use our 4J insecticide to destroy them and/or our anti-food moth granules to keep them away. These 2 products are very effective and safe.

Q: We've been infested with food moths for about 2 years now, and it's not getting any better! At the moment, it's the maggots that are swarming around the ceiling: it's disgusting! We remove them, crush them up, and the next day we have to do it all over again, and there are just as many. What's your miracle "trick", and how do you get hold of it ? How much does it cost ?

A: The "miracle trick" is our insecticide, which destroys insects from egg to adult, including maggots, and has the advantage of being organic, so it's harmless to health and food. All the customers who have had the same problem as you have managed to get rid of them, but it usually takes a while. You have to empty the cupboards where they have settled, treat all the surfaces and nooks and crannies with insecticide, destroy any foodstuffs where they may have laid their eggs and wait for the insecticide to dry. These maggots can also be fly worms !