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 Singapore.

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.

Life cycle

  • 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.

Tobacco Moth or Warehouse Moth

(Ephestia elutella)

Appearance

  • Adult wing expanse is around 14 — 17mm.
  • The grey to brown-grey forewings have wavy transverse bands with dark borders.
  • Larva can be whitish, yellowish or reddish in colour depending on nutrition

Life cycle

  • Egg to adult stage takes 2 - 6 months.

Habits

  • The caterpillars cover the infested goods with webbing.
  • Often found on grains, nuts, cocoa beans, tobacco and herbs.

Casemaking Clothes Moth

(Tinea pellionella)

Appearance

  • Adult measure about 10 - 14 mm.
  • Body and wings buff to golden with brownish tinge
  • Silken tube/ case spun by larva and carried about wherever the larva goes

Life cycle

  • Egg to adult stage takes around 46 – 116 days. The development period depends on temperature

Habits

  • Larvae attack primarily materials of animal origin and secondarily those of plant origin e.g. feathers, wools, rugs, furs, etc.
  • The adult do not feed. They shun light, not being attracted to lights as most moth species.
  • The males are smaller and are active fliers whereas, the females are sluggish and fly only short distances.

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.

Life cycle

  • 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.