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Cacao moth (Ephestia elutella)


The cacao moth inhabits Europe and extensive parts of North America. The adult has a wingspan of 16-20 mm. Its grey to brown-grey forewings are characterized by wavelike cross-patterns with dark edges. The habitus is largely the same as for the Indian meal moth. The cacao moth also occurs, however, in outdoor areas.


Not only the habitus, but the preferred food of the cacao moth is very similar to that of the Indian meal moth, resulting in similar damage. The many names given to this moth (cacao moth, hay moth, tobacco moth) reflect the wide range of its diet, including grain products, nuts, sweets (a major pest in the sweets industry), as well as cocoa beans, tobacco and even hay and straw.