Dried Fruit Moth

Cadra calidella

Last updated: May 27, 2024
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Elliotte Rusty Harold/Shutterstock.com

In the event of adverse environmental conditions, dried fruit moth larvae will become dormant and stop developing.


Dried Fruit Moth Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Cadra calidella

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Dried Fruit Moth Conservation Status

Dried Fruit Moth Locations

Dried Fruit Moth Locations

Dried Fruit Moth Facts

Dried fruits, carob pods
Name Of Young
Larvae, pupa
Fun Fact
In the event of adverse environmental conditions, dried fruit moth larvae will become dormant and stop developing.
Biggest Threat
Parasites, pest eradication
Most Distinctive Feature
Pepper-like markings
Other Name(s)
Date moth
17 to 23 mm
food storage areas and crop fields
Favorite Food
dried fruits and carob pods
Common Name
Dried fruit moth
Number Of Species

Dried Fruit Moth Physical Characteristics

  • Brown
  • Grey
10 mm

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The dried fruit moth is a type of snout moth that lives in warmer climates, primarily in the Mediterranean region of the world. However, they occasionally find themselves further into Europe by way of transport. This insect has a limited range due to its temperature sensitivities. In fact, its larva will hibernate when temperatures reach below a certain degree.

These brownish-gray moths have pepper-like markings with segmented abdomens. Females are larger than males, featuring a wingspan of 23 millimeters. Because of their temperature requirements, dried fruit moths can only produce one to two generations per year.

Dried fruit moths eat dried fruits and carob pods and, as such, are considered a storage food pest. They are also known as “date moths” and will infest crop fields and stories that sell their favorite foods. They also get transported with dry goods, hence why they end up in Europe. Unfortunately, this species does not respond well to chemical pest control agents.

Dried Fruit Moth Species, Types, and Scientific Name

Cadra calidella is the dried fruit moth’s scientific name. It belongs to the Puralidae family, which includes the snout moths, also known as the grass moths. The name Ephestia calidelia is also sometimes used to describe the dried fruit moth. However, the Ephestia and Cadra species are closely related, but the two species often get used interchangeably.

The dried fruit moth belongs to the insect family in the Lepidoptera order, which includes butterflies and moths. The Cadra genus includes small moths that are typically considerable pests of produce, such as seeds and nuts.

Appearance: How to Identify Dried Fruit Moths

Dried fruit moths are small to medium-sized moths with brownish-gray coloring. The tops of the wings are darker and heavily marked with peppering and bands, while the bottom of the wings is a light shade of gray and nearly translucent. however, the moth looks much darker in appearance when the wings are folded. Females have wingspans between 19 and 23 millimeters, while males feature wingspans of 17 to 21 millimeters. Females, on average, are larger than males. The abdomen of both sexes is narrow and segmented, measuring around 10 millimeters long. Cadra species can be recognized by experts due to their reduced forewing venation, featuring only nine veins in their forewings.

Habitat: Where to Find Dried Fruit Moths

These insects are home to the Mediterranean region, but they can also be found further into Europe due to them hitching rides on carob and dried fruit transports. Along with the Mediterranean countries, dried fruit moths also live in parts of Central Asia, Western Russia, and Kazakhstan. To thrive, this moth species must live in climates above 57 degrees Fahrenheit. But its optimal temperature hovers between 77 and 84 degrees. In the event of adverse environmental conditions, dried fruit moth larvae will become dormant and stop developing. Anything below 75 degrees, causes the larva to enter hibernation, where they can spend months, especially during winter. Because of the insect’s strict temperature requirements, their range is very limited. They do not migrate in the winter, opting, instead, to hibernate in their cocoons. They typically hibernate between September to April in the Mediterranean, specifically Cypris and Portugal.

Mating and Life Cycle

Female dried fruit moths expose their pheromone glands to attract a mate. This calling behavior can cause the male to respond with courting, such as antenna movements, wing fluttering, and head raising. Once the male completes his courtship behavior, he will fly to the female and copulate for several minutes or up to several hours. Virgin females are more likely to get responses from males due to their more concentrated sex pheromones. Females lay their eggs on the surface of dried fruit and carobs. The eggs produce rapidly at 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

The larval period lasts approximately two to six days following the feeding period. It will then wander above the food to find a good place to spin its cocoon. The pupa stage lasts around five days and the moths hatch into adults roughly 30 to 44 days after egg-laying.

Diet: What Do Dried Fruit Moths Eat?

Dried fruit moths eat dried fruits, ripe carob pods, seeds, nuts, and dates. Their eating behavior causes a threat to the industry in the Mediterranean region and it is a common pest in food storage areas. When an infestation occurs, larvae burrow inside the fruit’s stalk and emerge from their feeding tunnels before finding a spot near the surface of the fruit to spin their webs. When the larvae feed, they dig tunnels into the food products, leaving behind layers of silk.

Prevention: How to Get Rid of Dried Fruit Moths

These insects can attack crops before they are harvested and further infect storage areas and stores. Unfortunately, this species is difficult to eradicate but prevention and early detection are key to stopping the spread. Along with chemical pest control applications, researchers are studying ways to eliminate these pests, such as insect-proof screens, sec pheromone traps, gamma radiation, and playing with temperature and humidity levels.

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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals, and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Metropolitan State University in Denver. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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  1. United States Department of Agriculture / Published August 8, 2016 / Accessed December 15, 2023