Species on this page
Most moths in the Pyralidae family are small. There are over 1000 described species in the world, and 90 British species. Most of the caterpillars are termed "Concealed feeders" i. e. they bore into seed, fruit, stems or make tunnels. In many species the males are attracted by the pheromones the female adults emit.
Below is Ephestia kuehniella, the flour moth. It is a pest world wide of stored grain and flour products.
The caterpillar is around 10 mm long when fully grown, and lives in silken tubes among the flour. This causes problems as they clog up the flour milling machinery. They overwinter in silk cocoons and pupate in spring.
The adult wingspan is 17 - 27 mm, and body length is 9 - 14 mm. Adults locate each other for mating when the male emits ultrasound. The adults live for only a week or two. Between April and October there can be 3 generations. It is thought to have reached the U. K. in the late 19th century.
sociella is in the Pyralidae family. The female lays her eggs in a bumblebee nest, and once the caterpillars have hatched they proceed to completely destroy the nest. They eat almost everything in their path, and leave a tangle of silk behind them. The bumblebees will carry on at first, but the end result is always a failed nest. For more on this see the bumblebee symbiont page.