Sunday, October 10, 2010

10/10/10 and Moths

Happy 10/10/10! My brother in law updated his Facebook Status at 10:10 this morning; we slept through it. We'll catch the p.m. version.

In the meantime, we're battling an infestation of some kind of meal moth, either Egyptian or Mediterranean or some such branch of the meal moth family. We've had moths flitting around the house for a few months now but I just kind of shrugged them off; they got in from outside or something, right? Then I started noticing them more consistently, so I knew we had a problem. I went into our pantry and put all of our rice and beans in plastic bins, thinking that would solve the problem. Nope, we still kept seeing the moths. I knew more drastic measures would be needed, but that involves a lot of work, so I blew it off for a while.

Yesterday I finally got around to emptying out our pantry from top to bottom in an effort to get rid of the food source, and hopefully get rid of the moths. Much to my dismay I realized they were in EVERYTHING including the food I put in plastic bins. They are loving the paper products I had stockpiled for hurricanes and parties and such. Paper plates, cups, napkins, and the spork packets with napkins included- all contaminated with the darn bug. Oh, the waste! I had to throw out 3 large garbage bags full of food and paper goods. It's not even donate-able with the bug yuck all over everything. Just kills me, but there's not much choice. I'm at the point now where I'm praying they haven't found my books, but I'm not very hopeful. The adult moths have flown all through the house and the library (converted from what was the formal dining room) is right next to the pantry. I could throw away napkins and paper plates and bags of rice; I can't toss my books!

I don't want to use pesticides but it may come down to that. We've tried so hard to avoid calling an exterminator and using poisons in our home, but I can't have those moths destroying everything either. According to DH's on-line research the moths are about impossible to get rid of. I have no idea what to do next.

Moving has definitely come up for discussion.


Vegan Aide said...

Been there. Done that. They even ate the cayenne pepper! We had to move all new food into glass mason jars or those huge water and bug proof containers form the Container Store. I think they were $50 each, but 8 years later we still have them (the containers not the moths).

As the new moths were hatching, and flying, we vacuumed them up with a cordless Dust Buster. It took a few months because the new moths would keep hatching, but no new eggs were laid.

That is how you get rid of them; attack their life cycle. We did not use pesticides and I, too, wound up tossing all of the food and spices and everything. Maybe you can use Diatomaceous Earth - it is safe for humans not bugs.

Even now I keep all of my food in gallon Mason jars and if I see a moth, it gets put outside. Even just one. No tolerance with the moth.

I feel for you!

Kim said...

It's awful! I am still so upset about the pure waste of it. I'll try the mason jars. Bug proof/water proof containers are hard to find so I'll check out the ones at the Container Store since you found some there. I'm thinking I need them for my books until we feel like the moths are gone, and then permanently for the food. I wish I could rent the containers for a few months, at least for the books! (I have a ton of books.)

Carolyn said...

My story sounds much like Vegan Aide's. I too threw a bunch of stuff out, and made daily use of my little hand-held vacuum cleaner until we at long last snuffed out the stupid moths, but they never did get into any books. It was quite an ordeal, but we didn't have to resort to pesticides; they are not impossible to eradicate. They just finally made me mad enough to wage the war. Sounds like you're there. I sympathize!

A couple summers ago I opened a bag of flour from the store that had the potential to start everything over again. Ugg! At least I know what to look for now.

Kim said...

Yep, nothing is going into the pantry in a box or plastic bag again. I didn't think about the vacuuming until Vegan Aide mentioned it, but that's the project for today- get the last little bits (canned goods and such) out of the pantry and vacuum up all the bug bits I can find. I'm so happy to hear they didn't get in your books!! If they get in my books I'll be absolutely crushed.

Loretta said...

Kim, The bugs come from the grocery store (I got mine from Winn-Dixie) and you can sometimes see the moths flying down the pasta aisle. Don't forget to check your spices in the kitchen. They especially like paprika. I keep my spices in ziploc bags. You can put about 6 or 7 in one bag, and check them every once in a while. If you find the maggots or beetles (pre-moth), you only have to toss away that group. Loretta
p.s. All mine are gone now.

Kim said...

We're chipping away at the problem, slowly but surely. It's really aggravating, though; so much time, money, and food wasted. :(