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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Yes, Creatures Were Harmed in the Making of This Post

This post is not pretty. I'm so sorry to have to string together such unappetizing and gruesome words together for the first post in months, but honestly, it's about the first significant activity to occur in my kitchen in quite some time. For those who are easily offended, I suggest you close the browser window now. If there are young children in the room, perhaps more pleasant activities can be arranged, like seeing "My Bloody Valentine 3D" at the local theater or laying down some bets at the local cockfight.

Recently, I'd come to notice something rather unsavory lurking in my pantry. Its arrival, I've come to believe, was in the form of an edible Trojan horse that made its way into the pantry. The doors swung shut, the lights went out, and then "they" emerged and started to party.

Pantry moths!

I noticed one of the little buggers a short time ago. He was resting on the inside of my pantry and took flight when I swung open the door. Later, I noticed another. They seemed to travel alone, and sporadically, but I couldn't deny that they weren't just passing through.

I began researching the little bastards and discovered that getting rid of them would require some diligent cleaning and an unfortunate tossing of much of my pantry stock. To my relief, I learned that their presence doesn't necessarily indicate a dirty pantry or poor cleanliness. They usually arrive in packaged goods brought home from the grocery store. Angoumois moths, Mediterrian flour moths, and Indian meal moth eggs are often present in grain, seed, nut and flour products. Once hatched, they set up residence in your kitchen and begin play hop scotch across your future dinners with their numerous brothers and sisters.


THIS IS HOW THEY START...




...BUT IT LEADS TO THIS!





So to remedy, I removed every item from the pantry. The outdoor garbage bin quickly grew very heavy under the weight of pastas, rices, flour, cornmeal, breadcrumbs, nuts, dried fruit and cereals. I inspected each bag or box and believe I found a possible source of the infestation, a bag of wild rice. It's ziploc type seal was securly fastened, but I found small web-like threads and even one live moth, flapping excitedly inside it's plastic pouch prison. There were a few items that had only been place in the pantry within a few days, so those were securely zip-locked into plastic bags and placed in the freezer for a few days as a precaution.

Once the pantry was empty, I vaccuumed every shelf and surface with a religious fervor unmatched even by the insanely horrific reverend Fred Phelps. Next was a heavy dousing with some ammonia based cleaner, including the sides and ceiling of the pantry. A good rubbing of orange oil into the wood finished the job. I wiped down all my canned and bottled goods, placed them back into the pantry and crossed my fingers. Any new supplies of flour and such will be quarantined in the refrigerator until I am sure that I have slayed the last of these winged devils.

**Update**

A few weeks has passed since my cleaning and I do believe that I've eliminated the flying bastards. However, I've learned that it's best to keep small supplies of flours, grains and other products they like. From now on, I'll only purchase supplies that I'll use within a month or two. Any larger amounts will be stowed in the refrigerator.

4 comments:

Laura Rebecca said...

I hate those little F**kers. They are ridiculously difficult to get rid of, so my hat goes off to you.

I foolishly thought that storing food in plastic zip-top bags would stop them but, no; mothras can chew right through those bags.

Now, I'm storing flours, rices, cereals, etc. in glass jars or Tupperware containers with a tight seal.

Moon said...

They don't call them pests for nuttin'. I wish you good luck because those bastards just don't give up. I got these tricky little plastic containers and the top has four latches that secure the entry. Been lucky, so far.

Trig said...

You missed a great opportunity there by disposing of this self-storing food produce. Did it not occur to you that it may have found its way into your larder for a reason? Check this out: Munching Moths.

KT said...

Oh, these guys are horrible. If you haven't already, get some moth traps! They work with a pheromone and catch all the males so they can't reproduce.

I found that no matter what you do, a few tricky moths will find some random forgotten spot that perhaps has a few crumbs and that's all it takes to get yourself a new batch in a couple of weeks. The traps really help with this.

They seem to be able to get in almost anywhere. I found a worm inside a sealed jar of ghee that had never been opened. :-/

The trpas really work though ... I accidentally got some "pheromone" on my fingers when setting up one of the traps and I had moths come out of the woodwork and follow me to the bathroom to clean it off. They're dead now.