Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I Am NOT Fond of This

So, about two weeks ago I began noticing a number of tiny moths flying about the house.

Sitting down to dinner one evening:


"We're always going in and out so much," I said, "and with it getting dark earlier, I'll bet these things are attracted to the lights."

We continued eating-- unphased.

But then one night, as I opened the pantry to grab some couscous:


At least half a dozen of them.

This is NOT right.

With a mix of anger and dread, I took everything off the top shelf of my little pantry, leaned in, twisted my head, looked above-- and saw them.

Dozens of the things-- perched like bats.

Oh. My. God.

Let me just say that -- in general -- I am not afraid of bugs.

I have encountered many an exotic specimen in my garden, and on occasion have even done the live capture so that my children could share the wonder.

But bugs that enter my house on their own accord.

Uninvited pests.

Creatures in my pantry.

My food.

No. Way.

Needless to say, I was mobilized.

Now, I could describe what I found in the depths of my pantry in glorious detail.

But quite frankly, my stomach is queasy just thinking about it.

Let's just say that every stage of development was represented.

So what are these things? And how did my pantry -- my house -- become infested with them?

Well, they're Indianmeal Moths, and they appear to have come from a forgotten bag of brown rice purchased from the bulk section at Whole Foods-- research tells me that "old" grains are prone to breeding the little creatures.

(Thus, I blame this breach on the fact that we don't eat nearly enough brown rice.)

Now, in addition to rice, these things seem to have a fondness for nuts (pecans purchased almost a year ago were a particular favorite) and sun-dried tomatoes.

Seems I have gourmet moths.

Anyhow, after taking apart my pantry twice-- vacuuming, scrubbing, and tweezing every tiny whole and crevice (then spraying 409 in every single opening).

After throwing away two large rubbish bags of food (essentially anything they could have gotten into).

My pantry is gleaming.

Exhibits A & B

And yet, I continue to find them.

Shown here, on my bedroom wall.

So now it's on to the pheromone traps-- these will only attract the randy males, but should help stop future generations.

In addition -- morning and night -- I inspect the pantry.

While home during the day, Evan and I go on the prowl-- my daughter actually thinks this is fun.

And as I type, something appears out of the corner of my eye...


Gotta go.


Minnesota Nice said...

Sister, perhaps you need an exterminator.

Sandra Miller said...

If only.

Because these things go after food, insecticides are a no-no.

Even exterminator websites say that you're essentially on your own.

From what I've read, they're very common (though I've never come across 'em before), and once they're in, they are a bear to get rid of.

Vigilance, apparently is key.

And you know, I'm all about being vigilant.

Tekakwitha said...

Oh my gosh Sandra. I had the exact same thing happen to me less than a month ago. They had gotten into a bag of grains that had been sitting on a shelf for much too long. I took everything out of my pantry (which is big), tossed tons of food, scrubbed with bleach water, and I'm still finding random moths!

I'm so sorry!

Brittney said...

My father is having the same exact trouble at the moment. We used to get them when we were breeding birds, but we moved since then. Once they get in, they are hard to get out.

Sounds like you have things under control as much as you can.

Jamie said...

Oh man - what a predicament! I can't say I've had problems with moths in our house - actually, in the house we currently live in, we've had no investations of any sort (fingers crossed) - but the last house we owned had ant problems - you know, those teeny, tiny little ants. My laundry room in the basement seemed to house the little critters by the hoards. The culprit? My wedding cake that was in storage in a big box - they found it (it was styrofoam, but had icing all over it). Needless to say, I no longer have the top of my wedding cake anymore *sigh*.

I hope you're able to get the little buggars out.

Anonymous said...

Shudder shudder shudder.
I am so afraid of bugs.

nicolep said...

Must be the year or something. Before we moved at the beginning of September, our former home had an infestation of these little things. They came (in a bag of wheat flour) and stayed. Put. In spite of several out and out total cleanings of our place. Gross nasty little things. I'm skeeved just thinking about it.

Bernard said...

These are a pain. As we generally have open bags of several types of flour, corn meal, etc, we're using Clip-n-Seal clips to close partially open bags of flour and other cereals. Plus we keep these inside Zip-lock bags.

This way we reduce the likelihood of infestation and should it ever happen, it's kept inside one bag.

Good Luck!

David Edelman said...

Sandra, my parents have the same problem. Last week, they literally had HUNDREDS of them on the ceiling. It was totally gross. Luckily they have a central vacuum and we just sucked up all of them. That was really satisfying. But next time we opened the door - BAM! - they were all back.

Good luck.

julia said...

Oh, jesus, I hate those things! Moths in general kind of freak me out, but when they're in my house, fuggedaboudit. Nuke 'em, I say. And store everything in glass jars.

Anonymous said...

wow, that really sucks! I had roaches once, ick.....little buggies are no fun at all.

Andrea said...

OMG, Sandra... that's so disgusting :(! Bugs of any kind skeeve me out... If I had that problem, I really don't know what I would do.

Actually I'd probably throw all the food in that cabinet away- even if some was not in contact with those buggers-clean the heck out of the cabinets, and probably not use those cabinets again...

I know, that's a little extreme, but I know every time I would go to the area where these bugs were, I would feel them on me... Eww!

Ok, I'm a psycho... lol.

Chrissie in Belgium said...

What you experienced has also happened to me, about 30 years ago. YUCK,YUCK, YUCK!!!!! To this day I keep all grains in tight plastic bags and all nuts in the fridge! I NEVER want to go through that again.

WOW what nice shiny CLEAN cabinets you now have!

Jess Riley said...

Oh, no! Eww! I discovered worms in my wild rice once...and bugs in the flour. Now I keep those items in the freezer. You've just got to stay vigilant with these pantry pests. Ewww, once again.

Anonymous said...

Add me to the list. This happened to us from a bag of rice about 6 months ago. So gnarley although my kids practiced their Mr Miyagi skills with catching the little buggers with their bare hands. I should have picked up some chop sticks and then had them sand the floor huh?

Wendy said...

I feel for you. I had weevils, once, almost twenty years ago, and the abject horror of it is still with me. I have seen a few small moths recently and am hoping I don't have a problem. Please God don't let me have a moth problem.

Kristina said...

I am having the same problem! I thought I got rid of them - believe it or not I found their eggs in an old box of girl scout cookies. Crazy, right?! I did what you did and cleaned out my pantries. For a while I have not seen them but they have started to come back and now I see them in my kitchen, bedroom, and living room. But they are not in my pantries. Its totally weird and very annoying! Like you I wish I could figure out how to get rid of them. Let me know if you have any luck!