The other night I saw a moth in the house and about freaked out. You see, it was about this time last year that we found we had an infestation of Indian Meal Moths. The one the other night was the larger moths found outside (he was promptly relocated back out), which was a huge relief.
My mother always kept a sparkling clean house and we never had a problem with bugs. That explains why I didn’t know what a cockroach looked like when I took my first full time job, which happened to be in apartment management.
I won’t say my house is clean all of the time, but during our 23-year marriage, we have managed to keep our house clean enough to keep pests away.
There’s almost nothing I hate more than a bug in my kitchen.
So, imagine our surprise when we learned that what we thought were harmless little moths were actually a “pantry pest,” or Indian Meal Moths, as nasty a critter as the cockroach and just as destructive to food – both human and dog.
It’s not uncommon to have a stray moth fly in our house, we’re usually invaded by ladybugs in the fall and at first I thought this was just another critter that slipped in the door or an open window.
In all our years of having pets, we’ve never encountered this problem before, but apparently, these things usually hitch a ride in on dry pet food or treats, or birdseed – all of which we had in our pantry.
This was Lesson #1,987 of living in a small house. Since there is no separation from the pantry and kitchen areas, it was easy for these critters to make their way across the room and get into our cabinets.
We realized we had a problem when we spotted more than just the stray moth flitting around the house.
When I learned that these icky things were probably nesting in our house and helping themselves to whatever was in our pantry, I immediately began researching eco-friendly ways to rid ourselves of them and their off-spring.
First, almost everything that was open in the pantry needed to be tossed.
Second, thoroughly cleaning the suspected infected pantries with straight vinegar (including removing all of the shelves as these things are hard to spot in egg and larvae form) and cleaning all cracks and holes in the pantry will usually do the trick. (I even found nests in the round peg holes where the shelves can be move. Ugh).
I used a combination of Clorox spray (purchased before my quest to go chemical free) and vinegar to clean the pantry. Luckily, I only found evidence of the moths in one pantry. Next, Dale bought a bunch of plastic containers that seal tightly before we brought anymore food home.
Finally, I read that both lavender and whole bay leaves will keep them, well, at bay. I used both. I also used sticky Pheromone traps, which lures the male moths. Once all of them are gone, they cannot reproduce. The problem was that it took several months before all of them were caught.
However, we finally rid ourselves of these pesky critters and I hope we never get them again.
What’s the worst pest you’ve had in your house and did you get rid of it using a green method?