Yikes! We have mealy worms in our cereal!!! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 4 Old 09-29-2005, 12:32 AM - Thread Starter
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This evening I noticed 4 or 5 small moths flying around in the cupboard when I opened it and after a little detective work found a box of granola with mealy worms! : I threw it out. But what else should I do? I am assuming anything sealed in plastic is okay. But what about dry goods (like rice) in a cardboard carton? Is food only potentially contaminated if it has been opened? Do I need to scrub down the cupboards or sprinkle something? Thanks in advance for any help anyone can offer on this!
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#2 of 4 Old 09-29-2005, 02:05 PM
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What you need are a bunch of glass jars. If you don't have any and can't buy any affordably (look for canning jars, in many stores at this time of year) use clear plastic containers that seal tightly. You'll also need a permanent marker, and tape or labels if you want to be able to put other things in those containers later.

Inspect the entire outside of each unopened package for small holes (worms can chew thru many things), webs, sticky stuff, or funny-looking granules. Put any that look suspicious in a pile along w/all opened packages.

Next, for each package in your pile: Pour half the food into a jar. Tilt or stir the stuff and look for worms, eggs, webs, or anything other than the food. If you see any, throw it out. Inspect the other half of the food in the package, then add it to the jar. Then check inside the empty package. If all is well, label the jar.

Clean the inside of the affected cupboards. (I've always used vinegar for this, but I don't know if it actually does anything to repel the bugs.) Keep everything in jars or other tightly-closed unchewable packages for at least a few months, and the bugs will decide it's not a good habitat.

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#3 of 4 Old 09-29-2005, 07:28 PM
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Ew. We've had this problem too. Those pesky buggers can be called pantry moths, grain moths and a few other names, but they're all probably the small, silvery-winged moths that can be in any package of grain/cereal item. Envirobecca had some great ideas. When we get grain products we store opened foods in either glass, ziplock or tupperware-type containers. For flours, rice, oats in bags (like from the bulk bins) I put them directly in the freezer for no less than 3 days. Then those grains are transferred to a bug-proofed container. That usually will kill the larvae (mealy worms) and the eggs.

You may have an infestation to contend with. Look along the ceiling where the wall meets for little 1/2 inch cocoons. And in any opened container for the mealy worms. You can buy pantry moth traps which are a nontoxic pheramone attractant in a little card board box lined with sticky stuff. They fly in and can't get out. Gross, but effective. That and a thorough cleaning/purging of any opened grain products is the only way I've been successful at ridding our pantry of them.

We have problems iwth them in birdseed and rabbit food out in the garage. I don't bother freezing those products or keeping them sealed. They were really bad in some deer feed one year and I just ended up dumping the whole mess out in the compost heap. Yuck. Can't wait for winter to freeze 'em all!!
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#4 of 4 Old 09-29-2005, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help with this--sound like DP and I have a project for this evening!
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