Help Me! Grain moths are EVERYWHERE! - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-30-2005, 08:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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About 18 months ago I invited a friend to move in with me while she was going through a divorce. She brought all her food and grains. I have been doing battle with the grain moths ever since -- never knwe such a thing existed before that.

I thought I had finally conquered them -- threw out all my grains, bought tightly sealed plastic tubs (like for dry cereal) in which to store the new flours, etc. The grain moths tapered off to where I hardly saw them. Now they'r eEVERYWHERE. They got into my tightly sealed containers -- I threw out a whole thing of whole wheat flour, a big container of rice, an almost new container of cornmeal. I opened the raisins today and -yup -- moth on top, worms on bottom. They land in my iced tea if I leave it on the counter more than a few minutes. They land in my soup. They land in my cat's water bowl. They are EVERYWHERE.

My freezer is not large enough to house my entire inventory of food. I'm a broke single mama and can't afford to keep replacing grains, raisins, etc.

I have tried emptying the pantry, vacumming thoroughly around the edges, and replacing the grains, keeping them tightly sealed. That didn't work. What else can I do????

Kristi
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Old 08-30-2005, 11:08 AM
 
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Warning: This is the non-NFL response.

I once had a bad infestation that I battled for months. The only way I was able to finally resolve it was to throw out everything in the pantry. (I had tried much less drastic measures to no avail.) I then took apart the shelving and found those little cocoons wedged between the cracks. I scrubbed everything and sprayed with nasty bug killer. I put up those sticky strips to catch the flying ones. I left the pantry empty and repeated the scrubbing/spraying step two weeks later and found a few more cocoons where none had been before. I scrubbed again a week later without spraying and the pantry was clear of moths and ready to use.

I had to throw out everything, not just the obvious grains. I actually found eggs under the labels of cans. I also found larve in a dish of potpourri in my upstairs bathroom.

I hate those little suckers! They seem to be able to live on almost nothing.

Good luck!
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Old 08-30-2005, 11:35 AM
 
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They probably didn't get into the containers. They were in the containers when you sealed them. At least that was my experience.

I sealed everything in plastic containers. And I mean everything, not just grains. They got into the spices, the chocolate, and especially the sun-dried tomatoes. Sometimes I would notice a container still had an infestation so I would throw that one out. It kept the problem from spreading.

I followed some advice to use bleach to clean everything - each crack and crevice - in the kitchen. It didn't work and was a huge hassle.

The only thing that worked were phermone traps. The moths are attracted to the traps and then get stuck inside.

Mom to Kira March 2009
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Old 08-30-2005, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Did the phermone traps eliminate the problem?

I can't afford to throw away all my food!!! That's a huge expense and I just don't have the $$ to replace it. What did you eat while the pantry was empty? Forgive my ignorance, this is a sincere question.

Kristi
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Old 08-30-2005, 12:33 PM
 
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I shopped frequently and kept everything either in the fridge or freezer. I know what you mean about not being able to afford it--it cost a fortune, but for the infestation I had, doing it piecemeal just didn't cut it. I figured over the long haul it was cheaper than just having stuff reinfested.
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Old 08-31-2005, 10:02 AM
 
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The pheromone traps work. They only attract the adults, though. I hate those little {things} The only thing I hate more in the pantry are the flour weevils I've been battling for the past 6 years. Grrrrrrrr. :
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Old 08-31-2005, 10:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What's the difference between flour weevils and grain moths? How do I know if I have th em too????
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Old 08-31-2005, 11:12 AM
 
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the weevil larvae look like ants in your flour until you see them up close, then they're really just a little head and teardrop shaped body. They're about the same size as your standard house ant, though. They're not worm-looking like the moth larvae.

The little s can chew through anything. I kept spare flour and whatnot that I would buy on sale in my laundry room cabinets and I grabbed a bag one day that looked like a salt shaker - they'd bored perfect little holes all over it!

I read somewhere that bay leaves deter them, so I scattered bay throughout my cupboards after cleaning them thoroughly... I think they missed that memo, though, because I found them huddled around a leaf later. :
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Old 09-07-2005, 05:39 PM
 
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Kristi -

I don't have any advice for you, but wanted to post to say THANK YOU SO MUCH for asking this question!!!! I have grain moths (pretty sure!) in teh pantry and they are driving me NUTS but I didn't know what they were called - I've never heard of these things before. Bless your heart now I have a name for these devils (I looked them up and they seem to be what are tormenting me) and now read there are traps for them.

Sigh - It's been a frustrating year with these little beasties and now I am encouraged that there could maybe possibly be an end in sight.

Thanks again, and I hope you get your infestation cleared out SOON

Tamara
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Old 09-07-2005, 11:19 PM
 
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OK so I find these bigs in my flour. first larve and then little crawling things. they make teh flour look stringy.

is this grain moths?
flour weevils?
or another pest?

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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Old 09-08-2005, 12:24 PM
 
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I have done this battle before.

I had to throw everything out. Everything. It really sucked because we were broke at the time. For about three months I kept zero food in the house unless it was in a can or bottle or in the fridge. I wiped down the cabinets with a strong vinegar solution once a week. I bought flour and grains in small quantities and stored them in the freezer or fridge.

This was many years ago but I am still paranoid. I freeze all of my grains for at least a week before putting them in the pantry. Many of my grains stay in the freezer anyway since ww flour goes rancid at room temp. I store everything in airtight containers and look carefully before opening them to see if anything is flying inside. If so, I put the container outside, dump the conents, wash the container in hot water, and leave in the sun for a few days.

I also find that bulk bins at the hfs are the culprit for the source of them. I love our co-op and use it regularly but I am dismayed to see moth traps above the bulk bins.....not a good sign.
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