horrid little worms in my dry pasta--what? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 42 Old 01-12-2007, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I realize they are God's little creatures too, but honestly I just can't handle worms! Other bugs/critters I can deal with, but now I'm really :Puke .

They are small (1/4 inch?) and about the color of dry pasta. Are these pantry moths? I dumped out a box of pasta last night, and there were several worms and a lot of what appeared to be pasta dust. We opened some more pasta and there were more worms and more of the dust. We store about a milk-crate full of dry pasta at any given time because DH's father works for a pasta company and gets it for us cheap. Guess it's all getting thrown out now. :

Anyway, I've been reading that I basically have to throw away everything in my pantry that isn't being stored in glass jars, even things that are not opened up yet (like bags of unopened yummy organic tortilla chips ). Does anyone have experience with this? This seems so wasteful, but I can't keep food that might be harboring eggs. Ick! I searched the archives for this subject, but couldn't find any threads where people weren't sure what the pest was. I haven't seen moths, per se, just these little wormy things. Anyone know?

Help!

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#2 of 42 Old 01-12-2007, 04:09 PM
 
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sounds like moths to me I would throw out anything unopened or that has easy access to the buggers at this point. Make sure you keep all containers to be stored for long periods CLOSED. I just de-mothed/weaveled my pantry and kitchen recently. They reproduce in grain. So they aren't really "dirty" but still gross anyway.

Pretty soon you may find brown moths flying around. If you find 2 make sure to kill them. Or you will only have more.

Due with number 5 in August. We do all that crunchy stuff.
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#3 of 42 Old 01-12-2007, 04:20 PM
 
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Oh, those moths are HORRIBLE! they get into everything and the results are so gross. Ick, yuck, I'm so sorry you've got them.

I'm afraid that if I were you, I'd dump everything -- or at least everything that shows any signs of infestation. They leave this repulsive web material all over when larvae are present, so they aren't hard to spot.

In addition to glass containers, I've read that briefly freezing new grain products when you bring them home will kill any eggs they might harber, and help prevent a reinfestation.
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#4 of 42 Old 01-12-2007, 04:51 PM
 
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I didn't throw out all of my stuff but I did get rid of the bag with the bugs in it.
I never saw any moths.
I haven't had problem since then.

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#5 of 42 Old 01-12-2007, 05:25 PM
 
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I wouldn't think that a bag of unopened chips would need to be thrown out. Makes me want to run out and by some airtight containers!

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#6 of 42 Old 01-12-2007, 05:34 PM
 
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an alternative to throwing everything out, is to seal everything inside an air tight container. I really do mean EVERYTHING.

This way if any of your remaining food is contaminated, the bugs cannot migrate to other food. After time (several months) it will become pretty obvious which things are contaminated and which aren't. Just check the container before you open it. If you see signs of contamination, bugs or even just webbing, get rid of it.

I fought a horrible infestation of pantry moths. It went on for months and I ended up having to dump bleach down every crack and crevice of my kitchen. It was awful. I now keep all my dry goods sealed, DH thinks I'm nuts, but he wasn't in my life the year I battled the moths so he doesn't really understand how bad it can get.

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#7 of 42 Old 01-12-2007, 08:56 PM
 
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I also find that keeping one open container of something during this process is helpful. It helps to attract others and then you can throw it out.

Due with number 5 in August. We do all that crunchy stuff.
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#8 of 42 Old 01-12-2007, 09:45 PM
 
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It helps to freeze these items. If you freeze everything-- pasta, legumes, grains, flour, meal, etc., for 24 hours, you will kill anything that could reproduce. I tend to buy my bulk items -- rice, oatmeal etc etc etc in the deep of winter, and leave it in the garage or in a covered bin outside my kitchen (could use an apartment roof -top or balcony) for at least 24 freezing hours.

If you live in a warm climate, or buy when it's warm, put this sort of thing in your freezer for a couple of days.
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#9 of 42 Old 01-12-2007, 09:50 PM
 
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Of course, then you're eating all the little dead moth eggs ... but it's better not to dwell on that sort of thing, because that way lies madness.
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#10 of 42 Old 01-12-2007, 10:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalia the Muse View Post
Of course, then you're eating all the little dead moth eggs ... but it's better not to dwell on that sort of thing, because that way lies madness.

'tis true. It's not a bad source of protein, truth be told.

There are not many true vegetarians. Even goats eat buggies, and chimps eat termites. People inhale gnats.

It is what it is.
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#11 of 42 Old 01-12-2007, 11:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Thalia the Muse View Post
because that way lies madness.
Exactly! I'm feeling better about it tonight, after a couple margaritas and a lot of help from my Mom. She was braver than me, and went into areas of the pantry I dared not go. We threw a lot away, but some things we just isolated to watch. For the record, the little buggers *can* get into unopened items. Gross!

Thanks for the tips! Keep 'em rolling, as I'm sure this battle of mine will continue for a bit. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who's dealt with this.

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#12 of 42 Old 01-12-2007, 11:33 PM
 
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This is why I could never not touch alcohol.

It makes reality a little less. :
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#13 of 42 Old 01-12-2007, 11:40 PM
 
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And just to further freak you out...they are already *in* the sealed packaging...they don't migrate through plastic to other sealed plastic packages. It's just a matter of whether they die, or hatch, before you eat them. So freeze whatever you get so they can't reproduce.

And I really hate to be the bearer of such news.
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#14 of 42 Old 01-13-2007, 12:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
And just to further freak you out...they are already *in* the sealed packaging...they don't migrate through plastic to other sealed plastic packages. It's just a matter of whether they die, or hatch, before you eat them. So freeze whatever you get so they can't reproduce.
Yes and no. They obviously came into my pantry in the first place through some new package of something I bought, but the little creepies were actually eating through new, unopened (by me) plastic bags that were possibly not contaminated before entering my pantry. The bags then had tiny little holes in them where the icky dusty stuff would fall out. So yes, they can be (and were) in sealed packaging to start out with, but they also "migrated" as well. It's like the worst of all possible worlds! :

BTW, that is exactly what I like about margaritas! Cheers!

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#15 of 42 Old 01-13-2007, 12:32 AM
 
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Yes and no. They obviously came into my pantry in the first place through some new package of something I bought, but the little creepies were actually eating through new, unopened (by me) plastic bags that were possibly not contaminated before entering my pantry.
what I like about margaritas! Cheers!
Oooooooh, I have never had the experience of seeing little dinner holes through the plastic packaging. Blech. Ick.

Pour another round!
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#16 of 42 Old 01-13-2007, 02:52 AM
 
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I know way too much about these critters, unfortunately. My best story about them, though (and this explains the whole how do they get through the packaging thing), is that about 11 years ago, when Power Bars were pretty new and I was running a ton and eating them all the time, I found a larva inside the Power Bar. Power Bars come in a pretty sturdy mylar-type wrapper. I called customer service (then located in someone's basement, I'm sure) and the guy who took the call was hilarious. He knew exactly what I was talking about and told me they gnaw right through the mylar in the warehouse. They sent me a whole case of free bars to make up for it, though I didn't ask; I actually just thought it was funny.

Since then I've had a couple more annoying encounters with them. Bulk foods are a big problem for me.

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#17 of 42 Old 01-13-2007, 12:13 PM
 
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Those s are nasty. FYI I have found them not just in grains, beans, flours, sugar, and nuts, but also in spices, dried hot peppers, raisins...they don't seem particular at all. They were only in the pantry, so I purged everything unsealed and started storing everything in boxes/plastic bags in another cabinet. They have a 6wk life cycle, so I gave it at least that long for them to hatch and then die before moving anything back. And I was ruthless in killing any adult moths that I saw. They seem to be gone for now.
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#18 of 42 Old 01-13-2007, 09:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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They have a 6wk life cycle, so I gave it at least that long for them to hatch and then die before moving anything back. And I was ruthless in killing any adult moths that I saw. They seem to be gone for now.
Ooh, that's good to know. By March, (dramatic pause) I should feel safe again.

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#19 of 42 Old 01-13-2007, 11:35 PM
 
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Should not have read this thread, I will now go freze all my food. :

Laura wife to Chris proud mommy to our lil monkey (c-section 6-10-06), our other lil monkey (HBAC 3-08-09) Our next and last son (due by HBAC mid July 2011) and our angel (10-03-04). My middle son has many severe food allergies.

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#20 of 42 Old 01-13-2007, 11:58 PM
 
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the freezer is your friend. we used to live in a condo and every time new people moved in next door, we'd get cupboard bugs in our kitchen (we shared a wall) I found them in a bag of flour so we pitched everything and started over in our pantry, just in case. We got smart after a couple times of having to start over started keeping all dry goods (flours, rice, beans, sugar etc..) in the deep freeze. Now that we've been out of the condo and in our house for over a year, we haven't seen a single bug
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#21 of 42 Old 01-14-2007, 08:41 PM
 
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Gross but very, very effective way of dealing with pantry moths - you can get little sticky traps that have a phermone bait - they fly in, and that's that.

We've had many mini-infestations of them, and I was sick of throwing out food. I keep one of those little stickies at the bottom of the pantry, and can't tell you the last time I saw a moth (or wriggly worm in my pasta).

Quite ruthless, but I can live with that easier than I can with throwing away pounds and pounds of food.
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#22 of 42 Old 01-15-2007, 04:18 AM
 
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Oh. My. God. Just what I needed, something new to freak out about. Seriously, my scalp is crawling now I already freeze the bulk-type stuff that we bring in, and any flour that won't get used right away, but I never thought about freezing the other stuff.

I repeat. Oh. My. God.

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#23 of 42 Old 01-15-2007, 12:17 PM
 
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Oh! oh! I've got a story. So, we had a wee little problem with mice. I go get the D-Con poison that's maybe 2 years old out of the basement. I open the little package. There are dead little larvae in there. In the poison. I mean, come on! That's just not right.

And don't worry -- we are very careful with the kids and the poison, obviously.

And the mice are all gone now.

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#24 of 42 Old 01-15-2007, 03:24 PM
 
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We've battled pantry moths for the past three years. My DH is a home brewer and kept all kinds of grains in our pantry, and once they were there we couldn't seem to get them all. I would think we had gotten rid of them, and then a few months later there they were again.

I definitely recommend freezing everything to kill them, and the moth traps. I bought a bunch of those traps from Lowe's and that's what finally did it. It's a good way to know if there are any still about, because they come out of hiding to seek out the traps.

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#25 of 42 Old 01-15-2007, 07:46 PM
 
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Omigod. I thought I was the only one. I have found that the little buggers seem to like the whole grains best - they got into my *expensive* organic brown rice that wasn't even opened (yep, holes in the bag) but have never touched this giant bag of white basmati rice that we've had for probably 5 years... and that we leave open Same thing with flour - they were into the whole wheat within days, but the white flour sat untouched for months.

DH hates them - chases them around trying to kill them. I guess I'm too lazy to care that much... although I was seriously p'd off the other day when I opened up a jar that I was storing elderberries in, and found a moth and two larvae. G*d@mmit! That was a sealed container! DH thinks the health food store must be infested... but the elderberries come from a big glass bulk jar at the store.

A trap is a really good idea.

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#26 of 42 Old 01-15-2007, 07:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, I'm going to buy a trap. I've gone out and bought a bunch of new mason jars for storing (I already stored lots of things in them, but I stocked up on more of the half gallon ones for cereal and big things), and I'm feeling better. The jars obviously are only good for containing them, not for stopping an infestion in progress--but at least they can't jar hop!

Do any of you have a link to a reliable source that says freezing kills them? DH's father says it doesn't. He says they fumigate at the pasta company every couple months, because they are always a problem there. Which is gross, because I wouldn't fumigate my own home because of chemicals, and it's sort of nasty to think that I eat pasta from a factory awash in chemicals. But then it's also gross to eat pasta with worms! But anyway, I guess he feels like he knows all about them because of their factory battles with them, and they are under the impression that freezing is not effective. Hmmmm...

In other news, just as I was starting to get less prissy about not wanting to be near my pantry, my indoor cat starts bringing me earthworms as trophies and laying them at my feet. We've had such wet weather that I guess they are crawling in my basement under the crack in the cellar door and the cat is catching them and spreading them throughout the house. Arrrggghhhh!!! Last night dear cat delivered a live slug to my feet while I was trying to eat dinner (organic frozen pizza because I'm still not cooking again) and it started sliming its way across the room before DH relocated it outside. After that we crammed paper under the door, so we're screwed if we need to use it as a fire exit in a hurry, but at least I shouldn't have to finish a worm-infested dinner, then get up from the table and step on a slug! :

Seriously, I'm not usually this big a baby, I just really do not like worms!!!!

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#27 of 42 Old 01-15-2007, 08:07 PM
 
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Seal anything new in an airtight container for a good while. I would IMMEDIATELY put EVERYTHING into ziplock bags when I got home from the store. Those things are so hard to get rid of. I would think anything that is already air tight (ie. bag of unopenned chips) would be okay. I probably wouldn't throw anything out yet, just seal it up (quarantine) and wait and see. That way you don't lose everything, only the stuff withthe little buggers in it.
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#28 of 42 Old 01-16-2007, 09:38 AM
 
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I have just discovered these today. I have cleaned out the cupboards and thrown a whole heap of stuff away, but I have a large amount of organic brown rice that I can't afford to replace, so I am planning on eating it anyway. Tonight's dinner was infested rice that I sat and picked the visible worms out of and rinsed several times, is this ok to eat? No one is sick yet. Everything else has been transferred into jars or thrown away. I didn't know about the freezing thing, I might try that from now on
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#29 of 42 Old 01-16-2007, 01:41 PM
 
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Sorry, airtight bags aren't necessarily safe. They'll chew right through. I had to throw everything out and start over last year. I read someplace that keeping a stick or two of spearmint gum in the cupboard will repel them. True? anyone hear this/
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#30 of 42 Old 01-18-2007, 01:10 PM
 
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I wish I had not opened this thread. I wish I had stopped reading sooner!

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