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Aunt Norma's

Blog

Pantry Moths are BACK!!!!

Posted on 31 May, 2013 at 17:12 Comments comments ()
So, As many of you have noticed, as the weather warms up, Those darn pantry moths you thought you got rid of last fall are all of a sudden BACK!!  "What the heck is going on?", you ask, as just the sight of a single pantry moth flying around the kitchen brings back those feelings of disgust and panic you felt the last time you had to deal with this pest.
 
The truth is, that although you may not have seen them in awhile, these moths are probably part of the original gang that you were dealing with before.  Under normal circumstances, a pantry moth egg/ larvae hatches in 2-14 days.  When the weather cools off, though, the larvae can go into somewhat of a hibernation mode, and they can stay in their lovely cocoon for months.  When the weather warms up, all of a sudden, these moths decide it's time to emerge.  As a single female moth can lay up to 300 eggs, it is unlikely that you got all of the eggs the last time around (especially since the moths can lay eggs ANYWHERE...like on the underside of picture frames or in corners of other rooms besides the kitchen).  So don't immediately assume that the moths are back in your food.   You likely can avoid a full-blown pantry clean out with just a few simple steps.  Keep in mind- these are probably just left over moths, so if you nip it in the bud, you can avoid another full-blown infestation. 
 
The very first thing I would recommend doing is putting out a pantry moth trap.  This is the most effective place to start that also requires the least amount of effort.  Just place a pantry moth pheromone lure trap someplace close to where the pantry is- like on top of the refrigerator.  A pantry moth trap will lure and trap the male moths, so that the breeding cycle is interrupted hopefully before it begins!  I would also be careful to protect the food in your pantry to prevent the moths from feeding on it.  The easiest way to do this is to seal all food items in glass or suction-lid containers.  I like to keep most of my grain products in the freezer to eliminate ANY chance of moth infestation.  Another easy trick is to spray an insect repellent, like Aunt Norma's Pantry Moth Spray, around the cabinets and shelving.  Be sure to use a NON-TOXIC spray if you are going to do this without removing the food first.  Aunt Norma's is made from natural essential oils so it is safe to spray directly around sealed containers (obviously not IN the actual food) to deliver the scent that keeps discourages moths without having to worry about chemicals in and around your food. 
 
If you follow these easy steps, you should be able to get ahold of a moth re-infestation before it becomes a big issue (or ruins your groceries!!).  Anyone who has spent countless hours cleaning out their pantry and throwing away hundreds of dollars of food knows that it is better to quash a moth problem before the moths take over.  Being vigilant when you first see a moth can prevent a lot of needless work and expense later.  You know what they say about an "ounce  of prevention"!!

PANTRY MOTHS IN DRYWALL??

Posted on 11 May, 2013 at 14:34 Comments comments ()
QUESTION:
Hello,

It seems we may be just beginning our journey with pantry moths. I have read your website and a few others and looked at pictures. I appreciated your picture comparison of pantry moths vs. clothing moths. I am certain now we are dealing with the darker version, which is an Indian moth. And from what I've read, there's never just one.

What I can't seem to figure out from websites and comments posted is if we have an infestation, how many flying moths (approx) should we be seeing at one time???? For the last month, we have found 1 a day, with one occasion of 3 in one day - all at separate times. I can find NO evidence of moth life stages anywhere (no webbing in food, no cocoons full or empty, no eggs, nothing except one flying moth a day).

I have fully emptied my food pantries and have the food in rubbermaid bins. We put out the traps and have only caught 2 in a week. But we have seen one a day, still. So far none today.

Can you tell me what kind of numbers would indicate a problem? We would love to avoid a true infestation!!!!

Thanks,
Deborah
 
AUNT NORMA'S REPLY:
I hate to say it, but if you have even just a few, you likely already have an infestation.  The GOOD news is that b/c you caught it so early- you should be able to get rid of them before there's a BIG problem.  The most important thing is to figure out the source, and if you are unable to do that- thten you have to treat the entire pantry and everyting in it as a potential source.  Either way- the most important step for you right now is to clean out the pantry- go through everything that's in there and wipe it down, check the lids, etc.  Even if you don't want to order the moth spray, you can do a lot on your own at this early stage.  I would recommend throwing out as much as you can, follow the instructions on the website about checking the food items and the pantry wood, and put your grains and spices in the freezer for a week. If you've seen even just a few- there are more to come.  Each adult moth lays between 50-300 eggs a day... the eggs probably just haven't hatched yet (it can take anywhere from like 1-4 weeks to hatch depending on different conditions like temperature). 

When it first happened to me, I saw a few, like you, but I didn't recognize what they were so did nothing and then a month or so later I had about 100, with worms and cocoons and the whole shebang.  I had to throw out everything and keep food out of the pantry for a week.    Also- since you have the grains in Rubbermaid containers (which sometimes they can even weasel into through the sides and lids, believe it or not, check the containers every few days see if there are moths or worms in anything- this can help identify the source.

Good luck and please let us know if we can be of further assistance.
RESPONSE:
Thank you so much for your time and response.  For the life of me, I can not find a source.  So for now, it will be the trash, the freezer and/or Rubbermaid for all our food. 
 
I'm thinking we may be in touch!  :)
Deb
 
AN:  You're welcome. Anything I can do to help. I have become a kind of accidental moth expert ;-)
 
DEB: 
WE FOUND THEM!!!  You were absolutely right and we persevered.  The larva and one cocoon were wedged in the back of the pantry between the removable wooden shelving and the wall.  We have tuck-n-groove shelving and they were tucked in a groove.   I think we will be ordering spray if I can't find it locally. 
 
We have removed all the wooden shelving and metal hardware that was anchored to the wall.  So far we can't see that they are living in the wall, but we only found 1 cocoon and 5 live larva.  That can not really be all, can it???   My fear is that they are living in the dry wall and we just can't see them.  We did not see any eggs, which concerns me.  Maybe the eggs are hiding in the wall and the larva are crawling to a nearby location. 
 
Any thoughts on how to treat back there?
 
AN:  Ha!!  YAY- you found them!!  That's a good thing.  Now, be careful not to go into full-blown moth paranoia, which is what usually happens at this stage, lol.  Remain calm.  You got the problem early and should be able to get rid of them without a big issue.  Let me address some of your concerns:

I seriously doubt they are living in the drywall- unless you can see wholes and such in the wall, in which case I would recommend spraying the moth spray inside those holes and around the wood, etc.  Don't get too worried about not seeing the eggs- they are absolutely miniscule and you probably wouldn't see them if they were in front of you- I've never seen one personally.  It's hard to tell how many eggs are around, and (you aren't going to like this part), you will probably be seeing pantry moths for the next couple weeks.  This is all part of the process.  The key to getting rid of them is to eliminate their food source, keep them from reproducing, and kill the adults.  Just to review the info on the web and what we've talked about before- get the food out of the pantry- keep what you can in the freezer and the rest in glass or SECURE plastic containers on the counter or kitchen table for a few days or a week.  You want them OUT OF THE PANTRY.  The moth spray helps with this b/c it kills eggs and they HATE the smell so they won't go back in if it's sprayed, but you can do it without the spray too, it just takes a bit longer.  there's no way around the die-off process, short of a chemical bomb in your home, b/c they eggs are too small and could actually be anywhere in the kitchen and the house, so you will see some adults as these eggs hatch...don't panic.  Just keep the cupboards clear so they can't get back in and set up shop again. A pantry moth trap will help with the process b/c it kills the adults when they hatch.  Either way, if you eliminate the food and keep the pantry empty and clean, they will die off, hopefully before you have a bigger problem on your hands.  If you use the spray, you can keep some food and items in your pantry as long as they are in glass or secure containers and you touch up the doors or shelves with the spray every few days to keep the smell fresh. 

In the meantime- at least make sure to thoroughly wash down all surfaces in the pantry b/c their could be more hiding.  Good luck I'm glad you are making progress!
 
 
 

Why are the pantry moths coming back??!

Posted on 11 May, 2013 at 14:23 Comments comments ()
Aunt Norma,
 
Here is a picture to give you an idea of what I'm working with. I'm sitting on the couch in the main living room taking the picture. On the left is the sitting room/tv room. Middle is living room (where I'm sitting) and china cabinet area(where you see the picture of the dogs on the wall) , the doorway on the left of the picture is the kitchen. then you see the mirror and all the way on the right is the foyer and front door.

I have a trap in every room because I don't want them traveling the whole house to get the another trap. And they ALL have moths on them! Just put one where the china can area is because my housekeeper said she saw one there. Also have a trap in the pantry, cabinet with dishes and on the table in kitchen. Sooooo total of 8 traps around the house. Only one without moths is the one in the pantry where all the food is! I'm grateful but so angry!!!!

Okay so there you have it. Advice?
How long do they take to die off or is there something I'm missing and they keep replicating???
AUNT NORMA'S RESPONSE:
If you live somewhere with seasons, it is possible that these are eggs left over from the last time and they were "Hibernating".  Well, they don't really hibernate, but they can take a lot longer to hatch when it is cooler, like up to 41 days.  So count back till the last time you had moths... I think it's been longer, though- so probably these are new moths.  If you are NOT seeing them in the pantry, it is likely b/c of the scent of the spray.  Try spraying some of the other areas, like around the closet (but not on clothes it might stain) to hopefully get them out in the open.  Keep watch on your grain and pet food products, if they can't get to the food and you have moth traps set out- this should interrupt their life cycle and they will die off before taking hold in your house again.  The life cycle really varies and can take anywhere from 30-300 days, so the sooner you get a handle on it the better.  I know it's really frustrating.  I wonder why you are so prone to them...?  It's strange.  I think the most troubling thing is that they are all over- not in just one area that you can treat.

Just try to keep your food safe, have the traps out, and go on with your life knowing you are doing all you can.  Eventually, they will die off and you can have some peace again.  Keep touching up with the spray in areas where you see them.
Good luck.
 
RESPONSE:
I am in Houston... we have 4 seasons and now it is starting to get hot and they are hatching.  I had a quiet winter and thought they were done!  Last night when I sprayed I saw 5 in the air but can't pipoint from where!!!  I am so frustrated, as you already know.   this morning the trap by my door has 11 on it.. I have searched high and low in that area and can't find anything!!!!
 
AUNT NORMA'S RESPONSE:
Which door...? One leading outside? Maybe they are just coming in from outdoors...?  Soo frustrating! I think they are everywhere right now though- I was running errands yesterday and saw one at Ross and also at CVS!!! They must be hatching all over for spring. 
 
RESPONSE:
Okay soooooo I put a trap outside on the front porch yesterday and there are now 15! and only 4 new ones on the trap inside the foyer... What can I do about outside... there is still a cabinet in my kitchen with just dishes that I am catching them but I'm not so much worried about that one... Soooo what to do about outside!
 
AUNT NORMA'S RESPONSE:
Wow! That's very interesting....! A little bit comforting but not THAT much as still have to figure out how to keep them away. I guess they just keep coming in from outside (as opposed to keep hiding and hatching in the house...) 
 
Is the Porch made of wood? Ate there places where the moths could be besting underneath? If yes- you could try an exterminator or done more serious chemical pesticides. Aunt Norma's is designed for gentle and safe INDOOR use- probably wouldn't be that effective outside. You could try something stronger since treating outside wont be putting your food, pets, or personal health in jeopardy. 
 
If you don't want to use chemicals... Try putting out some citronella candles (outside on porch) or one Of those electronic repellents if you have an outlet. 
 
We'll figure this out yet!
 
RESPONSE:
I will have my husband spray tonight... It is an old house and made of the same siding on the house... PLENTY of places for them to nest.   Thanks!!
 
 

Disaster Preparedness

Posted on 31 October, 2012 at 21:36 Comments comments ()
I Just wanted to send a note out to everyone on the East Coast affected by the recent disaster of Sandy.  I have many friends, family and loved ones living on the east coast, and my heart is going out to all of you as I watch the terrible images on the news.  Living in Los Angeles, we have been blessedly spared of the impact of this disaster, but we HAVE had three earthquakes in the past 2 months, and i wanted to take this opportunity to remind ALL of us how important it is to be prepared for emergency situations like these.
 
Ever since I watched the devastating images on Tv several years ago from Haiti in the aftermath of their earthquake, I have slept with an emergency kit beside my bed (and later I added one in my car).  Some basic reminders about what to include and plans to make ahead of time:
 
  • CROWBAR:  When I watched the images of disaster from both Haiti and Katrina, it occured to me that many of the people who perished and suffered the most injury were stuck in places.  Loved ones tried to dig people out, but there's only so much you can do with your bare hands.  I found a mini crowbar at Home Depot for around $8 that I keep near under my bed.
  • SHOES:  Always keep some hard-soled shoes near your bed or within easy reach, if there are windows blown out, you don't want to have to walk over broken glass.
  • WATER & DEHYDRATED FOOD:  This is self-explanatory, but always have more water than you think you'll need.  Also, you can find packages of dehydrated long-shelf life food in camping goods stores.
  • GAS:  I always try to keep my gas tank at least half full, imagine needing to get out in an evacuation and runnin gout of gas!!
  • FLASHLIGHT:  This can be one of the most important things to have.  Also note that it's best to keep a fresh pack of batteries OUTside of the flashlight, too many times I've reached for a flashlight only to find the batteries dead and or corroded.
  • PET FOOD & LEASH:  Hopefully your pet will be safely with you during any emergency, you want to have some extra pet supplies tucked in the kit.
  •  RADIO:  Something battery opperated or solar powered.
  • KNIFE:  It's a good idea to have a camping knife
  • ROPE
  • GLOVES
  • DUCKTAPE
  • FIRST AID KIT
  • LIGHTER OR MATCHES
  • CASH
  • 3 day supply of any essential medications
  • GLOW STICKS:  Make it easier for rescuers to locate you.
  • EMERGENCY CONTACT PHONE NUMBERS:  In this age of cell phones, few of us have all these numbers memorized
  • MAP
  • DESIGNATE A MEETING PLACE:  This is very important- tell all family members of a close by agreed upon meeting place, like a park
  • GLASSES OR SPARE CONTACT LENSES and supplies
  • HYDROGEN PEROXIDE:  I keep this in my kit b/c it can be used for a number of medical emergencies but can also be used to purify water in a pinch.
  • BLANKET:  If you don't have room you can find a "space blanket" at camping stores which doesn't take up space but can amplify body heat in emergencies.
 
 
 

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