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Aunt Norma's


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How to Get Rid of Spiders Naturally

Posted on 16 December, 2014 at 16:15 Comments comments (33)
Kill Spiders NaturallyEven though spiders are a natural and beneficial part of our lives (they actually eat other insects) most people aren't thrilled to see them in their home.  I remember reading a statistic someplace that at any given moment, you are never more than 30 feet away from a spider.  Now, I don't have arachnophobia, but, honestly, I can't stand spiders!  I don't necessarily like smashing them, either, but I hate the thought of using a chemical insecticide in my home- especially in the kitchen.  Luckily, there is a very effective natural way to get rid of spiders. 

2).  Use a non-toxic Spider Powder to kill spiders and eggs
Get Rid of Spiders   Here at Aunt Norma's, we have devised a method that effectively repels and kills spiders, their eggs, and prevents webs.  We have an all-natural Go away! Spider Spray(don't you just love the name??), and Go away! Spider Powder.  Both of these products are safe and effective, and use natural essential oils and other food-grade ingredients to repel and kill spiders- without worrying about having chemical pesticide residue in your home where it could be a potential danger to you, your pets, and your family.  You can use the yummy-smelling spray, which contains Cedar and Thyme, anyplace that you want to discourage spiders.  The scent lingers to repel spiders, and the unique combination of ingredients kills the eggs as well. 

     The Go away! Spider Powder will kill a spider within 24-48 hours of contact.  Now, as much as I hate spiders, I also hate the idea of killing them, which is why I like to call my Go away! Spider System "Fair Warning".  The essential oils give the spiders a heads up that they are not welcome.  (There are many essential oils that deter spiders, and Aunt Norma's uses only the finest and purest essential oils that you can be assured are safe in your home...heck, they even make the place smell good!) This way- you can ease your guilty conscious (if you have one regarding bug-killing) that the spiders had every opportunity to take the hint and GO AWAY!  If they refuse to cooperate, well, the Go away! Spider Powder is the single most effective naturally-based method to kill spiders.  It WORKS! One sprinkling can last to kill and deter spiders for months- which makes Aunt Norma's Go away! Spider Powder an amazingly effective, safe and inexpensive way to naturally get rid of spiders. 


How to Get Rid of Moths Naturally: Trichogramma wasps

Posted on 16 December, 2014 at 15:10 Comments comments (34)
    So, I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I was going to work up the nerve to try the natural predatory wasps that are supposed to eat pantry moth eggs.  I first heard of the wasps a couple years ago when one of my customers suggested that she might try them.  I was pretty shocked- I had never heard of the moths and also was pretty horrified at the thought of setting a bunch of wasps lose in the house to get rid of moths...??!!  Aren't wasps a bigger pest than the stupid moths??  At least the moths don't sting! But, in the name of all things pantry moth, I decided to face my fear and see if I could manage the wasps- to give you a first-hand account of how they are.

Trichogramma wasp moth controlI intentionally developed a bit of a pantry moth infestation (which is terrifying to those of us who have HAD a real pantry moth infestation...)  I know now that Aunt Norma's Pantry moth spray and pantry moth trap will get rid of pantry moths, so I wasn't too worried, but made sure to keep my grains in the freezer (except for a few things left out to feed the moths) just in case.  I researched several places to order the wasps, and finally decided on a place that was still able to ship them into the fall (most places only harvest/ sell the moths in the summer/ spring... so they are hard to get in the fall or winter- they are generally available from March 1st-September 1st).  They weren't very expensive (under $15.00), but I was surprised that the delivery was delayed a couple weeks- it seems that the wasp nursery must be a bit temperamental.  I began getting a little nervous with the delay in the delivery, as I was anxiously watching the pantry moth infestation starting to get a little out of hand.  I DID finally cave in and put out a pantry moth trap so that the infestation wouldn't get unmanageable before the wasps arrived.

Natural moth control  So the wasps arrived in a plainly wrapped paper bag, labeled "Trichogramma".  The man assured me when I ordered, that these wasps are tiny and that I likely wouldn't even notice them in my kitchen. I opened the bag to find tiny little cups, and placed them in my refrigerator until I had time to read the instructions.  The package sat outside my door for a day- so I hope the wasps are still OK.  According to the instructions, the trichogramma wasps come inside the pantry moth eggs...which freaked me out a bit as I realized that meant that I had really just been sent a sh##load of pantry moth eggs!  This better work. 

Get Rid of Moths NaturallyThe Trichogramma Wasps attack and destroy pantry moth eggs.  Shipped as pupae in the host eggs, glued to one inch paper squares, the Trichogramma arrive ready to hatch out as adults wasps.  The instructions state to "Release 5,000 per 5,000 square feet weekly, for 3-6 weeks." 
"Wait- did I read that right.... 5,000 wasps??!!"  I must admit that this is probably one of the scariest things I've done.  Even if they are TINY- this means that I am releasing 15,000 wasps (there are 5000 to a dish, and I received three of these...) in my freaking KITCHEN???? 

Kill moths with Trichigramma wasps     They arrived stuck on small bits of paper that look like strips of sand paper inside plastic cups.  These are the moth eggs (tiny little things) that the wasp are attached to...?  If I am understanding the instructions.  Really- they just look like little bits of dirt in a cup.  Supposedly, they eat the eggs!  EW!! But this means that they spend all of their time flying around searching nooks and crannies for the eggs.  (I get like this when am on a diet and hide chocolate from myself... hunger is a pretty BIG motivator!)  The tiny beneficial insects are claimed to be effective because they prevent the pest from reaching the destructive larval stage. The instructions state that the wasps will not be a nuisance to people or pets.  They are supposed to be extremely small and "you will not even notice them".  Well, in the pictures I've found, they look terrifying!  Also- they are supposed to leave once they have eaten all the moth eggs.

     I placed the little plastic cups with the wasps inside in my pantry and waited.  I will say that I didn't really notice tons of wasps flying around- but I definitely DID see them.  They would be on the counter- I also continued to see moths flying around- so I guess the wasps didn't arrive in time to get all the eggs before they hatched.   As with any moth treatment, it can take up to 3 weeks for the moths leftover to complete their life cycle (since the wasps only eat eggs- the larvae or moths that are already there will NOT be killed and you will have to wait for them to die off on their own, or put out a pantry moth trap or use Aunt Norma's Pantry Moth Spray.  
Pantry Moth Spray It has been about a month since I released the wasps (and, technically, I didn't really do it right b/c I released all 15,000 wasps at once instead of spread out over a few weeks- I guess I misread the directions the first time around.) I am still seeing the occasional pantry moth flying around, but I definitely am not seeing the volume of moths that I know would be taking over my kitchen had I not intervened.   I am going to conclude, for now, that the wasps WERE effective.  I should wait another month to make sure that I don't get another round of moths (which would probably not happen if I had followed the instructions correctly), but for now- it appears that the wasps worked.  I'm not sure that Trichogramma wasps are for everyone, creating a food chain in the state of nature in your kitchen is not for the squeamish! 

I would love to hear anyone else's thoughts or personal experience with these wasps.  Please comment below!

Get Rid of Pantry Moths before the Holidays!

Posted on 24 November, 2014 at 1:23 Comments comments (13)
How to get rid of pantry mothsDon't let bugs or moths ruin your Thanksgiving Dinner!  No one welcomes the idea of sitting down at the table, after hours of slaving away in the kitchen, and watching your guests' faces turn to horror as somebody finds a worm in their wild rice stuffing!  Seriously, honey, you might never live it down.  You know how cousin (fill in the blank) likes to gossip and has always been jealous of your pie crust anyways.  She's been waiting for a chance to take you down a few notches, hehe.    You can't get rid of pantry moths overnight- but you CAN make them disappear before the big day.   Aunt Norma's non-toxic bug spray and non-toxic pantry moth spray can help you put this problem to rest before it leads to disaster and holiday humiliation.   

    The problem is, once you have seen a moth or a bug in your food storage area- there are bound to be more that you haven't seen...and they aren't going to leave on their own... you are gonna have to escort them out.  It seems counter-intuitive that the bug spray they sell that has enough chemicals to kill bugs is supposedly non-toxic to humans...?  The why do I have to leave and have my pets out of the house any time the exterminator comes?  I'm just not buying it, which is why I created the Natural Pantry Moth Spray, non-toxic Bug Spray for your kitchen, and the new Bug Powder and Spider spray

Check out my advice page on how to get rid of pantry moths and bugs in the kitchen.  Good luck... or you could always pretend that your oven fizzled and you have to change the venue to someone else's house!

Natural Moth Control: Predatory Wasps

Posted on 4 November, 2014 at 15:54 Comments comments (26)
Trichogramma Wasps kill Pantry Moths     OK...this is going to seem like a pretty outlandish solution for pantry moth control, but I am going to conduct an experiment using Natural Predatory Wasps.   Once upon a time while researching pantry moths, I came across the mention of Trichogramma wasps.  The idea is that every pest has a natural predator, and in regard to the Pantry Moth- it is this type of Wasp.  Now, I have only ever had one single customer brave enough to try them on a really stubborn infestation that couldn't be entirely controlled by the spray b/c the moths were nesting in the drywall and she couldn't get to them.  I was impressed with her bravery, but unfortunately, she never got around to following up with me to let me know how it turned out!  I have been very curious about these wasps for some time- seeing as I am fast becoming an All-Things-Pantry-Moth expert, but have never had the opportunity nor the courage to try them before now.  It seems that they are mostly only available for purchase online in the spring or summer- but I found a place willing to send me some as late as early November.  I am anxiously awaiting their arrival. 

I wanted to have a drastic alternative for people who simply cannot seem to free themselves of pantry moths.  Although Aunt Norma's Pantry Moth Kit is a very effective system, every now and again- like the woman with the moths in her drywall- there is a case that might need additional help.  I wanted to be able to effectively recommend or dis-advise the use of trichogramma wasps, so figured I should try them out for myself.  I don't think that this solution is for everybody- it is actually taking me awhile to work up the nerve to even try them.  The thought of the food chain taking place in my kitchen in front of my very eyes is quite a bit daunting, after all!

Next, I had to come up with a pantry moth infestation.  This is going to sound nuts, but I had a friend who was having pantry moth issues- so I offered to trade her a bottle of Aunt Norma's Pantry Moth Spray in exchange for one bag of pantry moth infested whole grain flour.  I have given the moths a couple weeks to effectively set up shop in my pantry- and the trichogramma wasps should be arriving any day now.  I will follow up after I receive the wasps.  

Adult Pantry Moth PhotosHere is some info I have been able to find on the wasps:
Trichogramma are tiny parasitic wasps that have a wingspan of 1/50th of an inch (so supposedly they are so tiny you won't even notice them flying around your home, which is good news, because they come in packs of like 50,000...which sounds terrifying.)  Once released, they attack and destroy (i.e. eat) the eggs.  These tiny beneficial insects are very effective because they prevent the (pantry moth) pest from reaching the destructive larval stage.   They do not, however, eat the larvae or adult moths, so you should expect it to take up to 3 weeks for moths to complete their life stages and die-off, after all sources of infested food have been eliminated and they wasps have been released.


Pantry Moths in the Winter: Last chance to get rid of them!

Posted on 4 November, 2014 at 12:23 Comments comments (8687)
If you are dealing with pantry moths, you may think that, as the weather cools off, the moths are disappearing.  Many people make the mistake of thinking that this means that the moths are gone, only to find that they have another full-blown infestation as soon as the weather warms up in the spring.  The fact of the matter is that once the weather cools, the moths become lethargic, and the unhatched moths can go into somewhat of a "hibernation" phase- where they remain inactive and the process is slowed down enough that you will not be seeing adult moths during the cold months.  That is why it is SO important to treat the moth infestation before the winter comes- or you will miss your chance to get rid of them, and they will STILL be hiding in and around your food (where you can accidentally be eating the larvae and eggs) until spring comes and they finally hatch into adult moths.  It is imperative that you take action now to prevent the moths from settling in for the cold months. 

To understand this hibernation phenomenon, we must go over the life cycle of the moth.  There are four stages in this insect's life cycle: 

1).  EGG:  These are very small- 0.5 mm- and cannot be seen by the naked eye.  The eggs start hatching in 2-14 days (unless the weather is cold), usually beginning in April. 

Pantry Moth Larvae2).  LARVAE:  This is the most destructive stage, and constitutes the majority of the insect's life.  This stage can last from 2 weeks to a full year!  In this stage- the moths look like tiny little white worms/ caterpillars.  When they hatch from the eggs, they are very hungry and start feeding immediately.  This is the only stage of the organism that feeds- so these are the buggers that are ruining your pantry staples.  As they feed, they produce silk that loosely binds to food fragments, appearing like webbing or cobwebs that clump food together.  This can be the first sign of an infestation. 
Pantry Moth Silk WebbingThe worms are capable of chewing through plastic bags & thin cardboard, and they can often be seen on ceilings and countertops.   Mature larvae usually leave their food supply and wander about looking for a place to pupate (make cocoons).  In heavy infestations, pupation may occur far from the original food source, which is why you can find the larvae in weird places throughout the home.
     Temperature greatly affects the life cycle.  Moths in areas with temperatures of 86 degrees & higher generally complete a life cycle in about half the time it takes moths in regions of or around 68 degrees F.  Moths express lethargy in temperatures led than 50 degrees F.  The larvae undergoes hibernation and metamorphosis inside a cocoon to avoid harsh climates & comes out as a moth for reproduction in the favorable time which is synchronized by a biological clock in the moths as well as ecological conditions prevailing there.  During the fall and winter months, the larvae will often enter diapause (a form of hibernation) only to emerge as adults when the weather warms in the spring, and live out the remainder of their life in that general area.   

Pantry Moth Cocoon3).  PUPA:  Upon reaching maturation, pantry moth larvae spin cocoons in the wall of their habitat, be it grain barrel or pantry.  The chrysalis (pupation) takes four to 30 days. 

Adult PAntry Moth Pic4).  ADULT:  Mature brown moths emerge from the cocoons and stay within the habitat of the larvae while searching for a mate.  The sole purpose of the adult pantry moth is to mate and lay eggs, and they only live for 5-25 days.  Females lay between 40-400 eggs on or adjacent to food.  They usually fly in a zigzag pattern at dusk & through out the night.  

Aunt Norma's Pantry Moth Spray, Pantry Moth Trap     It takes about a month to complete the whole life cycle, in the best of conditions, there can be 5-8 generations per year, and the hatching can overlap (which means that you could constantly have pantry moths in various stages for up to a year).  This is why it is so important to interrupt their life cycle before you perpetuate a continual infestation.  Being in the month of November- the moths are slowing down, and you are about to miss your chance at getting these pests before they hunker down for the winter.  So, let's get busy and clean out the pantry!  It is especially important to place any grains that you plan on storing long term in the freezer (to kill any eggs or larvae) and also to thoroughly wash down the delves, and storage areas like under the sink and where you keep the pots and pans as these can be prime real estate for hibernating/ pupating moths to hide out during the winter... biding their time until spring appears!

Pantry moths cannot do harm to clothing or carpets

Posted on 19 September, 2014 at 12:25 Comments comments (36)
I recently got a question about if pantry moths can harm clothing or rugs.  Pantry moths do not eat the fibers of clothing or carpets.  It IS possible that they might next and lay eggs there, but when the moths hatch into adults they will fly away in search of mates and food.  NOW- if the clothing or carpet has food particles on it- they could eat them...another reason to have seasonal clothing dry-cleaned before you put it away for storage. 

  Many people confuse pantry moths with clothes moths.  Here is a pic of a pantry moth; and a picture of a clothes moth so that you can see the difference and identify which you have.
Pantry moth photo picpicture of a clothes moth

unusual pantry moth sources

Posted on 10 September, 2014 at 8:42 Comments comments (41)
    I may have found something that you might want to put on your information page. I have been ripping things apart that I didn't suspect before and now am suspicious of something. You know the GRASS they put over the foam in artificial plants? I found some of it (a tiny bit) under my TV. It had a fresh WORM in it!!! I had always feared they were living in my real plants but repotted every single one and they aren't there. My problem starts in the front room every year, they don't reach the pantry until about a month or so according to my traps. Well anyway, I have my artificial ones in the shower under scalding hot water. I am putting bleach in the bases of them. I have a huge fireplace and 3 bookshelves on each side with a 6 ft mantle that I keep books, pictures then fill in with some artificial things because it doesn't get enough sunshine.
    I just never suspected the GRASS but have always made sure there no dried flowers, or anything like that.  I found some little decorative glass bowls and have filled with a cornmeal/boric acid mixture that I can hide behind pictures and things.
Well anyway, the fight goes on, I am in the 5th year. They will be gone by October and back in July but please God, let this be the last year.

Wanted to let people know about the grass, thanks.

Get Rid of Pantry Moths!!

Posted on 14 August, 2014 at 9:35 Comments comments (46)
Hi, everyone- just post your comment or question here by selecting the "comment" button underneath any post at all- I will receive the comment and it will open up the question to advice and shared experiences from other members of the forum as well. 

PAntry Moths in Cookbooks:

Posted on 28 July, 2014 at 10:38 Comments comments (33)

Q:  I left out the honey, canned beans, oil & vinegar...i guess i have to put it all away?

AN:  Ok- the canned goods are ok- but you should peel off the labels or wash the cans in hot soapy water. Honey...?  You just never know but I think you could do a visual inspection and see if there are any cocoons in the lid, etc.  Oils, vinegar- should be ok.   

 Q:  What I really seem to need is another refrigerator!  Oh to redo the 1970s kitchen! 

 AN:  I know- too bad this doesn't happen in the winter when you could just put things in a bin outside!

Q:  I am completely out of freezer room,  I was going to freeze the tea/spices/grains/etc. for a week then put those in the frig and put the other stuff that didn't fit in the freezer for its week of killing the larvae.

AN:  spices are a FAVORITE place for pantry moths to hide...) In a big cheap dollar store plastic shoe box.  That way- when I examined the various bins and bags every few days- IF there was evidence of Pantry moth infestation, I could easily identify which items were the source and toss the whole bag/ container.

 Q:  I figured the frig will keep them hibernating - i hope until i have room in my freezer...

AN:  The fridge will NOT kill them, but serves the same purpose as the Ziploc and plastic containers- you can see if something's contaminated when you open the fridge if a moth flies out.

 Q:  I did do the books at 180degrees for 10 minutes…s not enough to kill them...

AN:  It remains to be seen.  I've always heard you have to go hotter- but, Jeez Louise, 180 seems plenty hot enough to kill them!  Let me know...

 Q:  I only saw old worm casings and webbing etc in the books...nothing new

AN:  Ok, be VERY careful with the cookbooks, then.. they are clearly inhabited by moths- even if the webbings looks old. 

 Q:  I sprayed as much as i could and ordered a new refill bottle today.

AN:  Have you had any luck with the traps at all?  The combo really works- but you will have to sit on it a bit... it can take awhile for the moths to die off completely- especially in the hot weather.  Keep me posted!


Questions about Pantry Moths: Cook the Cookbooks?

Posted on 27 July, 2014 at 23:07 Comments comments (42)

Aunt Norma:  First of all let me tell you that I am SO SORRY that you are dealing with these miserable pests.... it's enough to make you go bonkers!  Hand in there, though- you CAN win the battle and get back to your normal life.  Let me address your questions:

Q:  I want to deal with all the cookbooks as they def lay eggs in them.  Suggestions...oven? How long? Temp?

AN:  Oh my.  That's tough.  It's hard to cook or freeze them enough to kill the eggs without damaging the cookbooks.  I'll tell you what, Lisa.  If I were you- and if you have cookbooks that are valuable both personally or monetarily, I would actually buy a big storage bin (like from Target or Home Depot) or at the very least get a big trash bag, and put the cookbooks in and then toss in about a cup of Diatomaceous Earth.  (Google it- it's an all-natural organic shell flour that is 100% TOXIC to insects but harmless to humans and animals)... you can get it very cheaply on eBay or Amazon- just make sure you get the food grade stuff and be careful not to snort it or get it in your eyes when you are using it.  I would send you some but I'm out and headed on vacation so don't have any more ordered.. but I use it all the time.  It's not so great on the adult moths- mostly b/c they fly and they have to have direct contact with the powder for it to kill them...but if you are worried about eggs it will work on the larvae IF there are eggs and IF they hatch.  I don't think you can get the oven hot enough to kill the bugs in the oven without catching the cookbooks on fire.  If you decide NOT to try the diatomaceous earth- I would suggest putting the cookbooks in baggies and freezing them for a week or so. 

Q:  Can I leave dried beans in ball jars in the pantry or do they need to be refrigerated?
Now, during cleaning, and in general?

AN:  These are a FAVORITE of the stupid pantry moths...You should inspect each jar carefully and throw out ANY that have webbing or evidence of moths in them.  Open the lids and look around.  Place these in the freezer until the moths are GONE, and perhaps after that if you have room to keep them safe.

Q:  Do I need to keep crackers, rice cakes and teas in the refrigerator even after all pantry moths are gone from our home? 

AN:  Well... this is tricky.  When I first had pantry moths- I got so paranoid that I kept EVERYTHING in the freezer for months after the last moth was gone.  even cereal and cake mixes, haha)  Better safe than sorry- but as long as you are NOT seeing moths, then you can assume that it is safe to keep such items in the pantry... but be on the lookout for late bloomers- some eggs don't hatch until months after the initial infestation.  If you see even ONE moth- put your grains and goodies away for safe keeping and mist the cabinets with Aunt Norma's Pantry Moth Spray to keep the repellant scent fresh and protect your food from re-infestation.

Q: When setting up the pheromone trap, do I put it in the pantry, in the kitchen or elsewhere? The moths are in cabinets and pantry and cracks in doorway etc. (so not one location).

AN:  Place the trap out and the moths will come.  Do NOT put it in your pantry or moths hatching in other places will fly INTO the pantry with the food items.   I find the best place is on the top of the refrigerator or on a top shelf somewhere out in the open.  The scent of the lure works for about 20-30 feet, so one trap per floor of the home...the moths will find it. 

Q:  Thank you!!!!!

AN:  You are most welcome- please keep me posted.  This is just the worst to go through- but the good news is that you will have a sparkly clean, clutter-free kitchen when you are done.  I wish there was an easier way- but these moths are the dickens!  Good Luck!