So you’ve found the worms, webs, or bugs flying around your house, and you’re wondering where to go from here? What are they? Where did they come from, what do I do about them, and how do I get rid of them?
I mistakenly first thought I had an infestation of flying ants; oh, I soon learned that my flying ants were really Indian meal moths better known as the pantry moth. So, make sure you have someone correctly ID them for you. Unlike most people, I found out because my kitchen wall had about 50-75 larvae crawling on it. I didn’t know from where, but promptly called several exterminators in sickness and horror. Two of them wanted to drench my house in chemicals. The third, Orkin, explained to me what they were (Indian Meal moths), and that you don’t get rid of them with chemicals, you get rid of them by getting rid of the source (their food).
Okay… What was the source? It turns out most times they’re in flour and grain goods. They can get in EVERYTHING. It seems impossible, but it’s true. To start, I threw all of my dry food I had away, even my spices; the exterminator had found them in bags of chips. I quickly said, “Buh-bye!”. I looked for all of their webbing, and any cocoons I found I destroyed. Everything was washed down with soap and water; yet, the larvae kept coming. I was stumped. So, I pulled my baseboards off. There were hundreds, and cocoons galore. I was shocked! There’s no food behind the baseboards! It turns out they will move away from food sources at certain times, so leave no stone unturned. Extreme on my part? Definitely, but I don’t regret it for a second.
What do you do after you’ve cleaned? Store everything in airtight containers, other food in the refrigerator, or if you suspect something may have been infected put it in the freezer for 7 days. An extra tip: they LOVE bird, pet food, and treats!
So, it was that time of year again, and there they were flying around. I’d done everything right! That’s what’s frustrating about pantry moths. However, this time I did two things that eradicated them. First, I bought the pheromone traps. It’s amazing how many moths you don’t see, and second I spread diatomaceous earth on top of, behind, under, and in cabinets. Essentially, when the larvae hatch as soon as they crawl through the diatomaceous earth it will kill them. The best part is it’s organic, and safe for you and your pets to be around (just don’t get it in your eyes). It’s a bit messy, but worth the trade off.
The Indian Meal moth is a nuisance; sometimes eliminating them isn’t as simple as throwing everything away, especially since they breed in cycles. However, it’s not true that you need expensive, dangerous chemicals to make them go away. As long as you stay on top of them, and keep everything clean, you’ll rid yourself of these pests once and for all. Unfortunately, it just takes some time.