Monday, February 27, 2006

Aieee! attack of the flour moths

I have been mashing flour moths with finger, fly swatter and trying to clap the flying ones for months now but they keep coming. I've bagged the flours, cornmeal, breadcrumbs, sugars, dried fruit, nuts, cereal, crackers etc. in freezer zip bags- un-opened cellophane wrapping is too thin and flimsy to keep them out- but somehow I keep missing everything they've infested. They really spoil the food leaving the flour clumpy with their webs and waste. And they leave an unslightly mess when you mash them on the ceiling where it's difficult to wipe off with a sponge.

We first noticed them in the summer but didn't think anything of it because there are a lot of flying things the seem to come in through open doors. They must have sneaked in in a bag of contaminated flour. We were having dinner at some friends of ours and I happened to mention our problem with flour moths because I saw one flying in their dining room. They told me that they have been plauged by the moths for quite some time too. So I wonder if this is some kind of epidemic at least in central NJ?

We seem to have two different types of moths. One slightly larger about 1/2" in length and the other maybe 3/8". The longer one is skinnier and seems to have a sharp snout. The shorter one is not as good a flyer and seems to flutter about but still hard to kill by slapping your hands. I've noticed some very hard to see web casing where the ceiling meets the wall and have observed that the web encapsulates one larvae. How do I know? I've seen one emerge from these pretty well disguised nests. However, I don't think those are flour moths but just another yucky thing to deal with.

Here are a couple of informative sites about flour moths.
From Washington State University
And the Kendall Bioresearch Company site.

For some reason blogger doesn't seem to recognize the urls so here they are. Just cut and paste them in your browser url window.


Blogger Kathy said...

Do you keep birdseed in the house, or in an attached garage? That's how we got infested. Those grain moth traps work well as long as you put all your grain and other vulnerable things in the freezer for a couple of months. They also infest cocoa, dried beans, pasta, and even ground peppers such as paprika and cayenne. And don't forget dry dog and cat food.

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kathy, I'm afraid we're guilty of keeping birdseed in an attached garage. We've had small infestations maybe 2 or 3 moths before but it never seemed to get further after we got rid of the flour that they seem to like. The current infestation is totally out of control. And you're right they eat almost any dried food including candy etc. but I didn't realize they would eat spices. We actually put a leaf or two of bay in the flour because we heard somewhen turning their shack at the lake into a cozy cottage.

5:08 AM  
Blogger liberal elite said...

We're in North Jersey and have been living with a seasonal infestation for a couple of years now. They come every spring and stay until fall. We have been unable to locate a source and the exterminator is baffled. We use the traps and that keeps them relatively under control. But it's very annoying.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi liberal elite,
We've had them since summer with only a short respite for a month or so this winter and now they seem to be getting more active because we see at least a couple of the moths each day.

Your experience with the exterminator is not encouraging. I guess I'll have to haul out all of the foodstuff in the pantry and either bag it well if not infested or do a good clean up and dump most of the food. Yuk.

7:23 AM  

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