Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Pantry moths


IrishCream
 Share

Recommended Posts

my flour and probably most of my grains are in sealed containers. I noticed one bag of bulgar disturbed a few weeks ago and moved the rest to a large sealed plastic container.

they like chocolate it seems and were in my TJ Extra dark chocolate drawer. i tend to be pretty careful but they are somewhere and now this seems to be working: 9 males so far and no more buzzing around. I tend to find 1 - 2 on the walls / morning.

due to a back and shoulder problem i coundnt go trough every little nook and cranny

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What appears to be fine flour or grain may, even if put in a sealed glass jar, develop moths from eggs or whatever. We used to buy lots of our flours for breadbaking from a co-op in bulk, and it became clear that weevils or moths or something was in the flour from the moment we bagged it and took it home. I switched to using higher quality (sadly more costly, too) flours. I have never had a problem with King Arthur (I do transfer the paper bags to glass containers) nor with Bob's products.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sealed containers mean nothing.

You need to put all your starchy material in the oven and bake at low temperature to kill off any eggs. Then put them in sealed containers.

BTW, bay leaves do not work to keep them away.

dcarch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

if you go to a place like Home Depot etc in the paint section they have various plastic containers that painters use with tight sealing lids. the lids are billed as an individual item.

I use these for grains/flour/etc they are inexpensive.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Leaktite-Multi-Mix-2-5-qt-Plastic-Bucket-5M3/202264029#.UdMTuIVJMUk

this give you an idea

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I discovered the hard way that regular extruded polyethylene bags (Glad, Ziplock, Presto) are not tough enough to keep the larva in or the moths out, and they will chew their way out to pupate and fly off as moths, and the moths can chew through the thin plastic to lay their eggs inside (though I do not know how they know where to chew). Metal, glass, or heavy duty (molded rather than extruded) plastic containers with tight seals seem to be the best solution. Freezing for a few days seems to be enough to kill off even eggs, but buying recently milled flour and quickly using your stock before the eggs can hatch prevents the problem. You probably have eggs in anything and everything that was not properly protected in the first place so plan to do a complete inventory replacement in proper containers with a thorough cleaning between now and then.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sealed containers mean nothing.

. . . .

Don't know that I'd go so far as that; if you buy something uncontaminated, transferring it to a sealed container keeps it that way. I can think of just one occasion that I bought something put it in a container that sealed well, and found things hatched in it.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sealed containers mean nothing.

. . . .

Don't know that I'd go so far as that; if you buy something uncontaminated, transferring it to a sealed container keeps it that way. I can think of just one occasion that I bought something put it in a container that sealed well, and found things hatched in it.

Depends. Insect can find the smallest of holes to get in.

Just opened a pack of new fresh bought Gold Medal flour. It was crawling with tiny bugs 1/3 the size of ants.

dcarch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sealed containers mean nothing.

. . . .

Don't know that I'd go so far as that; if you buy something uncontaminated, transferring it to a sealed container keeps it that way. I can think of just one occasion that I bought something put it in a container that sealed well, and found things hatched in it.

Depends. Insect can find the smallest of holes to get in.

Just opened a pack of new fresh bought Gold Medal flour. It was crawling with tiny bugs 1/3 the size of ants.

dcarch

Ack. So unpleasant for you. :blink:

I should have clarified, though: by 'tightly sealed container', I mean a glass or firm plastic one with a lid with a seal, and that has to be twisted or levered off; any bug that can get into those belongs to a category I hope to never encounter.

When I'm shopping, I usually examine the bottoms of paper or carboard food packages before buying, since (I guess?) stockists don't, and it's not that unusual to see really obvious traces of infestation there.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with all that has been said. I do not now think that these B*ggers came in flour etc. i actually say one on a kitchen window

that was closed outside on the window.

so if you have a minor issue with these, consider these traps.

no new B**gers in the traps so far.

will review in the AM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You like BBQ bugs?

You can buy electronic bug zapper on ebay. Those that look like tennis rackets. They are cheap and surprisingly effect to zap bugs in flight.

They are fun and very satisfying. I have one in every room.

"POP!" smoke! and they are vaporized. Flying moths make future baby moths.

dcarch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We had problems years ago. Now all grains and flour are frozen for a few days and then put in sealed containers. Works perfectly as the little buggers larvae come in with the food mostly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use canning jars, there are half-gallon sizes for larger amounts, and my vacuum sealer. I went with all wide-mouth jars, but there's also a regular mouth attachment as well. The jars are relatively inexpensive, check Ace Hardware, and the lids can be re-used for a couple of years before they won't hold a seal. An added bonus is that my shelves look better with everything in the same type jar.

I have no idea if the vacuum kills the bugs, but, it's easy to check the glass container without opening it and I haven't had any problems with larvae in my foods since I started doing this. That said, the hormone traps in my cupboards do occasionally catch some beasties. But, they aren't in most of my food.

Years ago, I had a horrible infestation and tossed out everything and scrubbed the kitchen with vinegar. (even the cocoa had weevils, blech!) That was when I started using the canning jars and the sealer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sealed containers mean nothing.

. . . .

Don't know that I'd go so far as that; if you buy something uncontaminated, transferring it to a sealed container keeps it that way. I can think of just one occasion that I bought something put it in a container that sealed well, and found things hatched in it.

The problem is you can't really tell if it's contaminated or not when you buy it. Some bugs, especially weevils, will not hatch unless the temperature gets pretty warm. I used to sell whole and milled barley, wheat, oats and corn. Corn was definitely the worst. But as has been mentioned, a day or two in the freezer will kill the eggs.

Mark

My eG Food Blog

www.markiscooking.com

My T shirt site: Guy Bling

My NEW Ribs site: BlasphemyRibs.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just did the item-by-item cleanse the other day for the umpteenth time. The culprit is always the item you ignored for months, and physical inspection and removal is the only thing that has worked for me. This time around, the problem was a rarely used box of Cream of Wheat. Buh-bye.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since we switched to bell jars (the glass jars with the metal clamps) and ziplok bags, we have had no more problems.

I have heard the eggs stories, and my mother swears by freezing all her rice and flours, but we seem to be doing fine with tightly sealed containers.

That includes the big blue Tilde basmati rice bag with the built-in ziplok.

Without the seal, we develop the insects within a week or so - guaranteed. Funny that they go for grains without fail, whereas sugar & sweet stuff, where you'd expect insects, seem to be immune.

This is all in an 11th floor Manhattan apartment, so YMMV.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use the Pro-Pest traps, also from Amazon. They last longer - they say 60 days but I change them out every 3 months and have excellent results.

The Catchmaster traps were not as effective at attracting the moths as I would see them fly right past the trap.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sealed containers mean nothing.

. . . .

Don't know that I'd go so far as that; if you buy something uncontaminated, transferring it to a sealed container keeps it that way. I can think of just one occasion that I bought something put it in a container that sealed well, and found things hatched in it.

The problem is you can't really tell if it's contaminated or not when you buy it. Some bugs, especially weevils, will not hatch unless the temperature gets pretty warm. I used to sell whole and milled barley, wheat, oats and corn. Corn was definitely the worst. But as has been mentioned, a day or two in the freezer will kill the eggs.

Absolutely! Still, whether you have your pests trapped in a container or trapped outside of one, it does mean you have the problem isloated, and you can control their spread to uncontaminated food.

My boyfriend once staggered home with about a dozen bags of spelt flour that were deeply discounted; he was delighted. I was... less so, since, when I looked at the bottom of the bags, found that every one was contaminated with wriggly little larvae (nope, he hadn't noticed).

Well, since it was a gift, kind of, I couldn't throw it out, so I scraped off alll the visible fauna, put all the bags in a bin liner, and shoved it in the freezer for about a week. Then, I opened every bag, sieved it to remove remaining life forms, packed the flour in plastic tubs, and put it back in the freezer. I did use it all, although I never did get around to mentioning it to my boyfriend, the time never seemed quite right.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sealed containers mean nothing.

. . . .

Don't know that I'd go so far as that; if you buy something uncontaminated, transferring it to a sealed container keeps it that way. I can think of just one occasion that I bought something put it in a container that sealed well, and found things hatched in it.

The problem is you can't really tell if it's contaminated or not when you buy it. Some bugs, especially weevils, will not hatch unless the temperature gets pretty warm. I used to sell whole and milled barley, wheat, oats and corn. Corn was definitely the worst. But as has been mentioned, a day or two in the freezer will kill the eggs.

Absolutely! Still, whether you have your pests trapped in a container or trapped outside of one, it does mean you have the problem isloated, and you can control their spread to uncontaminated food.

My boyfriend once staggered home with about a dozen bags of spelt flour that were deeply discounted; he was delighted. I was... less so, since, when I looked at the bottom of the bags, found that every one was contaminated with wriggly little larvae (nope, he hadn't noticed).

Well, since it was a gift, kind of, I couldn't throw it out, so I scraped off alll the visible fauna, put all the bags in a bin liner, and shoved it in the freezer for about a week. Then, I opened every bag, sieved it to remove remaining life forms, packed the flour in plastic tubs, and put it back in the freezer. I did use it all, although I never did get around to mentioning it to my boyfriend, the time never seemed quite right.

With international import/export of food stuff, there must be thousands of new insect kinds we have to deal with.

I have tried the freezer treatment (my freezer goes down to -9F) and it did not work. Oven low temperature baking is the only sure way for the food stuff I buy here in NYC area.

dcarch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

An update on my traps: I put 6 out, here and there. 2 in the kitchen, 1 the living-room directly off the kitchen, one in an open closet far living room. two up stairs: main hallway and a room I rarely go into.

first 24 hours: kitchen: > 20 in trap near most stored goods, 3 in trap far kitchen near espresso machine and TJ's chocolate hord.

LR: 12, far closet area LR 3. upstairs hallway: 0, BR rarely used: 3 ( suprise )

2d 24 hours ( H: 24 - 48 ) no new bugs. a few smaller moths ( 3 ) caught on cabinet surfaces ( ? females )

so they work so far. my understanding from Google is the flying insects do not 'eat' just mate. and they life cycle is about 30 days.

i do not know how long the Aromata in the traps stays active and potent enough to attract more males.

as I have not found the source, but can tell its the primary kitchen storage area by the #/trap, these traps might be helpful to keep these pests under control.

no more XXXX spray!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IMHO, traps do not work effectively for the following reason:

Unless you can trap 100%, the remaining one pair of moth can lay about 400 eggs for the next cycle. You may be able to control the moth population, but traps may not eliminate moths completely.

Furthermore, "---- Typically more moth larvae, eggs will already have been laid, and the pantry moth worms are ending their feeding stage and preparing to look for a mate to complete the pantry moth life cycle.----"

dcarch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

excellent points. we'll see. its that last male that i'm after!

in my case I do not think they came inside with purchased food ie flour/grains etc. Ive noticed them outside. Ill place a trap in the garage and see if there are any in there. no food there that i can tell.

I do have a sliding drawer (2) area where the flour is kept in sealed containers. Ill try and vacuum that out, but its a little low for me to muck around in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

from a review of the product, dont know if acurate:

"- keep the traps out for **at least** 3 weeks, with traps more than 12 feet apart (or the moths will get confused).

- once they fill up with the male moths, replace with new traps.
- after opening, they're good for about 3 months."

price back down to 21.29, free shipping. !

:biggrin:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...