"And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress and keep it". Genesis 2:15

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Miller Moth Woes Solved

We seem to be obsessing with bugs lately, but honestly I think bugs are very interesting creatures! Its only when bugs get "personal" that I take offense. A June Bug or a Cicada is interesting to me until it flies into my hair, then, as my husband will attest, you are liable to see me do a crazy dance accompanied by a loud "Eekk!, Get it off!"

We all have bugs that we really can't stand, however, and one bug that really bugs me is the Miller Moth. Miller moths are diabolical! They lay eggs on the outside of packages in the grocery store, then the eggs hitch a ride into your house. After you open the package the tiny larvae can go right inside. Miller moths prefer any whole grain (brown rice, whole wheat) but they can infest a wide variety of foods. I have found them in the past in brown rice, nuts, Rice flour, bird seed, noodles, corn meal and once even in some pouporie that contained a few dried orange slices! They dont like white bleached flour as much, or white rice, but if they are desperate you may find them even there. I have read that they also can be found in dog food, powdered milk, seeds, dried vegetables and fruit, dried cereal, and even chocolate!

In my house brown rice automatically goes into the freezer for 24 hours as soon as I get it home. Then it goes into some kind of plastic or glass container. My pantry is like a fort with every food stuff locked up in its individual plastic cell. The moths will find something I have left unprotected though - I told you they were diabolical! Who would have thought that they would infest chocolate or pouporie! Each time I have a who-would-have-thought experience I have to come up with new fortifications. The tops of bird seed bags are kept tightly rolled up and closed with a close-pin. I don't leave them open even for a second! Ditto for the dog food and cat food.

Well recently I found them in my house again. (Did I mention I think they are creepy and I hate them?) As usual everything in the pantry had to be gone through. They were in some spaghetti this time, and an unprotected box of rice bran (I thought bran was safe at least.) The infested stuff gets thrown out of course, and as I was searching for an empty container to put my white flour in (hey, the bugs will probably get desperate now and go for my white flour) I found a container that contained a Safer Brand Pantry Pest Trap. Hmmm, I put this in there four years ago when we moved, and forgot where it was. Could it still work?

I took out the sticky trap, and opened up the pheromone lure. As I was standing there reading the directions, holding the lure, a moth appeared out of nowhere and began fluttering around my head! I put the pheromone lure in the trap, set the trap on the counter and called Anna in to watch. Two moths circled the trap, eventually went inside and got stuck in the glue. Hooray!

Moths! At least let me get this trap in the pantry for crying out loud!

My problem is solved for now. My fort is secure. All the staples are locked away in prison and the adult moths will be lured away from the food and trapped. The war will go on, but I am ready.


  1. Thank you for posting about inside food sources. I have not found Millers to be extremely fond of wool but knowing what to guard against in my pantry has been a help.
    Someone once told me cats will chase them but mine prefers larger prey like pigeons and crows and simply cannot be bothered with the bitter taste of moths! ha ha ha
    My friend is the one with the problem and so I will be going to her house soon with caulking and weather stripping. As she said "if they would just sit still and not fly around, it wouldn't be so bad." Her 101 yr old grandmother has complained vehemently and so haste will be made!
    I will also be prepping her pantry for war!
    We live at high altitudes which they love during migration.
    Have you actually found the soapy water to be sufficiently effective?

    Sincerely, Heatherlynn, Colorado

  2. Heatherlynn, Soapy water works great for fruit flies. For the miller moths I use the lure traps I mentioned.