Mediterranean Flour Moth Infestation – The culprit
The adult Mediterranean flour moth has grey fore-wings with some dark zigzag markings, and the hind wing is light grey to beige. It is distinct in its stance as it raises the front of its body, giving the wings a downward slope. The larva is white to pink in color with a brown head.The Mediterranean flour moth infests flour, cereals, bran, beans, biscuits, nuts, chocolates, dried foods and many other food stuffs. Credits: Mediterranean Flour Moth – A and H Pest Control
Mediterranean Flour Moth Infestation – Typical Scenario
Let’s say you have dog food stored in a sealed plastic bag or the kind of dog food bag found in the pet section of your grocer. You bring it home and store it away in a cupboard. The Mediterranean flour moth can easily burrow through such a bag, even when it’s tightly sealed. In fact, it may have been there in the first place.
One moth can lay as many as 116-678 eggs inside the bag (we wonder who counts the eggs to come up with such exact numbers). Within 3-5 days you have up to 678 Mediterranean flour moth larvae crawling about, growing to maturity, capable of further multiplying their population in just 4-6 weeks. Next stop…459,684 moths! Do the math: 3 months later, third generation, you could have… what’s 459,684 X 678??!!
Mediterranean Flour Moth Infestation – Alfred Hitchcock Scenario
But wait, it could be worse. Imagine that a mouse chews its way into that same dog food bag and begins to transport dog food into a wall void for safe keeping. One moth locates the mouse food storage area and lays her 678 eggs there. 459,684 little moths arrive in the next generation. Again, 3 months later there are as many as 312 million Mediterranean flour moths. Since this is all happening in a hidden, inaccessible area of your home, all you see is a growing number of Mediterranean flour moths fluttering about. Things are beginning to look a bit Alfred Hitchcock!
Mediterranean Flour Moth Infestation – What to do?
Act Immediately: The first rule is that, since time is NOT on your side, don’t leave this situation untreated. If you see one Mediterranean flour moth in your home, you may be just 3 months away from “moth Armageddon”.
Immediately dispose of all food items that show any evidence of moth habitation. “If in doubt, throw it out.” Then vacuum and scrub every cabinet in the kitchen, and possibly in other rooms if there is evidence of moths. Be a good detective and clean even the smallest crevice and crack.
These moths are so persistent, even the most thorough cleaning can still be unsuccessful. They can hide in the outer folds of a dog food bag or flour bag. They can hide in the tiniest cracks in your cupboard, or even in the holes that make up those movable cupboard shelves.
One report has a homeowner having to actually repaint his entire kitchen before eradicating the moths!
Mediterranean Flour Moth Infestation – Aftermath
So, let’s assume you have conquered the problem. Don’t let yourself become too overconfident. Keep checking for the next two months to be sure.
Don’t risk another infestation. Thoroughly inspect all food you bring into your home. Be aware of the expiration date. Watch especially the specialty grains.
Store all food in tightly sealed containers. Remember that these moths can bore holes in paper, cardboard or even thin plastic. Plan accordingly.
And, don’t store food for longer than a few weeks, unless it’s in a solid, air-tight, moth-proof container. Dispose of any food that has reached its expiration date.
“After thoroughly cleaning the pantry, use pheromone traps to stop any lingering moth problems. The traps use the female pheromone to lure the male moth to the trap where it becomes stuck. Other moth traps are the glass trap and the suppressing trap. The glass trap uses pheromones and water in the container to drown the pantry moth. Suppressing traps use both male and female pheromones and a glue strip.” Credits: How to Solve a Pantry Moth Problem | DoItYourself.com
These may seem like radical measures, but the cost of eradicating an active Mediterranean flour moth infestation can be far greater than the cost of prevention.