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Everyone likes butterflies in the garden, but such animals are not very popular in your own supplies. This is not only because the butterflies in the food look quite inconspicuous and are called moths, but above all because these pests make inedible food inedible. It is therefore important to recognize an infestation in good time and to fight it properly with appropriate home remedies.
Is the flour moth different from other moths?
Not only are there many different types of moths, but there are also different food moths that you may find in your kitchen cupboard. In order to be able to combat them effectively, you must first identify which moth it is before you resort to any home remedies.
the flour moth (Ephestia kueniella) from the Zünsler family is a fairly widespread storage pest. With a body length of one to almost one and a half millimeters, this moth is quite small. The forewings are gray with a slight tinge of bluish or reddish, they have light and dark jagged lines. The hind wings, on the other hand, are simply light gray. The caterpillars or larvae are up to two centimeters long and are white. They can have slight greenish or reddish tints. The head of the larvae is brown.
If you discover a moth in your kitchen with black-brown, yellow-spotted wings and a dark fringed edge, then it is probably one corn moth (Nemapogon granellus). It's a bit smaller dried fruit moth (Plodia interpunctella). It has rust-brown to copper-colored forewings. The larvae of all food moths are very similar.
What foods are eaten by the flour moth?
Basically, the flour moth only attacks dry foods, so they can be found in pantry cupboards and pantries, but not in the refrigerator.
Frequently infested foods:
- Flour, cereals and cereal products (e.g. muesli)
- kernels, almonds and nuts
- seeds, herbs and spices
- dried legumes
- dry fodder for animals
How can I recognize a flour moth infestation?
You don't always see the moths flying out of your flour or pasta pack when you open a pack. Much more often you discover small or tiny holes in the bag or a fine web inside. Over time, the flour, muesli, or whatever the moth infested will stick together. If the infestation is advanced, the caterpillars can be seen. This is really not a pleasant sight and triggers disgust in many people.
Why do I have flour moths in my closet?
There are basically two ways the flour moths got into your supplies. You either “bought” these moths or their eggs and/or larvae, i.e. brought them in with your food, or some female moths found their way into your kitchen from outside and laid their eggs there. In this case, however, the moths should be able to easily get into your closet or your supplies and find ideal conditions there (twilight and temperatures of around 25 °C). The first case, the flour moths introduced with purchased food, is therefore more common.Pests can also reside in kitchen cabinets
What do flour moths do to my supplies?
Meal moths lay their eggs in dry stores. The larvae that hatch from them then eat their way through your supplies. They leave behind a fine web and their excrements, but also shed skins. The resulting moisture can promote the formation of mold. It can also attract flour mites. If you recognize an infestation late, then these moths are no longer easy to fight, as they can hide in all sorts of nooks and crannies in your closet, lay their eggs there and then come out again and again.
What home remedies can I use to fight flour moths?
It is very important to react immediately and take appropriate measures in the event of an infestation with flour moths. Otherwise, the moths can spread unhindered and even cause disease. The use of non-toxic home remedies should be the first priority in combating it. On the one hand, the thorough cleaning of affected cabinets should be mentioned here. If all moths, eggs and larvae are destroyed, you should prevent a new infestation. Heat, extreme cold and the drying effect of the non-toxic diatomaceous earth are definitely helpful.
Fight the flour moth step by step:
- Clear out the whole cupboard and clean thoroughly with vinegar water
- Blow-dry hard-to-reach places and cracks and/or sprinkle with kieselguhr
- check every single food package
- Repack unaffected food if necessary
- Use airtight storage containers
- As a precautionary measure, heat (60 °C to 80 °C) or freeze food that is not obviously infested
- dispose of contaminated food
Can I still save infested food?
The flour moths themselves are sometimes infested with parasites such as mites. Although you can remove the moths and their larvae from your supplies fairly easily, their droppings and the tiny mites remain in your food. Consumption can then trigger gastrointestinal problems or allergies. For this reason, you should no longer eat infested food but dispose of it.
How do I dispose of infested food?
It makes sense not to just toss the infested food in the bin. Eggs and larvae that are in it develop into moths there and spread further. Pack the affected food and its packaging in a sufficiently large, undamaged plastic bag. Close the bag tightly with a tight knot. Then throw the bag in the rubbish bin, which should definitely be outside your home.
If you want to be guaranteed to kill all the eggs, larvae and moths, the best way to do this is with heat or frost. You either "bake" the food and its packaging in your oven for a few hours at around 60 °C, or you put it in your freezer for a few days (approx. a week). Because of the risk of fire, however, you should never leave your oven unattended during the baking time. However, moth-infested food that has been treated with heat or cold is no longer edible and must still be disposed of.kitchen and oven
What can I do if there is a heavy moth infestation?
If you recognize a particularly severe infestation with the flour moth, you may not get very far with the simple home remedies. But there is a good biological alternative to fight the moths. Get yourself parasitic wasps. These lay their eggs in the eggs of the flour moth, which then serves as a source of food for the larvae and is thus killed. This mechanism works until there are no more flour moth eggs. Then the parasitic wasps disappear all by themselves. Cards with parasitic wasp eggs can be ordered online.
How can I prevent another infestation?
A helps against the penetration of the flour moth from the outside fly screen in front of the window. At the same time, it also keeps other annoying insects such as mosquitoes and flies away. Essential Oils have a repellent effect on flour moths and can keep them away or drive them away at least to a limited extent. Depending on your preferences, you can choose between peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, orange, lemon, anise or geranium.lavender oil
If you don't really trust these home remedies, then the only thing left is to set them up pheromone traps. They are safe for humans as they are odorless and insecticide free.