EVERY time I open the pantry door, I feel like I've just entered the butterfly enclosure at the Melbourne Zoo.
It's got nothing to do with the level of thermal activity radiating out of there though.
Instead, it's got everything to do with the alarming level of flying activity at around head height.
Pantry moths have moved in.
My kitchen is like Airbnb for things with wings.
Except these guests - from insect hell - never go home.
They are helping themselves to everything on the cereal shelf.
They are making their way through the mini bar list at a rate of knots, without even a second thought as to who's going to pick up the tab.
They have taken room service to a whole new level.
These pantry moths are wild about black rice, crazy for couscous and quinoa, partial to polenta and porridge oats and suckers for sultanas and raisins. Fascinatingly - like all of the family living under my roof except me - they do not fancy green lentils or homemade granola.
Some pantry moths have met a slimy end on top of the Cobram Estate extra virgin olive oil tin.
I'm not sure if the fly-by-nighters had gone there to enjoy a Sunday session and fell in. Either way, it's a few less moth mouths to feed. Cin cin!
The pantry moths have made themselves a house and home in our tall, glass jars of cereal, rice and grains.
A Google search reveals that eggs from Indian meal moths turn into larvae that spins webs in infested food.
My kitchen is like Airbnb for things with wings. Except these guests - from insect hell - never go home. They are helping themselves to everything on the cereal shelf. They are making their way through the mini bar list, without even a second thought.
I'm looking at the glass canisters with total revulsion offset partially by my nature geek; it's like a moth farm peep show.
There are clumps of webbing in the brown basmati rice, which I have annoyingly bought in bulk!
They have shredded the sultanas, Australian-grown and organic.
By the time I finally get a spare half-day to tackle the pantry infestation, my family has been off grains for weeks.
Fun fact: The correct term for a group of moths is an "eclipse".
For example: My quinoa was eaten by an eclipse of moths.
By the way, that's not a sentence you'd read every day. You're welcome.
MORE MATERIAL GIRL:
Seeking advice from Google, I get to work on cleaning up the infestation of pantry moths.
I throw away all of the cereals, grains and dried fruit.
I wash out all of the glass canisters and their lids.
I wash the inside of the pantry with soap and water, but I draw the line at using the recommended bleach solution, however weak.
Instead I use a spray of water, vinegar and peppermint oil to kill the eggs and repel moths. Apparently, ants don't like peppermint either.
With the cleaning job pretty low on the fun scale, I had at least got rid of all of the visible pests.
My pantry looked like a no-fly zone again for now, at least.
We had absolutely nothing to eat for dinner but, on the bright side, neither did the pantry moths.
We would starve them out while heading out to dine, ourselves.
Three days after the great pantry clean-up of 2019, I notice a few ants on the honey but, thankfully, still no moths.
I buy small amounts of grains and cereals to replenish our stocks.
If the pantry moths come back, there will be less stuff to throw out.
Within two weeks of the pantry clean-up, some moths have settled back in - not quite an eclipse - but enough to hold a business meeting - a quorum.
I was considering freezing or refrigerating our flour, grains and cereals but we're already short on fridge space. (There's too many bottled grapes and grains in stock.)
At least our zoo exhibit will be a hive of activity in time for the school holidays!
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