Question: Over the last six months we have had a continuing problem with meal moths. After seeing and killing them one at a time, we discovered an infestation in a box of dog treats. We discarded that, cleaned the pantry thoroughly, and sprayed the area with an insecticide. That helped, but we continued to see them flying around the house and have killed them with our hands or a fly swatter as we see them. Our local feed store suggested moth traps, which we have used and had success with as we placed them around the house. After being away for four days recently (I sprayed all through the house before leaving), we returned with many moths caught in the traps, but we continue to see at least two to four each day. It is "bugging" us. Do you have suggestions?
Answer: I remember writing about meal or pantry moths, as we called them, when I dealt with an infestation in our old house. The larvae of pantry, or flour, moths are transported from mill to homes in bags of flour or boxes of rice and such. They appeared, coincidentally, just after I remodeled our kitchen. The sight of these moths flying out of a cabinet when you opened the door was revolting.
We emptied the brand-new cabinets, washed them, and threw everything away, and still the moths would appear. One day, I was shuffling some boxes on a shelf at a hardware store and came across a sticky trap baited with pheromone, the moth's sex attractant. The pheromone lures emerging adult males and they stick to the trap, unable to mate. After a couple of weeks, we had the moths under control.
The life cycle of a pantry moth is anywhere from 25 days to eight weeks. So, you should leave your cupboards bare for a few weeks. This will enable you to see if any new pantry moths have appeared. If no pantry moths appear in this time, you may restock your cupboards. But, if even one moth appears, you should clean the cupboard again, and especially check areas large enough for eggs to be deposited in.
I wouldn't use insecticide, however. I would try to keep the moths under control, and then keep an eye on the products you bring into the house, to check to see if you are introducing more to the mix.
Any suggestions? Send them along.
Don't overimprove. Some advice on what pays and what doesn't from Leslie Sellers, president of the Appraisal Institute of America:
Emphasize the essentials over the extras by investing in basic upgrades, such as fresh paint (use neutral colors) and new fixtures.
Know that curb appeal is vital; exterior projects can sometimes provide a greater return on investment than interior projects.
Avoid overimprovement by sticking to what's proportional in your neighborhood.
Consider adding a bathroom or bedroom or renovating the kitchen, which are appealing features for home buyers.
Projects that add square footage to bring a house up to, but not significantly beyond, community norms typically yield good returns.
June is safety month. Some advice from First Alert:
Store your valuables safely to protect them from theft, fire, water, and accidental tampering. Each year, there are 380,000 residential fires, flooding causes $2 billion in property damage, and 4.1 million homes are burglarized.
Organize and prepare the home workshop area for safety. Store tools and other sharp and large objects on the wall out of high-traffic areas and far from children's reach.
Prevent leaking or flooding from damaging your home and your valuables.
The National Fire Protection Association recommends installing smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms on every level of the home and in or near every sleeping area.
Keep a fire extinguisher within reach.
Monitor indoor and outdoor areas with security.
Safety-enhanced pool fencing provides another layer of protection so children and animals are kept away from the water.