Monthly Archives: August 2013

Munching moths

Who knew they didn’t just eat your clothing?

Over the course of this year, my roommates and I have noticed moths fluttering through the kitchen every so often. We figured out early on that these weren’t the moths that ate clothes or the moths that flutter around lamps outside at night. These were meal moths. Once we figured it out, we began to suspect that they might be eating our food, but it didn’t come up again for months.

Last week, though, I pulled out my bag of walnuts (3 pounds — thank you, Costco!) and discovered a hole in it. And webby things hanging off the sides of the bag. And sandy little gritty stuff all over the bottom of the bag, which the Interwebs have informed me is actually moth poop. And the moths were all, “NO WALNUTS FOR YOU.”

I really didn’t want to know what was in the rest of the food in my pantry, but I figured I’d check. There were the traces of moth in my oatmeal. Then in my hazelnuts, dates, cashews, almonds and granola. Their tastes, apparently, are not cheap! In fact, their tastes appear to be remarkably close to pretty much everything I have in my pantry: “coarse cereal products, nuts, herbs and spices … dried fruits and vegetables.” Turns out they can also bore through fairly thick plastic bags, which became clear when we found my roommate’s unopened bag of basmati rice full of moth larvae. The last straw came when I went to put cardamom into the banana ice cream I was making today and found traces of moths in all my bagged spices. You’ll have to ask my roommates if it’s comical to watch a twenty-something screaming at moth larvae; I’m too close to the matter to comment myself.

The flypaper and the pheromone traps we put up in our pantry do seem to be working — I never thought I’d be so satisfied to watch a wholesale moth massacre — and we’re working on acquiring more moth-proof containers. I’m officially out of Mason jars, which I never expected to happen.

Ultimately, though, it’s not like the tiny fluttering moth carcasses hanging on the flypaper are feeling the full weight of my vengeful feelings. There are dozens, mind you. But they’re definitely not feeling guilty that they ate all my food. It’s just gross now, and nobody gets to eat it.

If it were anything else, I’d feel way better about it. If someone came into my house and ate all my food, I guess I’d be mad (sometimes I am sort of food aggressive), but at least it would be hidden away in that person’s stomach and not intact but for the creepy crawlies. Throwing away so much food that was perfectly serviceable not two months ago hurt. A lot.

Most of the time I think I pass for a real adult pretty well, but the meal moths make me want to curl up under the covers and ask someone else to fix this problem for me. OK, maybe I only pass for a real adult sometimes. Definitely don’t ask me about the time this week when I tried to put clothes on both ropes of a pulley clothesline and broke it had to find a tall person to retrieve my clothes.

At least I’m trying.