Everyone knows the saying, "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade"? Well, it's pretty hard to "make lemonade" with a pantry moth infestation. But I wanted to take a few minutes to explain how my pantry moth infestation was actually a blessing in disguise and also to thank my many customers!
Like a lot of people today, I was struggling financially. My previous professional business had pretty much dried up. I was no longer working full-time, and was starting to worry about ever finding another job. My family was considering moving into a smaller home to help cut down on costs, and the stress of it all was starting to take it's toll.
As I started to think about these changes, and what I was going to do next, I decided to start going through and packing up our stuff in case we needed to move. About that same time, I started to notice tiny little flying bugs all over my kitchen. "Oh no", I thought...."termites!". I called someone to look at them, and he told me that they were NOT termites, but he wasn't sure what they were. I figured they would go away eventually, but when they didn't I knew that something had to be done. The exterminator said he could spray the area, but I was very nervous about having toxic chemicals in my home- especially around my food, family, and tiny little 5 lb dog. But I couldn't live with bugs in my kitchen, so I started doing a LOT of research.
The more I read, the more disheartened I became to realize that what I had were pantry moths, and that no one seemed to have much luck in getting rid of them. "Argh...this is JUST what I need", I thought. Well, I decided to start by getting rid of all the food and cleaning out the pantry and cupboards, but I figured if I was going to do all that work, I wanted a product to help and to make sure that they wouldn't come back! I scoured the internet, but couldn't find a single pantry moth repellent on the market. I didn't want to waste time and money on something that might not work, so I decided to use my extensive knowledge of natural remedies and alternative therapies to try to come up with something that I could use.
I remembered my Aunt Norma, who was like a grandmother to me growing up in a tiny rural farm town in Pennsylvania. She had an answer for everything, and was always concocting some kind of elixir or potion (and a lot of bread and cakes) in her small country kitchen. She taught me a lot about what different kinds of herbs, spices, and household ingredients could be used for. It was her interest in teaching me that has fueled my curiosity about natural healing and remedies ever since.
So after a lot of reading, mixing and experimenting, I came up with a spray and a plan that I thought might work. I took everything out of the cupboards, inspected and washed and froze all that I could, and then washed and sprayed down all areas with my mixture. It smelled a little strong, but at least I felt like I was doing all I could before having to give in to calling an exterminator. I put the lights out in the kitchen, and after a long weekend of cleaning and spraying, went to bed. I woke up, and to my surprise, there were no pantry moths in the kitchen. Over the course of the next few days, I saw one or two here and there, but I noticed that most of them were gone, and there were only a few that I found in the kitchen... and NONE OF THEM WERE IN THE PANTRY!!!! I purchased a pantry moth trap and set it out on top of my fridge to catch the moths that I missed or had hatched since I sprayed, and I did get a full trap of them, but I realized it was because they no longer were hiding in the pantry... even after I got really brave and started putting food back in the pantry... the moths still would not go back into the cupboards that I had sprayed.
After about a week of this, I thought... "that stuff really works...too bad no one sells something like this." And then I got maybe the craziest idea I'd had in awhile... maybe I
could make and sell this stuff..?" Now, there was still a lot of work to do- I had to figure out how to properly formulate it (helps that my brother in law is a chemist!!), what the EPA regulations were, how to find the ingredients, supplies and labels, and how to design a website. WHEW! I was so excited about the product, though, that I tackled this with gusto, and only a short time later had my first professional batch of Aunt Norma's Pantry moth spray. Now... would other people want to try it?
Happily, there were a few people who tried it in the beginning, and started talking about it. The orders started coming in and before I knew it, I was in business! As it turns out, there are a lot of people who, like me, wanted somewhere to turn for answers and natural safe alternatives to dealing with this issue. In the process, I have become a somewhat accidental moth expert, and have been happy to talk to many of you about advice on this. My business and experience is still growing, and I have many new products in the works, but I wanted to thank everyone who has supported Aunt Norma's and taken a chance on a small business. I have been able to stay in my home, make a living to contribute to the household, and was even able to take a modest (but fantastic) vacation for a few days with my family this summer! (and I've been having a lot of fun with Aunt Norma's in the process!!)
So you see, I guess life is funny and sometimes you can
make lemonade! Now, I'm not wishing a pantry moth infestation on anyone, but maybe sharing my story can be a bit of an inspiration...and I think it's important to stop every now and again and be thankful for what we have, and the opportunities that the Universe and "powers that be" bring us...strange as they may seem at first. After all, necessity IS the mother of invention!! So thank you all again for your patronage, and please look for our new products this fall.
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