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Aunt Norma's

Pantry Moths: An uninvited guest to Thanksgiving Dinner

So, anyone who has had pantry moths knows how embarassing it can be to have these little bugs flying around your kitchen when friends and family come over.  No one wants people to think that their kitchen isn't "clean" or that the food being prepared in the kitchen is contaminated.  First, let me reassure you that this is actually a very common problem.  I have even been to top restaurants that have some pantry moths flying around so don't feel bad. 
Next, aside from the "gross factor", these insects aren't harmful, even IF you have had them in your food.  Pantry moths are not known to carry disease, they don't regurgitate in the food like flys do, and in the grand scheme of things, they are actually just a low-ranking item on the food chain.  In fact, there are studies done that propose that many vegetarians coming here from other countries actually lose much of the "insect protein" from their diet once they start eating our processed and bleached grain products.  Now, I know that these facts are not going to get you excited about the possibility of accidentally eating a pantry moth, but I wanted to lay out some information for those of you who are panicking about having moths in your food. 
Many people who write in with their Pantry Moth Spray orders tell me that their kitchen is pretty much unusable since they have they pantry moth infestation.  Everyone dealing with this problem goes through at least a few days of the kitchen being "down" while they clean out the pantry, throw out food, and wash down all the cupboards.  But I wanted to let you know that with a few simple steps, you can protect your food and continue to use your kitchen almost like normal while treating the moth infestation.  I also want to give a few tips for being able to host a holiday dinner without being mortified that people will find moth larvae in their food or see pantry moths everywhere. 
    First, Once you have cleaned out and gone through ALL of your food adn containers for traces of pantry moths, spray the cupboards and any enclosed spaces with Aunt Norma's Pantry Moth Spray.  This will keep the moths from going BACK into the pantry during the die-off process.  Also- check your refrigerator for evidence of moths or their webbing- the fridge is not cold enough to kill the moths and they can merely hibernate until you open the door and set them free. 
    Be very careful about which items you are deciding to keep (like spices and canned goods) because the moths can hide under the labels or on the inside of the screw top lids.  IF you are keeping something- wipe it down (including the underside of the lids) with hot soapy water OR Pantry Moth Spray.  I also put these items in the freezer for a minimum of 5 days before returning to the pantry just to be safe.  Put everything in glass containers (I even put groups of things like spices and cookie cutters in large glass canisters so if there were any hatched moths I could tell where the problem was).  Also- if you are going through all the trouble, you may as well take the opportunity to get organized.
    Next, buy new food staples that you need and place them in the FREEZER.  You should keep them there, on the coldest setting, for at least a week before returning them to the pantry, but I found that for my own peace of mind, I just continued to store many of my dry good pantry items in the freezer until I was CERTAIN that all pantry moths were gone from my home.  This way you are sure that no moths or eggs or larvae are in the grains.  Also, rest assured that any eggs will be killed if you managed to cook something using a grain or spice that contained them.
As far as having guests, if you follow the above guidelines before preparing your meal, you shouldn't have any guests running from the table after finding worms in their dinner.  As far as guests seeing the moths flying around, following the above steps will significantly reduce their numbers, but you can also take a pantry moth TRAP and place it in another room of the house that guests are less likely to be using, like a bedroom or even the garage.  This will lure adult moths AWAY from the kitchen. If all else fails, put a bowl of fruit out and tell the guests that you have fruit flies.  For some reason, no one seems that bothered by fruit flys. ;-)
Happy Thanksgiving!! Don't let a couple little pantry moths ruin YOUR celebration!
 
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