Question: I’ve seen some little brown moths in my kitchen lately and I also found a thing that looks like a small cocoon under the top of a cake mix. I’m worried. What should I do?
Answer: It sounds like you could have some Indian meal moths in your pantry. Although there are other pantry moths in Utah, the Indian meal moth is the most common one. They are small, slender and grayish-brown in color.
Indian meal moth adults don’t feed on pantry items, but they lay hundreds of eggs, and the larvae will feed on many of the things that might be in your pantry, like baking mixes, flour, pasta, cereal, nuts, dried fruits, spices, chocolate and powdered milk. They will also feed on dry pet food and bird seed, so you’ll also want to check the areas where you keep items like these. Once larvae are ready to pupate they leave their food source and find a secluded spot. You might find small cocoons or webbing under food package flaps, or in a joint or crevasse where shelving meets walls.
There isn’t really an easy way to get rid of pantry pests. You’ll need to inspect all the items in your pantry and other food storage areas to find the infested items. Damaged and partially used packages are especially prone to infestation. Check everything!
Once you’ve found and removed any infested items, clean off the shelves. Dust or vacuum the shelves plus any shelf joints, cracks or gaps. Do the dusting or vacuuming before using a damp cloth on the shelving so that you don’t leave an invisible film of flour on the shelves.
You can use a baited pantry pest trap to monitor the area once you’re done cleaning. The traps, like the one in today’s photos, are baited with a pheromone that will attract any male moths that may be hiding in the area. Trapping the males will prevent mating and egg laying. If you catch a lot of moths, swap out the trap for a fresh one. Once you aren’t catching any more moths, you’ve probably solved the problem. You can keep a trap in your pantry year-round to let you know if meal moths have found their way into your kitchen again.
Question: New seed catalogs started coming in my mail several weeks ago, but I was busy, so I set them aside. But now that things are less busy in my life, I’m going to start planning.
Answer: How about you? It’s definitely seed catalog season! Most gardeners have received at least two or three catalogs by now.
If you are going to try new varieties this year, you should read the variety descriptions to make sure the varieties will do well in our hot, dry summers and mature to harvest before our average fall frost of Oct. 15.
You should also pay attention to the size-at-maturity of each plant you choose, to make sure everything will fit into your garden or flower beds.
If you want to start your own transplants of cool season or slow growing plants, you should order your seeds soon and get them started. If you only grow warm season plants you still have some time to browse, plan and order before you start them in late March or the beginning of April.
Hope you enjoy those seed catalogs!