Moth experiences

yborgalJune 11, 2003

Lainy,congratulations on your free 2 week period. I hope it's permanent for you. Just when I said I'd seen no sacs or moths for a week, we saw 2 yesterday. But that's not too bad. I have seen several spiders and instinct got the best of me and I killed them. (It's hard for me to mash them, but hairspray freezes them in their tracks). I probably shouldn't have done that,(my walls and floors are getting a bit sticky) but I have visions of putting on a shoe and finding an unwelcome guest inside. I suppose at this point we're at a standoff between sacs and spiders. I am going to purchase some moth traps as suggested by Nancy in case there are moths that we've not noticed (they're so danged small) and I have also read that lavender and spices can be effective so I'm ordering some of these pouches to place in the closets and around parts of the house. At least we'll smell good as we're being eaten out of house and home. What an aggravation this has been. Other than this problem we are thrilled with the layout and design of the home. Hey, at least it's not termites.

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Mona, here are a couple of non-hairspray ideas for the spiders:

Glue boards/strips are a tool helpful for sensitive
areas where spraying is not desired. I am amazed at
how many we catch from week to week in the two
gluetraps we have placed at the entrances to our store!
These doors are not sealed well at their bottoms and
the simplest way to solve the problem at this time has
been to place our glue traps at each corner. I have
watched spiders enter only to be caught by the glue.
Of course, I have also watched others enter and miss
the trap by a large margin! Clearly the answer to
this problem is to seal around the door properly.

In the home, these traps are helpful where
doors are open frequently. This includes garage and
front doors. These traps should be placed along walls
where spiders are expected to travel. Generally, this
is on either side of the entrance way. You may consider
equipping yourself with a HAND HELD ZAPPER as well.
This device is a great tool to have around for many
flying insects like flies, wasps, bees, and moths
but it works great on spiders as well. Simply hold
the "electric grid" over the targeted spider, press
the button on and you can now deliver a lethal dose
of electricity to the unwanted arachnid. This device
is great for reaching under appliances, killing
spiders which are residing in webs and for insuring
they are not able to move elsewhere in the home to
set up a nest. It kills both instantly and cleanly
which means there is no messy cleanup.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2003 at 9:02AM
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Thanks. I'll give those a try.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2003 at 12:10PM
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We have not opened the door to the garage since I last posted, and I put a new trap in there the other day. It is now down to one or two moth sightings a day in the house. Ladies, I need to put an upholstered couch and love seat in the garage in preparation for selling them at a rummage sale in a few weeks. I believe my moths are cupboard or meal moths. Do you think I should not put the upholstered furniture out there at all until the actual sale? I have furniture stacked in the LR and it is getting inconvenient. I need to get to the cedar closet behind the LR bookshelf and get my 1X clothes out. I've lost 68 lbs and my 3X are falling off my shoulders! With all the extra futiture, I cannot get to the closet. Should I chance it and put things in the garage?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2003 at 6:43PM
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Nancy, according to all the research I have done so far on Moths (everything I never wanted to have to know about moths!!!), it appears that meal moths restrict their diet to grain products and related foodstuffs; while brown house moths and white-shouldered house moths will eat a wide variety of foodstuffs AND protein based organic matter such as cotton, linen, wool, leather, etc. Clothes moth larva will feed on wool and other clothing/upholstery material. So if your moths are meal moths the furniture should be relatively safe in the garage. At least according to what I have read; but nowhere did anything say "meal moth larva will never eat non-foodstuff products", so obviously there's no guarantee.

How about covering the couch and loveseat with plastic dropcloths, sealed as well as possible, to discourage any stray meal moths who might consider setting up housekeeping in them. Also, consider that if you have seen moths in the house, which is where the couch and loveseat have been all this time, those pieces have been "available" to adult moths anyway. So probably six of one/a half dozen of the other.....

    Bookmark   June 14, 2003 at 8:16PM
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Good Point Lainy! I hadn't looked at it that way, the moths are already in the same room as the furniture. The difference is that there are a handful of them in the house and dozens in the garage. Today my new shipment of moth traps arrived, so I will check the traps in the garage tomorrow and decide which solution to try for. I gave up last night and just pulled out the couch to get to the cedar closet. Now I have all my 1X clothes out and ready to use, but need to pack up all the 2X and 3X and mark them for a rummage sale. When does all the work end?

I did plan to cover the furniture with plastic, but really don't expect to get it actually sealed. I'll do my best, which is all any of us can do.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2003 at 1:12AM
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Mona and Nancy, what are your Moth Updates?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2003 at 7:16AM
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Well, they're still with us though in fewer numbers. None of the traps or sticky things caught anything. So, now that I consider these things an extension of our family, I merely pick them up (bare handed) and deposit them in a glass jar to see how long it takes to transform from sac to moth. I'm starting to feel like an entomologist. I have caught (and squashed) 2 of the moths. I wish I knew how to determine whether they were male or female and whether or not they were "in the family way". I would love to know whether I caught them before they did the dastardly deed or not. But enough of my problems. How about you? Are you rid of your pests?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2003 at 7:23PM
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I know what you mean about worrying whether the moths had or hadn't any "fun" before their demise; I did the same thing!

Dare I even whisper that I haven't seen an adult for a few weeks now...but also it has been nonstop cool and rainy, no warm weather at all. (Where's the Ark???) And knowing how moth larva can diapause until a return to favorable conditions, I'm not taking my reprieve for granted yet! Ask me in April 2004 and if I haven't seen any between now and then, I'll be confident of my answer. ;-)

This whole episode gave me some valuable insight into the workings (or not) of the pest control company I have been using. I haven't been at all happy with their response, or rather lack of it, not only about the moths but about the termites which they were originallyl called in for. My contract with them runs out in August and I don't intend to renew it. But sadly I paid for a perimeter defense system (for termites) that is seemingly useless. Money thrown away again!

My newest concern is the fact that last week I saw carpenter ants travelling along the corner formed by the vinyl sided porch overhand and the vinyl sided wall it abuts. Makes me wonder how come, especially since this same company supposedly "treated" for carpenter ants last year.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2003 at 7:59PM
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We had a perimeter system (Sentricon) in the last house and have not yet installed it here but we plan to. After suffering through 2 subterranean termite attacks in the previous home I couldn't sleep. I just knew they were trying to eat their way in again. Thank goodness we installed it. I was right. We found several large colonies in the yard. It took about 7 months to finally eliminate any activity. That other home had such a huge attic with beams and supports and crannies no inspector could get into, that the house could have caved before their activity was discovered. Why are you unhappy with your system? We had carpenter ants as well. And they kept coming back. It was our experience that there was no permanent guarantee that they would not return after treament. They are attracted to damp wood and we had lots of that. Our serviceman simply treated for them whenever and wherever I told him they were appearing. Who ever said keeping a house was easy!? Maybe igloos are the way to go.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2003 at 10:44PM
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I had gotten an estimate for the Sentricon from one company but they were so overpriced on their other treatments that I suspected they were ditto on the Sentricon. The company that I am now with, was mentioned to me by the engineer that did the inspection on my house, so I called them. They told me that they use the First Line brand, which is supposedly the only one with a growth regulator in the treated baits, and which is made by FMC. Supposedly the difference is that when you use First Line, you OWN the system, whereas Sentricon is a proprietary brand of Dow Chemical and is LEASED to the pest company installing it. Therefore you can have the Sentricon system as long as it is being monitored by the installing company, but if you ever decide not to continue your monitoring (yearly) contract, they have to come and remove the Sentricon units. I was told that this is not the case with First Line; once you buy it, it is yours to keep whether you have a monitoring contract or not.

Don't know how true that is. What did your company tell you about the Sentricon? Is it yours for keeps or only for as long as you pay for the monitoring? Also if I may ask, how much did yours cost? I guess it would depend on how many units.... I have 12 or 13 units, I believe (it's raining too hard to go out and count them right now!).

This company did a conventional termite treatment when I bought the house because there were termites in the garage. Then when the old siding was ripped off, there were live termites in the garage door framing, so they came back and treated under THAT. A few weeks ago I had swarming in the garage, so they came back and treated that area again. Now in all this time none of the First Line baits have been touched, or even as far as I know, inspected by this company! It's as if they installed them and forgot about them.

Another thing that concerns me is that I had to have the house that I recently sold, treated by the company who was carrying the guarantee. I got to talking with the technician and mentioned that I had bought the First Line system for my new house. He commented that they do not use First Line anymore because independent studies have shown that whereas the Sentricon will show termite activity on the units in about 4-6 months, the First Line units are often untouched for over a year. They seem to be much less attractive to termites than the Sentricon. Obviously mine aren't very much attracted to them!!

Carpenter ants are the worst to eradicate. They even like different kinds of bait depending on different times of year. That's all we need.... gourmet carpenter ants.... oh look, there's one wearing an Emeril apron....

    Bookmark   June 22, 2003 at 10:05AM
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Sentricon traps are yours only as long as you maintain the yearly contract. If you don't renew, then they come and get the bait stations. We originally paid @ $1600 with a yearly contract of @$400 and we started off with 36 traps, but with all the activity we ended up with 54 stations. We saw immediate activity and then in some stations we saw none after 2-3 months and with others it took about 7 months. And then we were free of the termites until we sold the home. I encouraged the new owners to continue the service. Now, we also had the swarmimg kind and anytime they checked and found live activity the company paid for any repair work needed. Termites in the Tampa Bay area are so common that we laugh about there being only 3 kinds of homes in this area: those that had termites, those that currently have them and those that will get them. No one goes untouched here.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2003 at 3:36PM
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Mona, it's the same "three types of homes" in this area! Only difference is that ours are only the subterannean kind. It's almost as bad for the carpenter ants.

My current pest control company charged me $1235 which included the chemical treatment of the perimeter foundation all along the exterior of the house, the crawlspace, and the garage flooring, cutting and sealing an abandoned well pipe in the garage (required by law, otherwise they cannot use the chemical treatment), and the installation of the First Line bait stations. The yearly contract is $195. They will come and retreat chemically whenever I find live termites in the house area. Their "quarterly pest control treatment" which is for the ants, is $65 each time. But I have the option to call them and say "I don't need/want a treatment this quarter".

I am curious as to why you started off with 36 traps. That is so much more than they used here. Are they all just against the perimeter of the house, or are there any in the landscaping farther away? Mine are against the house only. And during the remodel, my contractors broke the plastic covers on at least half of them. Then the landscapers yanked out and 'replaced' a bunch of them last week when they delivered topsoil and such. So I wonder if they are even in working order anymore, so to speak! I have a fairly large house, a 5000 sq ft Colonial, so I'm wondering if the number of traps they put down are enough....

Where are all those 54 traps of yours located?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2003 at 5:28PM
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I guess our frigid north winters are a blessing! I'll remind DH of the extra creepy-crawlies next time he says he someday wants to retire in a warm climate.

We had carpenter ants, but after replacing the wet rotted wood, and having Terminix drill litte holes every 16 inches above the baseboards and puff in some powder (they said it was boric acid, but I bet it was something stronger), they finally have gone away. I hated having that year contract, since we had two dogs at the time and I would not let them do any spraying in the house. It was kind of nice to not have spiders in the basement for a while, though. (I did let them spray in the basement, where dogs never go).

My moths have decreased to an occasional one in the house, We are not opening the door between the house and the garage. In the garage I had put another trap, which is already covered. I put out two more yesterday, one has a dozen or more moths, but the one I put inside a cabinet has none, so I moved it. My birdfood was free of pests in its galvanized can. I finally washed and filled the bird feeders yesterday. I did not feed the birds all spring because we had grass seed down and I did not want to encourage them to steal it!

Tomorrow night we may move the couch and loveseat into the garage. I still have my George Bush rolls of plastic, so I may cover them. My neighbors say we are doing the garage sale thing next weekend. They gave me no warning, so I cannot change my work hours, but my unemployed sis may come by and help for the hours I have to be away.

I expect to have the moths in the garage for a few more generations, so I'll keep that door in between closed.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2003 at 6:57PM
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The 3 of us should start a "Moth Society". I wonder how many more members we would attract? Nancy, it sounds like you're making some progress; I wish you continued success. Lainy, the other house was really, really big and the first stations were placed around the footprint of the home. The stations that showed activity got extra bait traps in that location. But the technician came around once a month and then as activity slowed he came around every other month. We never had to check the traps for activity; that was their job. As soon as I get settled, we're going with the system again. We just heard of a home in a nearby community that was found to have Sub termites, and the home is only 10 months old. Gives me the heebie-jeebies thinking about that scenario.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2003 at 8:21PM
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Haven't read any postings from you for awhile. How are your moth problems doing? We are down to finding only 1-2 sacs every 7-10 days. I guess that's pretty good and about what we can expect until the population is wiped out. Let me know how things are going.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2003 at 4:32PM
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I have caught a zillion on the sticky traps in the garage. I put out some fresh traps and they are still getting moths. I had one moth inside last night. The dogs will look at it, but don't jump up and eat it like they do the flies. Maybe they don't like things that don't buzz. I did impulsively buy one of the electric bug zapper things that look like a small tennis racket. It puts out quite a shock, so if you get one do not test it on yourself (like I did!) I have a shock strip I can place on a counter to keep Casey (the dalmatian/coonhound) off the counter, and I have gotten shocked by it a few times and it is nothing like the zap this fly-racket gives. I have killed a few moths with it, but didn't bother to go get it last night. I did also get the extra couch and loveseat out into the garage and draped them with my GWBush plastic supply. (the nuclear fallout never came, so I thought I'd use it for a practical purpose.) If I ever get the time to have my rummage sale, I'll find out if they got infested! I have never seen the sacks you describe, so I think we have a different kind.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2003 at 6:29PM
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Mona, I am almost afraid to say it but I haven't seen any moths since the pest guy sprayed that stuff into that one wall section through an electrical outlet.... Maybe by incredible luck that's where the 'nest' was? But I haven't yet been brave enough to remove the window screen 'shield' from the AC register on the other side of that wall, nor from the one on the wall adjacent to it. Haven't seen any moths behind the screen, but I'm still too chicken to chance it!!! It may sound crazy but since all the research says that the larva can diapause for up to a year, I'm probably going to leave those screens on until next June... just to be ABSOLUTELY sure that the next generation isn't waiting around to invade!!

Nancy, I think I read somewhere that dogs and cats usually won't try eating a moth a second time because of that powdery coating that moths have on their wings. I think the taste or texture of the coating is distasteful to some animals that might otherwise eat them. It doesn't seem to bother certain birds though.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2003 at 5:39PM
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It could be starting again. My husband found one sac moving along the hall wall and I found another one in the guest bathroom. I cannot believe I may have to go through this nightmare again! I swear I'm going to start keeping pet spiders in the house.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2003 at 11:02AM
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I have a moth or two flitting around again. Time to pull out the sticky traps. It doesn't help that I opened some dog treats and found webs inside (no, the moths didn't invade the treats, they came that was from the store.)

    Bookmark   October 22, 2003 at 12:24AM
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Nancy, it seems we're doomed to having to deal with these pests on a regular basis. I guess I will forever be on the prowl to spot new invaders. Probably you're in the same boat. Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2003 at 10:28PM
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Lainey, MonaBlair, are you two still out there? They're baaack!

In the past year and a half we have seen a few here and there, but lately they are all over the place. I put out more sticky-traps this morning. In the past two years we rarely even use the door to the garage. We have a queen mattress set out there that I guess we will have to dump, since I bet it is infested pretty well. It is sealed in plastic, but I am not holding my breath.

In the two years since this all started, I have kept the birdseed sealed in metal cans. I admit that the garage is a mess because we just filled it up with stuff that did not sell after our rummage sale August 2003. I have to get DH out there to help me empty the garage and give it a good cleaning.

Since the start of the moth invasion, my major joints have all gone bonkers. I have bursitis in both knees. hips, and shoulders and chronic tendonitis in the elbows, so no heavy work for me. I can dislocate my left shoulder by simply reaching to get something off the floor! I tell ya, value your strength and health when you have it, it can go really quickly. I can't plan on doing much of anything by myself anymore.

My latest plan is to turn the garage into a second bath/laundry room/cedar closet. It will be only four steps down to that level, instead of the fifteen or so down to the basement, so I will be able to do laundry again. If you've ever shared a bathroom with another person who works full-time, you'll appreciate why I want a second bathroom. It occurred to me this weekend, while killing moths, that if we GUT that garage, maybe we will finally get rid of the moth problem for good. Luckily, they have never yet invaded the foodstuffs in the kitchen or pantry.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 2:15PM
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Nancy, I feel your angst. The hairs on my arms and head are standing on end at the thought that the danger of reinvasion is a possibility. OMG!!! That would just push me over the edge, and I'm real close now. Unless someone has experienced an invasion they'll never appreciate what we have gone through. We have not seen any in 18 months, but I look around all the time for those tell tale, moving "pumpkin seeds". I really think ours came in during the new construction and were behind the walls in the drywall because they would appear from under the baseboards. Or, maybe in the Oriental rugs that we bought. Who knows?
What do you think caused your latest invasion? Obviously, you have not found the source. And they're in different parts of your home? Any plan of action?
I ended up ordering these moth repellent envelopes from The Vermont Country Store and placing them in all of our closets and behind furniture on the floor up against the baseboards. I think that's what finally worked for us. Ya' have to be careful of fur babies not getting into these, though.
Please keep me posted. I'm going to light candles, bury garlic on the north side of a big oak tree, and bury potato eyes by the entrance to the front door to ward off these eveil spirits. I'll include you and your home in the "spell".
Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2005 at 12:14PM
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Thanks so much for the spell, Mona! I think the hot muggy weather and occasionally opening the door to the garage did it. There is no sign of breeding in foodstuffs, no holes in clothes. The moths are mainly in the LR and Kit. I caught three in the first trap I set, on the first day. I'll check the traps again soon. Busy busy!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 1:22AM
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I failed to comment on your joint pain and your weight loss. Have you kept the weight off? What's causing the joint pain? Email me if you want to keep this private.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 5:55AM
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No problem, it is clear for all to see that I have regained over half the weight. I am always saying to myself that I can lose it again anytime, but the will to stay on a good eating program has been hard to find. I was doing pretty well at maintaining exercise up until two weeks ago, and I hope to get back to it again later this week.

My joints are achy and sometimes painful because they are so loose. My kneecap on the left will probably need surgery because it is just not staying in place anymore. My elbows can be dislocated easily when the doc or PT guy try and the day-to-day movement keeps them chronically inflamed. My left shoulder probably has rotator cuff tears - I'll see on Wednesday when I see the orthopedist. It turns out that I have not been crazy all my life when I have said there is something wrong with my joints. It just took years and years of abuse before the medical people could see it, too. The joints are hypermobile. That means they move in more directions than they are meant to, and after 45 years of this, they are getting stressed and worn out. The tendons and bursa are always infamed. There are syndromes like this that are caused by poor connective tissue, but I don't know if that is what is going on or not. All I know is that it hurts and that I have to be careful to move properly (at PT we had to start out working on how to stand and walk - I've been doing it wrong the whole time!) and I have to strengthen my muscles to help support my joints.

So if you have kids who are WAY too flexible, pay attention to their aches and pains and get them evaluated. If they knew about this class of problems when I was young, good advice about joints could have taught me to prevent the damage. But Stan the PT man says they are just learning now about hypermobility.

Thanks for asking and sorry to go on so much, but it is my little cause of the decade, I think!


    Bookmark   July 3, 2005 at 10:57PM
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You have my sympathy. I have a bad knee that probably will need replacing in the near future. When I lost weight it didn't bother me, but I've gained some weight back and you know the rest of the story. I've found that losing it for the intial time has been/was the easiest, because I was naive and thought I'd never revert to old eating habits again. Now that I know "the fat lady" is always waiting in the wings to come out it's harder to get motivated. Also, gaining weight back is very humiliating and humbling. You just know people are thinking, "Poor thing, just couldn't keep it off". What recourse or medical plan is there for your loose joints? Can they improve with exercise or therapy or is it just "bear it"?

    Bookmark   July 3, 2005 at 11:19PM
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I am still working on that! I am close to meeting the diagnosis for a number of different disorders, but I don't meet all of the criteria for any of them. The treatment differs, depending on the diagnosis. My PT guy, Stan, says that strengthening the muscles around the joints is the ticket. It is difficult, though. I think I made the shoulder worse when I tried to move up to six pounds from five on a couple of the exercises. I have learned better how to walk, stand, take stairs, and such. I no longer let one hip thrust out and stand on the other leg! I center my weight on both feet and flex my feet so that my arches don't fall inward. I do some toe rises when standing in lines at stores and some arch flexes.

I take an anti-inflamatory and a muscle relaxer and supplement with tylenol. Oh- and I complain a lot - it makes me feel better. Ice or heat can help a lot. DH recently has been using the percussive massager on my shoulder and it is a wonder. I had a lot more mobility yesterday after he massaged my shoulder and back with it. I am also looking to put a big ole' jetted tub int that bathroom in the garage! (to get back on topic).

Thanks for asking, I hope that your knee holds out for you for a while longer. Here is an artcle about a newer surgery that they are doing around here. My dad's wife's brother had it done and walked out of the hospital with a walker the next day!

MAXIMIZING MOBILITY: New knee replacement technique offers quicker recovery

November 30, 2004


Like so many Americans, Conrad Mallett Sr. delayed having knee surgery.


Conrad Mallett Sr. stretches his new knee at the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan in Oak Park.
Mallett, 76, a former college president and advisor to Detroit Mayor Coleman Young, is an avid skier, who hits the slopes from "sunup to sundown."

Surgeons told him that if he underwent a knee replacement operation, he wouldn't be able to ski again. Too risky, once that delicate knee gets repaired, he was told.

He skied in pain throughout 2003, delaying his decision long enough to become eligible for a new knee replacement procedure that offers quicker recovery and a chance to return to skiing.

Orthopedic surgeons are noncommittal about the minimally invasive knee replacement surgery, awaiting more results. But as word has spread to patients, the procedure's appeal has grown in the two years since the federal Food and Drug Administration approved several new devices used in the surgery.

Nationwide, about 300,000 Americans each year undergo traditional total knee replacement surgery. It's performed to rebuild the knee after injury or a type of arthritis, osteoarthritis -- Mallet's diagnosis. Osteoarthritis causes the knees to bow in or out, and makes walking and exercise painful.

Dr. Robert Ference's team prepares to close the incision after replacing Conrad Mallet Sr.'s knee at Sinai-Grace in Detroit.
Mallett had his first knee replacement operation in June, and the second one Nov. 3 at Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit, where his son, Conrad Mallett Jr., a former Michigan Supreme Court Justice, is president.

The elder Mallett had almost no postoperative pain and was walking with a cane two weeks after surgery.

New tools, techniques
His surgeon, Dr. Robert Ference, director of minimally invasive joint replacement surgery at Sinai-Grace, says 96 percent of his patients are back to normal activities at six weeks, and half are back in just two weeks.

That compares to the three to six months other patients typically require after conventional knee replacement surgery. The timing of the return to activities depends on a person's level of fitness, age and general health.

Minimally invasive total knee replacement surgery gets patients back to normal activities more quickly because of two critical differences, says Ference. Surgeons do not cut into the quadriceps muscle above the knee, as is done in traditional surgery. And, during surgery, doctors lift, but don't flip over, the kneecap, as is done in traditional surgery to help the surgical team gain access to the knee.

New tools and computer-guided programs as well as lining up the knee to the center of the ankle help surgeons perform the procedure without flipping over the kneecap.

Also, the incision is smaller, typically 3 to 4 inches, rather than 8 to 12 inches, Ference says. "What's important is not hurting the quadriceps."

Ference has performed 500 of the procedures in the past two years and is considered a leader in the field. He trains many physicians in the technique, both for Stryker Orthopaedics, a manufacturer of a device used in the surgery, as well as at surgery meetings. Earlier this month, Ference taught the technique to doctors at an American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery meeting in Rosemont, Ill. Ference says he expects that in five years, the minimally invasive approach will be the procedure of choice.

For now, orthopedic surgery groups are cautious.

Waiting for data
"The potential benefits, risks and costs of this have yet to be established," says Dr. Brian Hallstrom in a summary of minimally invasive knee replacement on the Web site of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery (

"Unfortunately, we won't know if these new techniques affect the long-term function and durability of the knee replacement for 10 to 15 years," Hallstrom writes. "Long-term durability is much more important than whether you were in the hospital for two days or four days after surgery."

Minimally invasive knee replacement was developed in 1991 by Dr. Peter Bonutti of Effingham, Ill. Last March, in the AAOS journal, he reported high success rates in studies of more than 200 patients two to four years after surgery.

The operation remains technically challenging. Only one of the first 12 surgeons Ference trained still is doing it, he says, and the one who does it, limits the operation to patients of about 150 pounds, as some other doctors do, Ference says. Excess weight can complicate the operation because surgeons have to remove too much fat around the knee to insert the cobalt chrome knee implants into place.

Ference is confident enough with his results and team that he "takes all comers." His patients range from 150 to 400 pounds, averaging 262 pounds, he says.

Patients with a prior knee surgery who need a second operation, known as a revision, might be eligible for the minimally invasive technique if they don't have too much scar tissue that's developed at the incision site. Many of Ference's patients have had the traditional operation on one knee and seek him out for the new procedure on the other.

"The people who've had it done the traditional way can't believe the difference," says Lisa Hypna , one of Ference's two physician assistants.

Rehabilitation after traditional surgery is so arduous that patients refuse to get their other knee operated on, she says. With the new procedure, "most patients book the other knee two weeks after surgery."

Both minimally invasive and traditional knee replacement surgery cost about $35,000. Insurance covers the traditional procedure but may not cover the new one.

The biggest problem following traditional surgery is infection, which occurs in two of every 100 patients, national studies show.

By comparison, Ference says, none of his 500 patients has developed an infection. He also uses regional anesthesia in the minimally invasive operation, compared to general anesthesia for traditional surgery. He says his patients aren't as groggy afterward, speeding their recovery. Ference's team tries to lower the risk of infection by mixing antibiotics into the cement paste he uses to hold the joint in place.

The team takes infection control in the operating room so seriously that they wear space-age-like operating garb, called bubble suits, with large, masked helmets.

Ference advises patients shopping for a surgeon to ask if they cut through the quadriceps muscle.

Some surgeons who call their operations minimally invasive use a smaller incision but cut through the muscle, he says.

Patients from as far as Connecticut, where Mallett lives, and Colorado are coming to Detroit for the surgery. Ference also has contracted with the Canadian health officials to bring patients to Detroit from Canada. Families who live more than 100 miles away from Sinai-Grace are housed for free in a top Southfield hotel with a shuttle to get them back and forth to the hospital.

Patients typically are discharged in two days, compared to three or four with traditional surgery.

Mallett is pleased with his results

Four days after surgery, he was able to lift his leg straight up.

Two weeks later, he was walking with a cane.

Ference says Mallett could flex his knee completely the day after surgery. He has "no question" that Mallett will be skiing soon.

Mallett is certain, too.

"There's already a 25-inch base of snow" in some states, Mallett said a few days before Thanksgiving.

"Absolutely, I am thinking about skiing."

For more information and a brochure on the procedure, call 888-362-2500.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2005 at 10:21AM
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We had a horrible month infestation in our pantry several years ago. I threw away hundreds of dollars worth of food...everything! Even jarred and canned foods had to go because the sacs were attached under the jar lids and in the rims of cans. I had to check under the shelves, cracks, light fixtures, door jams.

After the clean out, the pest control service did a heavy duty eradication.

Knock, knock...I haven't seen them since. However, I am currently battling mealy bugs. I keep a lot of pasta in the pantry. I have to control that and just purchase as I need it.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 5:47PM
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How miserable! So far, these critters have not found the food stuffs - or they are just eating my clothes!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 10:13PM
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I found something strange in a corner shelf of my pantry month before last. I reached for a can in a corner and found what looked like a roach dropping. I walked away to get a paper towel and when I came back found the "dropping" had moved. I took everything off the shelf and found about 2-3 dozen "droppings" in the corner, concealed by the stack of canned goods. Watching them closely I could see them move, but no legs or wings were visible. If I touched them with a Qtip they would start moving. If left undisturbed, they stayed in place. I vacuumed them up, took bug spray to the bag, sealed it and threw it away. Honey, I got rid of every pasta package, any flour based mixes, wiped down the shelf and wiped all the cans with an antiseptic wipe. I haven't seen anymore, but I still haven't been able to figure out what they were. I just don't want them back. Cathy, are these mealy bugs?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 7:14AM
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Mona, It sounds like mealy bugs. If you shake a bag of pasta and find "dropping" like things on the bottom of the bag...that's mealy bugs.

I have put a box/bag of pasta in the boiling water only to see them float to the top. Uck!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 1:08PM
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Mustangs, anytime I've found critters in pasta they've been tiny, but long & skinny. These didn't look like those.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 1:28PM
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I was wondering if you could tell me where you bought the traps you have been talking about. I have mealy moths.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 10:54PM
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