Anybody else have bugs?

barb_roselover_inSeptember 14, 2013

I don't know where else to post this asking for some advice. It certainly is not about the cooking. In bringing all of the produce out of the garden, I seem to have attracted little gnats that are bugging me. Also, I have some of those nasty things that get in the flours and cereals. I have bought those traps with lures in them, but they have even gotten into my cat food. Surely there is something that you can use to discourage them. Those traps are expensive. Anybody got any tips? and sorry to be posting on this forum when it does not relate to cooking alone. Thanks in advance. Barb

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The "little gnats" you speak of are probably fruit flies. They go after rotting produce so that they can lay their eggs. They'll go away once you no longer have all that produce coming in from the garden, but in the meanwhile you can help eliminate them by avoiding leaving any broken/rotting fruits/vegs in places they can get to it, and you can make a simple "trap" from a cup containing some vinegar with a little dish soap mixed in. You'll find lots drowned in the vinegar mix.

The things in your flours and cat food are probably meal moths (aka pantry moths). We got a bad infestation a few years ago and finally realized that they had come in the wheat-based kitty litter we use!!! :p To get rid of them we went through everything in the pantry and tossed whatever contained them, checked anything/anyplace in the house where they might lay eggs... check anything organic outside the pantry: baskets, kitty litter, etc., and I often found their larvae at the edge where the wall meets the ceiling! We also used those pheromone moth traps, and killed by hand whatever we could. You have to be diligent because their life cycle can be nearly a year!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 7:33AM
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I've learned to keep peppermints (the ones that are individually wrapped) on my kitchen shelves, it repels those little varmints that get into your food. But if you have bought something in the store with them already in it this might not work. Once I was going to use some paprika in a pot of Hungarian Goulash and had poured the paprika into the measuring spoon and just before I dumped it in the pot I noticed movement - it was crawling with them. Whenever I see those little gnats flying around the first thing I check are the potatoes that I keep in a wire basket.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 7:54AM
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I've posted a link below to many discussions and battles with pantry pests and some things to try. One of those discussions is mine, haha. I did the big battle last spring.
I've got it under control now but what a fight it was...

Once under control, if one pest appears, go at it immediately. It is often brought from away...travels into your home with groceries or even a new rug. Get it before they multiply.

Dry dog and cat foods are full of mites and such from the factories. You might want to transfer into zip-locks and keep in the freezer. Gets into bird seed as well.
Proper storage containers are a must.
I took everything outside in shallow crates and inspected and threw out so much. Emptied the pantry and hosed, cleaned, vacuumed, boraxed, vacuumed, hosed with soap/vinegar...again the next day...

Here is a link that might be useful: pantry bugs

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 8:02AM
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With international food imports, there have been all kinds of new bugs which are difficult to eliminate, or prevent.

If possible, every time you buy dry food, starchy food, even they appear to be perfectly packed, bake (low heat) them in the oven to kill the eggs. Freezing may not kill them all.

I bought a bag of bay leaves, thinking that bay leaves supposedly can repel bugs, well, the entire bag was crawling with moths when I open it.


This post was edited by dcarch on Sat, Sep 14, 13 at 9:06

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 8:09AM
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For flying moths, it's a good idea to kill them before they have a chance to lay eggs. Traps works some what, but they are not cheap.

It is not easy to kill them while you see them flying, but you can buy those very inexpensive battery insect zappers which looks like a tennis racket. Get one for each room.

The zapper works for all flying insects, even fruit flies, mosquittoes. It vaporizes the bugs instantly. Fun to use.

Haborfreight always have them on sale for around $2.00 each.


    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 8:30AM
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Oh, good idea on the zapper. Just hang a few in the pantry, lol.
I'd forgotten about those. Gave one to my FIL when i first saw them.

Fruit flies are a bit annoying this time of year. I have to take out my compost more often.
Yes, check your harvest. If you see fruit flies, something has a nick or bruise that has opened. I have four crates of asian pears in the garage and saw fruit flies. Found just one fruit that was picked without its stem and had exposed flesh.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 8:53AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

We had the meal moths once. Cleaned out the entire lazy susan, inspected everything...the little buggers had drilled minute holes into the pasta boxes and were eating the pasta. Then I got a lot of zipper plastic bags and jars and bagged and jarred everything separately so if something came in contaminated, it couldn't get at anything else. I also spread borax on the bottom of my cabinet under the lazy susan (where no food goes) to help discourage bugs.

Fruit flies esp love tomatoes, so make sure your produce doesn't have any small holes in it where they can go. The good thing is, fruit flies don't bite. If you get rid of the rotten produce, the fruit flies go with it.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 12:10PM
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save a few rotting tomatoes, put them in a small container, every hour, quickly put a cover on the container and microwave a minute.

Do it a few times and you will get rid of all the fruit flies in your entire neighborhood.


    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 12:41PM
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My DH absolutely has fits when we get fruit flies. What I did at the beginning of this summer was to take the Yoplait yogurt containers after we had eaten the yogurt, don't rinse them out) put a little apple cider vinegar, a little water and a couple of drops of dish soap in each. Then I put a single layer of clear wrap over each container, fastened it over the container with a rubber band and used a toothpick to make four or five holes in each. I couldn't believe how many we caught in each one. Even after the fruit flies are gone, I keep a couple of these prepared containers tucked out of sight in the kitchen and they've done the trick.

We did have an infestation of the little bugs in cereals and all at one time many years ago. I had heard about using bay leaves after cleaning out everything and it worked. My bay leaves in this eight year old house are the same age and I haven't had the problem again. I also heard about placing spearmint gum in your cabinets, but I like the bay leaves.


    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 2:05PM
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I had those pantry moths once. A terrible infestation. They bore through cardboard. I threw everything in the pantry out that wasn't in a tin can and scrubbed down the walls, shelves and ceiling. I put all my salad dressing mixes, pastas, flour, cereals etc. in plastic, tin or glass containers. You can buy bisquick or cake mixes that might already be contaminated and they'll bore through the stuff that you already have and is not contaminated. I haven't had bugs since except in a mix that already contained them but i had put it in plastic so I just threw it away, container and all. At least they couldn't get to the other stuff in the pantry. It was a big job and I didn't ever want to go through it again. That's been 8 - 10 years ago.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 2:10PM
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My hub buys 10 pound bags of basmati rice, we pour from bag to large clear lidded container for storage, several times I have found bugs crawling inside the container with the rice (easy to see from the outside) after a week or two of purchase.

I began freezing the rice when first purchased (and now all grain products that aren't used up in a couple weeks) for 10 days if possible, minimum of 6 or 7, and have not had a recurrence of any pantry bugs.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 2:25PM
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I've also had the pantry or meal moths, and bought the traps from GArdens Alive, which worked well, but they are expensive.

Now I use the bay leaf trick, bay leaves on all shelves of my pantry. In addition, all things that come into the house including rice, pasta, flours, dried beans and lentils, barley, etc, get removed frm boxes and bags and poured into storage containers. I've been using clear glass canning jars for this, because I can see through them, the lid and ring makes a tight seal and I can easily label them. Plus, I have a zillion of 'em, and just wash the flat lid and put an "x" on it so I know it's used, then use those for dry good storage purposes. Flour and sugar, cornmeal and cereal that I use larger amounts of go into containers with air tight lids so if something is contaminated, I can contain the creatures.

I keep garden produce in my garage until I'm ready to use it/deal with it, so the fruit flies are seldom in the house, but the garage is full of them. Ugh. The vinegar containers as described by bcskye work well, but it's an ongoing problem this time of year.


    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 4:38PM
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I'm eternally grateful to you guys for helping me. I love this forum because I can always get an answer from the followers of this forum I am off to get some bay leaves. My sister-in-law always keeps all dry stuff in her freezer but I don't have the room for that, and she doesn't live in the country, doesn't have a garden, etc. They seem to also love the breakfast bars, candy and cookies. This is going to be a battle. I also love the zapper thing. Now, if I can just find the zappers. I love you people. Thank you. Barb

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 5:21PM
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Had some fruit flies a few weeks ago, when I bought 20 pounds of grapes for this year's jelly. I found that using apple cider (real cider, not cider vinegar) in the homemade trap (bowl, covered with saran, poked with a toothpick) attracted them like crazy.

One caution about the weevils that arrive in your grain products. DO NOT count on plastic containers (like Tupperware, gladware, rubbermaid) to keep them from spreading. They're tiny enough that they can often crawl right through the seal. Better to use something like a ziplock bag. All grain products you buy have the eggs, so the trick is to not let them hatch. That means: buy from stores that have a quick turnover, that properly store products; keep your grain products in a cool environment (even freezing) to slow down the hatching process. And, of course, when you do occasionally find a few pets in your kitchen cabinet, get rid of the product, clean well, and put new products in ziplock bags. Of course, the good news is that weevils won't hurt you if you eat them--not that you want to, but they aren't dangerous to your health. You can, in a pinch, sift your flour, cake mixes, through a fine strainer to remove the live ones. With rice or pasta, they'll usually rise to the top of the cooking water and can be easily scooped out at that point--the food is certainly safe to eat.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 9:38PM
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Ugh, I feel your pain. My house came with pantry moths, I had never seen/heard of them before, so the infestation got pretty bad before I realized what was going on. After a giant purge, and scrub fest, I started buying smaller amounts of flour/grains and freezing it before storing. Everything else went into a canning jar or other really tightly sealing container, sometime in a ziplock bad first. Ugh. I got it under control but it was a PITA!

I second the cider vinegar and or cider fruit fly traps others described. They work great and once the garden is done, they'll be gone.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 7:35AM
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Dried bay leaves are all you need. We get the big container at Sam's Club. I make little mesh baggies (old footie hose) and tape each little baggie full of dried bay leaves on the inside top of every container.

Haven't had a pantry pest since I did this several years ago. The little baggies seem to last forever!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 3:50PM
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