There was a time we had a long-term house guest named Hudah (pronounced Hoo-da) – a nickname, but the only name I have ever called him by. He was fastidious about his health, exercising regularly, consumed natural grains and vitamins. When he moved in, even though it was temporary, he brought his NordicTrack exercise machine, which he parked in the middle of the living room, and an abundance of his favorite healthy foods and grains in bulk from the local health food store.
Eventually he moved out and on to other adventures. About a month after his departure, we started to notice these little brown and gray moths flitting about the house. At first it was just one or two, and nobody really paid them any mind because we lived in the country, where some thing or another was always climbing, crawling or flying about at any given time. But soon they were fluttering all over the kitchen. Whenever you opened a cabinet, a few would come out and land on the counter. This prompted some thorough investigation.
Finally, the culprit was discovered – apparently Hudah had left us a gift. It was a bag of grain from the health food store that he had left behind, shoved way in the back in the dark of the cabinet. The food in the bag was clumped together, covered with silk stringy stuff and filled with little worms and larvae. Yuck. Tiny holes had been chewed right through the plastic by tiny little moth and worm mouths. He had brought pests into the house. And from there they had gotten into anything that was not in a jar. In his honor and for lack of a name at the time, they were dubbed Hudah Moths. A campaign to eradicate them was begun in earnest.
The Hudah Moth is actually more commonly known as a pantry moth, flour moth or grain moth because it tends to infest cereals, flour, nuts, dried fruits and grains. It will also infest dog food, coffee, and your stash of chocolate. Chocolate (!!!) Right there, you can see how serious a situation this could become. My good friend E. enlightened me to the fact that, officially, the Hudah Moth is called an Indian Meal Moth (Plodia interpunctella). Depending on the temperature, their life cycle can last anywhere from a month to a year. The good thing is that they do not harbor any diseases, so if you had accidently ingested some Hudah Moth, there really were no dire consequences attached to it (besides the Yuck Factor). Apparently they are not an uncommon problem. The more people I mention them to, the more I hear “Oh yeah, we had those“.
Locating the source is the best way to eradicate them. If you go through every single box and bag and throw out anything that indicates they are taking up residence there, there is a good chance you will be able to get rid of them. It means cleaning out the cabinets thoroughly, vacuuming, wiping, and then keeping vigilant. They do make hormone traps to catch the males, in addition to pest sprays, but I really didn’t want to have to go that route.
The Hudah Moth problem was swiftly dealt with. Over the years I have only encountered them one other time when they hitched a ride from our local health food store in a bag of organic brown rice and I was able to get rid of them before they became prolific.
Until this week. They are back. I am kicking myself for not putting some of my favorite things, like the wonderful apple tea I brought from Istanbul, into glass jars. The remainder of my tea has been ruined. This time I believe they hitched in on a bag of sunflower seeds. They managed to infest a number of items in the cabinets. If these Hudah Moths think they are going to winter over in my kitchen, they are in for a surprise. I waged war on them this week. So far, looking good……..