The tale I am about to tell you is a cautionary one, and something which could affect any household. What happened to me really challenged my beliefs and values, and led me to have to take a path which I am not comfortable with, but which was deemed necessary for the health and well being of the family.
I am something of a hygiene queen, having been a nurse really doesn't help, but I do like a spotless kitchen and enjoy cooking home made food. My daughter, currently at university, became vegan at the age of 15, and learnt to cook really well, and was always to be found making meals in my kitchen right up until the day she went to university two years ago.
We agreed that due to the vast number of ingredients needed to make vegan food, many of them unusual, and only needed sometimes, that she should have her own top shelf in the cupboard, so that on visits home everything would be ready for her to use, without having to replenish the stocks too often.
Now I do a fair amount of vegan cooking myself, but some of her ingredients such as seaweed and so on are not really to my taste, so I tended to leave her shelf alone preserving it for her return. What I didn't notice though was that she has left some soya flour in a bag closed with Selotape. Now I don't use soya flour myself, but a couple of weeks after she left I decided to have a peep into her food store and saw this flour. I thought I would use it in a recipe, and then replace it fresh for her next visit home.
When I opened it I was absolutely amazed by the sight inside this bag. It was one mass of flour moths, and they all escaped swirling round me. It was bordering on terrifying, and I immediately poured it onto the garden. It was the only thing I could think of to do because I hate killing things, and so the dustbin was out of the question. In retrospect I think putting them onto the garden really killed them, because they live in houses and so I guess this didn't help them.
So absolutely gutted by this I thought that was the end of it, but no 14 days later more were fluttering round my kitchen, it was horrific, and so I decided to see if I could find any help on the internet for this problem which was escalating out of control!
The first thing I discovered was the fact that these were Mediterranean Pantry or Flour Moths, and that they would have arrived already in the flour. Well that was a relief I suppose in that I wasn't to blame, but that really didn't prepare me for the horror as I read on. Each female lays 400 eggs with a quick life cycle of only a couple of weeks, and with the cosy centrally heated houses we have these thrive in our kitchens. As soon as they emerge from their larvae they mate without delay, so the cycle is a very difficult one to break, and certainly if you have them in one thing they will already have set up residence in something else!
Partial also to the odd nibble of dried fruit, chocolate, tea, cereals, dried cat food, and walnuts amongst other things, these insects have a field day in the average kitchen. I must admit this was all news to me because in all my 49 years I have never seen them or really heard of them before. The females have to lay their eggs in a foodstuff so that the babies can hatch and have a food source, so the first sign you see if there is an infestation is a webbed stringy looking structure at the top of the packet.
Now over the weeks which followed this shocking discovery more moths kept appearing, so I emptied my cupboards and steam cleaned them all checking everything for any evidence of infestation.
Despite all my best efforts I kept seeing more of these moths fluttering round my kitchen and when one appeared over a friend's head who had come round for the evening for drinks and nibbles, I decided enough was enough, and I looked into some form of treatment I could do for the problem because simply cleaning wasn't enough.
The Aeroxon Moth Trap
I found a product called the Aeroxon Food Moth Trap online and decided it was my only option. The little traps are sticky pieces of card impregnated with a pheromone which attracts the males, and then sadly they stick to it and pass on. Well this mortified me as I don't kill anything Still I knew it had to be done so I purchased these traps on line, and I went through Amazon, but looking today you can easily find these now more cheaply than I paid for about £2 each. I found them on wwwgardening-naturally.com.
As these are free from insecticides you don't have to worry about them being toxic to use in areas where food is stored and prepared.
They don't have a UK website but if you go to www.aeroxon.com the US site gives you detailed information about the product and the moth life cycle.
The little pieces of card are sticky so easily glue themselves to cupboards. All you do is remove the strip to reveal the sticky area, and remove the silicone cover from the trap which releases the pheromone.
You stick them in places such as cupboards and then as the moths hatch out the cycle ends as the males are attracted to the traps rather than to the ladies. I won't dwell on this as it revolts me, but suffice to say it works and the problem is finally sorted.
It recommends replacement after 6 weeks which I have been doing for many months and now there are no signs at all of any moths, but I will continue to use them until I am absolutely certain this is over.
You have to be vigilant though as it is possible for the pupae to remain dormant, so it is imperative to keep cupboards spotless as they can hide in crevices over the winter.
What Happened Next. A Warning!
However it doesn't end there as I decided to replace the soya flour for my daughter and on inspection discovered a lacy fretwork of moth breeding going on even before I had a moment to put it into a sealed container. Proof indeed that the moths arrive in foodstuffs on purchase.
Only last month my daughter who lives in Edinburgh, and who like me is now ultra cautious, bought some Neal's Yard Muesli from Holland and Barrett in Edinburgh-opening it the next morning for her breakfast. Her and her boyfriend decided to have toast instead, as it was already infested and promptly returned it to the store where the assistant gladly replaced it saying "It's always happening so no problem!"
Now I am sure it isn't going to arrive in products which are oven cooked such as in granola type products, but certainly if you are buying health food goodies, especially those with raw ingredients be very careful and look for the tell tale signs. Decant it straight away into a sealed container, and inspect it regularly in case there are no early signs, or you may have moths for breakfast!
This Aeroxon trap is very successful and has eliminated the problem. It is a brilliant product so I will award it 5 Dooyoo stars, but it has left me feeling dreadful and certainly extremely cautious now when I purchase anything in the muesli/oats/flours food groups. It only takes one little bag to contaminate an entire kitchen.
This review will also be posted on Ciao by myself under my user name there Violet1278.