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Grain Moths? Ask Annie

Submitted by on Monday, 1 February 2010One Comment

grain-mothDear Annie,
It seems I have grain moths (meal moths). I found them the day I decided to have oat meal. No thanks. I threw it out, but still see one or two moths flying around and so threw everything out on that shelf. I have dried fruit that’s securely sealed, and it’s new, so I’m not worried about that so much.

I looked online and found Cypermethrin recommended. Is that a harsh chemical and would YOU use it? I just thought I’d ask my favorite expert. Thanks Annie,
–TT, NYC

Dear TT,
Scorecard.org is a great site to know about if you want to look up potential hazards of any one chemical. The site is run by Environmental Defense, and on the lower left navigation bar is a link called “Chemical Profile.” What did I find when I typed in cypermethrin? It wasn’t good:

Chemical Profile/Health Hazards for CYPERMETHRIN (CAS Number: 52315-07-8)

Suspected: Carcinogen
Endocrine Toxicant
Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicant
Immunotoxicant
Neurotoxicant
Reproductive Toxicant

I had quite an infestation of these moths last summer, and quite honestly, the entire mess was ended with the removal of the contaminated bags and boxes and a thorough cleaning of the area.

That said, to repel them further, place a few bay leaves on pantry shelves, or tape bay leaves inside canisters or cereal boxes. Also, grain moths like warmth and moisture, so store grains in airtight containers and in a cool place.

I once spoke with a man who ran a big flour mill, and he swore by bazooka bubble gum as a grain moth repellent! He says to stick the gum inside the covers of boxes and on the inside of bags, just like you would bay leaves, above. Yes, I guess you have to chew the gum ot get it sticky… .

By Annie B. Bond, the best-selling and award-winning author of five healthy/green living books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999), Home Enlightenment, Clean & Green (1990), and most recently True Food (National Geographic, 2010 and winner of Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World). She has authored literally thousands of articles and was named “the foremost expert on green living” by Body & Soul magazine (2009).

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