Pest Control/Indian meal moths, can't find source
Hello.. Wondering if you could please help.
Back in June 2013, I brought some perfume boxes home from my work storage unit...a facility that was open to others to store too. Upon opening a box in my basement..a moth flew out...not knowing moth types, I just went to Home Depot bought moth pheromone traps..the pantry moth type and set a few in the rafters of the unfinished basement. I would periodical check them...nothing was found. I figured I just had had a stray come home with me straggler from some adjoining storage unit. Fast forward last year, May 2015.. We began to see moths flying around.. I re-checked the traps, and wow, they were full of moths. The Unfinished basement, we used as storage, and had koi fish food down there. And a lot of other stored items.
….. by the time we got a handle and figured out what we kept seeing flying in basement were IMM it was August 2015 ..we took out a lot of clutter and bought new traps and took out fish food and a ton of stored stuff that we had down there. Fish food we took out and put in storage shed..waited all summer no larvae developed!!!! Last year we did NOT find the actual source and only saw dead larvae after a thorough cleaning around the window sill, dead larvae around an old ant bait trap. Never a nest, mainly dead one in traps and the flying ones we killed. Mid October 2015.. We stopped seeing them, and we’re told by an online pest shop they hibernate in cold (we’re in Michigan) and not to be surprised if we see them again in the spring…well mid May 2016.. They’re back… Not any where near the amount last year and we no longer see any flying…one in the trap very few days or stuck on the fly traps I hung up..thinking they’d attract females??… Again, NOTHING EVER upstairs in the kitchen (last year I had kept traps upstairs for a while and never caught or seen any upstairs and was told to remove them as they’ll attract them from downstairs.)… I keep ALL food upstairs in fridge and even took the step to cover all vents and basement door is always closed and when we go down there we are so careful coming back up. And this year emptied the basement down to virtually empty, had an exterminator out who searched and cannot find any food source.. He has sprayed twice at 30 day intervals.. finding dead ones now on floor more then get caught in traps...but we're still catching I traps even after 2 sprays and so much clearing and clean up) He recommended removing/ changing insulation around perimeter of basement its from 1992…. Could be a source of nesting behind it).. We’ll be getting foam kind to seal any cracks)also to see if maybe we missed an old ant bait trap or what could be sustaining them??? We are at our wits end... It's a 1500sq ft unfinished basement, very clean and empty at this point and no know food down their!!
Could we be dealing with reminants from last year this far into this season??? Again we are seeing them abating but just want to be done..but then again we have had the area sprayed which helped abate the issue too. It has consumed my husband and I with non stop cleaning and searching…we thought they could be coming from outside but the Windows we have down there are glass block with no vents.. And unless they are doing komakazee moves to come in??? Please if you could give us some insight??Thanks and sorry for being so long with this message!!!
Cleaning Up an Infestation
Most commonly, by the time the insects are noticed, they have already spread to other food packages. Carefully inspect all packages, especially those that have been opened or are exposed. Destroy any that give the slightest indication of infestation. Other than the insects themselves, telltale signs include webbing in tight places of a package or tiny holes in the container. Insects are less likely to invade packages that have their original seal but more commonly infest those that have been opened or that have been on the shelf for a long time. Before replacing noninfested packages, wash shelves with soap and water, scrubbing corners and crevices or vacuuming them with a crevice attachment to remove eggs and pupae.
Pheromone traps are readily available for several different pantry pests, although pheromone traps specifically designed for the Indianmeal moth won't attract beetles. There are some traps (e.g., Pantry Patrol) that attract several different pantry pest species, including the Indianmeal moth, red flour beetle, confused flour beetle, warehouse beetle, and cigarette beetle.
Use pheromone traps to detect pests that remain in the house after the source of the infestation has been removed. Pheromones are chemicals produced by an organism to affect the behavior of other members of the same species. In the case of the Indianmeal moth, a sex pheromone attracts adult male moths into the trap where they get stuck on the sticky sides; these traps won't attract the female moths but may reduce their ability to produce eggs if the traps catch males before they can mate. The pheromones used to attract the flour beetle species are aggregation pheromones that attract both sexes. Food oil lures are also contained in some traps.
Place the traps in the area of a previous infestation and check them weekly. Most traps remain effective for about three months. Whenever you catch a new batch of moths or beetles in traps, it is time to inspect food packages again for an infestation.
Prevention and Sanitation
Most home infestations of pantry pests maintain themselves on spills in the crevices of cupboards and drawers or in opened packages of food stored for long periods of time. Following a few general guidelines when storing food products will help you avoid many potential problems:
Don't put exposed food on shelves. Place it in containers with tight-fitting lids; plastic bags aren't adequate.
Regularly clean shelves, bins, and all other locations where there is any possibility of flour or other food particles accumulating. Certain pests need only small amounts of food to live and breed. Soap and water are great for cleaning flat areas, and vacuuming with a crevice attachment will help clean cracks, edges, and corners.
Don't mix old and new lots of foodstuffs. If the old material is infested, the pest will quickly invade the new.
Clean old containers before filling them with fresh food. They may be contaminated and cause a new infestation.
Don't purchase broken or damaged packages of food materials. They are more likely to become infested.
Construct storage units so that they are tight and can be easily cleaned.
Store bulk materials, such as pet foods, in containers with tight-fitting lids.
Keep storage units dry. This is important because moisture favors the development of pantry pests, while dryness discourages them.
Some pantry insects breed in the nests of rodents and insects and may migrate from these into homes. Eliminate any nests found in or near the home.
Pantry pests can also breed in rodent baits. Be sure to frequently check and discard infested baits.