March 6, 2008

I have unwelcome visitors! This is serious. In fact, it’s rather biblical. My kitchen cupboards have become home to a seemingly endless tribe of moths.

Not those rather pretty, silvery-goldy things which flutter about sweetly and then munch all your cashmere jumpers on the sly. These are mysterious, pale brown creatures, with the odd fleck of black, and I am not at all sure what they are up to. Why are they in my cupboards? How did they get there? What are they eating?

Actually, I know the answer to the last one, and it’s rather revolting. They’re eating everything – the flour, the sugar and, on one unforgivable occasion, the M & S Belgian chocolate-coated raisins. True Love even spotted one in my Ancient Grains breakfast cereal a few months back. Naturally, I pooh-poohed him. This was when I was in deep denial. I’d see a moth fly out every time I opened the cupboard, and I’d just ignore it and shut the door quickly. I’ve never been one for tangling with wildlife. After all, what are husbands for? I’ll say something for X, he was always very good at manoeuvring spiders out of the house, using that old glass and sheet of paper technique.

Now, I’ve entered a new phase. I have realised, at last, that there is no husband around to deal with the crisis. True Love flits in and out, rather like a moth himself, and I somehow cannot ask him to take on this heavy burden of responsibility, though he did once remove a spider which was in dire need of Immac after I had shrieked the place down. But I can’t go around yelling every two minutes, particularly if there is no man around to hear and act. I’d only freak out the offspring, not to mention get a sore throat. I have to handle this myself. I must sort out my own moths.

So, from being an insect avoider, I am now walking insecticide. I spot a moth, I take a tissue, I scrumple up tissue and moth together, and I throw the lot in the bin without anything more than a feeling of triumph. I have become a murderess. There are many moth souls on my conscience, or the place where my conscience ought to be. If I feel faint-hearted, as I did this morning when opening the cereals cupboard and finding four moths hanging out on the shelf, I remind myself of my beloved choccy raisins and I swoop. I am also constantly distracted in my conversations with the preciouses about their homework, as I scan the ceiling for signs of – deep breath – tiny creamy moth larvae wiggling across the ceiling. Yes, these yucky little beasties make a steady, vile progress from who-knows-whence to a secret spot, where they mutate into moths, insert themselves into my cupboards, and fly out at me every morning.

This is why, at the crack of dawn today, I found myself standing perilously atop my kitchen worksurface, vacuum cleaner curtain attachment in hand, frantically hoovering the tops of the cupboards. Thank god for OCD, which makes it all a grim sort of pleasure. But if that doesn’t do it, I don’t know what will. Any suggestions very gratefully received.

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  • Potty Mummy March 8, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    OK, you are probably not going to like this, DD. I think you have pantry moths. I’ve never had them, but a friend has, and apparantly they come over in packets of dried goods from the US (where is Ancient Grains made, just out of interest). Once they are in your kitchen are very difficult to get rid of unless you go through every single packet in your cupboards, checking for larvae (yes, disgusting I know), or holes where they may have crawled in. Otherwise, they will just keep coming out.

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

    I suggest you get your kids home to help – it can be payback for all the dirty bottoms you wiped in the past.

    Or pay them per pack where the creatures are found?

    Again, sorry not to have better news… Please don’t hate me…

  • Nunhead Mum of One March 9, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    oh my god, this sounds awful. Eurgh, sorry DD am not helping I know but I say vacuum, Flash spray, chuck out anything that these beasts feed (including everything M&S) have even looked at let alone hatched in, vacuum again, Flash spray again (or use the one with bleach, it’s very good) and then gradually reintroduce your dried goods. Sometimes obsessive cleaning is very good!

    NMO xx

  • ZZ March 9, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    Entomophobia & Ameriphobia. It could be time to call Fortnum and Mason for a box of mothballs. There are some more organic approaches – but they just involve day labourers repackaging the mothballs in far off places – this is bad for downtrodden indigenous people – and the insecticide is inevitably diluted in the process.

  • DulwichDivorcee March 10, 2008 at 5:03 am

    Dear PM, could never hate you, but did spend about four hours screaming ‘euwwwwwwwwww!’ after getting your post. Euwwww! I can feel it coming on again, just at the idea of getting the little darlings to search for larvae. But in a grateful sort of way, really. Ancient Grains is the breakfast cereal that the suicidal, lentil-weaving mother eats in About A Boy, and in our household is shorthand for the repulsive hamster food I eat when on a health kick. Now I can throw it away in my anti-moth purge! Thank you! X

  • DulwichDivorcee March 10, 2008 at 5:10 am

    Dearest NMO, I have run out of Flash spray and used last of Illicit Bang in doomed attempt to make shower squeaky clean – which one with bleach do you recommend? I shall be making the weekly pilgrimage to Mr Sainsbury later today, if I’ve got over the horrors, that is. Not sure I could ever look a dried good in the face again.

  • DulwichDivorcee March 10, 2008 at 5:14 am

    Do you know, ZZ, I really don’t think Fortnum’s stock mothballs, unless it’s an ironic solid chocolate mothball from Prestat – and I’m sure my little friends would just lick their greedy lips at those. Yuk, don’t even want to think about moth lips. I have put some lavender aromatherapy oil in the cupboard and am hoping they will all go away – a far off place full of day labourers would be ideal!