Saturday, February 27, 2010

Defeating Moths

Moth eggs and larvae seem to always be in parakeet seed, probably in other forms of bird seed too. When introduced into your house they can be real pests, and some even damage wool clothing. 

This morning I opened a bag of crushed oyster shell and was surprised to find a live moth in it! How it got there is anybody's guess. Probably transferred from bird seed to the oyster shell and then locked in the bag. That got me thinking that maybe I should share my experience about moths with you.

This green moth (a luna moth?) is not the same kind you find in seed. It  was on the side of our barn and pretty. Moths that infest seed are small and brownish.

In order to rid our home of them I used to put a light dusting of an insecticide powder in the bottom tray of my bird cages. The tray is under a wire floor, so there's no way they can reach the powder and there's newspaper over it too. This helped. We also bought moth traps and caught a few that way, but never all.

Then we found a better way!

We have a large upright freezer in the basement and every bag of bird seed, millet or any other bird product is put in the freezer for at least 24 hours (preferably 48 hours). This insures that all insects, their eggs, larvae or pupae are killed. It works wonderfully! I then bring the bags back into the house and let them return to room temperature (so the moisture is expelled) before transferring the seed into the plastic, lidded containers used to store the seed until I dish it out for the birds.

We no longer see moths anywhere in our home. Smile. I hope you can find room in your freezer for your bird seed.

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