I went to Trader Joe's today for the first time since the Indian Meal Moth War began (if you missed my last post, but would like to get up to speed on the moths read it about it here). Well, I tried to go yesterday. I carefully coordinated my workout time with a trip to TJ's anticipating just enough time to execute both stops and get to school pick up on time. What I didn't do was check to make sure my wallet was in my purse. Luckily I noticed this while in the TJ's parking lot and not at the check out with a full cart. Having no interest in schlepping the children back to TJs with me and figuring if no one drank milk with dinner there would be enough for this morning's cereal I waited until today to go back.
Turns out I am completely traumatized by the moths. Everywhere I turned there were seemingly innocuous dried goods and all I could see was larvae lunch. I love Trader Joe's and I in no way mean to suggest that their inventory is full of Indian Meal Moths in various stages of their life cycle. In fact, although I cannot be sure, I think that the original eggs/larvae/pupae/whatever came in on the raisins that I got at a different market. The thing is that right now, if a food does not go in the refrigerator or the freezer, it freaks me out.
While I have developed OCD in the areas of cleaning, tossing, repacking, and inspecting the pantry and surrounding areas we are still seeing a few moths. From my obsessive internet reading it seems it takes a little while to completely break the life cycle and eradicate the fuckers. The few moths we are seeing have hatched from pupae we didn't find during the scrub down. Our 'attract the males' pheromone trap is trapping moths and we have smashed others. Hopefully we are managing to execute the assholes before they mate and eggs are lain. If eggs are lain, then hopefully hatching larvae starve as we have done our damnedest to cut off their food supply. Then, there is the possibility that food that looks clean and we have sealed really has eggs in it and will one day be crawling with larvae. In that case, at least it will be confined to that container that can then be tossed. There sure are a lot of hopefullys in this situation! (I've put a new tab on the blog entitled Body Count. Check there often if you are interested in how the moth war is going as I'm going to try (but probably fail) to not post only about the insects in my pantry.)
I now really really want to have less things in the pantry and not more. I don't even want new bottled or canned food. I'm going pantry minimalist.
The dried fruit and nut aisle was particularly anxiety provoking today as the two things that were literally crawling with larvae were a bag of fruit and nut mix and those mini boxes of raisins. I almost stopped to explain to a woman putting dried fruit in her basket how important inspecting and sealing that package is, but I don't think I could have done it in a non-crazy, non-ranting sort of way.
While I can go a long way towards feeding the family on fresh refrigerated and frozen food, we do like cereal, crackers, pretzels etc. around here. I did buy cereal and crackers today, but only 1 box of each because that's the amount of sealed container space I had available. Usually I would buy several varieties of cereal and maybe 2 kinds of crackers or some chips or something. NOT TODAY. Even if we manage to actually eradicate this ourselves and don't have to get the house tented (see the comments on the moth post for a truly horrifying tale), I can't imagine buying dried goods in bulk ever again. I do not even care that it will be more expensive and result in more frequent trips to the market. Maybe I will buy a refrigerator especially for the cereal and it's cohorts...
Peace & Love :-)