I had never heard of pantry moths until a few months ago, when I started spotting them in our kitchen. Plodia interpunctella, the Indian mealmoth, is a tiny brownish-grey insect that apparently spends the entirety of its life cycle 1) fluttering around erratically in front of your face whenever you open a cabinet, and 2) reproducing at an alarming rate. These motherfuckers have resisted my every attempt to ferret out their feeding/egg-laying source, even after I threw out half our food and stored every newly purchased dry good in sealed containers, and although they succumb by repulsive handfuls to the glue traps I’ve scattered hither and yon, the invasion NEVER ENDS.

They’re annoying, the way they come bumbling out of god-knows-where in the cabinets and launch into their herky-jerky flight patterns while I swat ineffectually at the air and whine like David Spade in Tommy Boy: “Can we get any MORE moths in here??” They’re gross, because their dying revenge is to leave a giant swath of bodily squish and dark wing-dust on whatever surface you’ve swatted them against. They’re MADDENING, since I know there’s a mess of larvae somewhere, probably in something I’m currently eating.

This would be a prime opportunity for Oregon’s unpleasantly large autumn spiders to endear themselves to me by serving as backup in the Pantry Moth Wars, but all the eight-legged members of our household seem focused on honing their startle tactics. I found one on the shower wall. Another came scuttling out from underneath the utensil drawer. I was getting into bed the other night and when I pulled back the sheet and blanket, there it was: huge. Horrible. Lurking there on my side of the bed, under the covers, in flagrant violation of all that is decent and acceptable in this world.

I told you about the snakes, right? JB went a little crazy and ripped out some boards in the sunroom walls, convinced we were housing some sort of reptilian lair. (Or hive. Whatever.) Nothing emerged, but the cats continue to produce a new snake at least every other day. It’s become just another regular chore around here: take out the trash. Clean the bathroom. EVICT THE GODDAMNED SNAKE.

He earned a dollar for this

In conclusion … well, I don’t have a conclusion. I have moths, spiders, and snakes. The end.


39 Responses to “I’ll see your fruit flies and raise you a trifecta of WTF GO AWAY”

  1. Emma on October 8th, 2015 9:13 am

    And a very handsome Riley!!! He looks so grown up (and brave holding that snake…)

  2. Shana on October 8th, 2015 9:15 am

    We had the moth problem. We found their cocoons(?) in egg cartons we stored for our chickens’ eggs. They love glue on box tops and bottoms. They can burrow into bags. It was tough to rid ourselves of them, but we did.

  3. Pete on October 8th, 2015 9:18 am

    My soon-to-be-ex-wife would never rotate our noodle supply so some of the older boxes in the back would sprout weevils that would eat the noodles and make holes in the box which they would escape from, turn in to flying bugs and irritate the household. I now keep our noodle supply in sealed containers. This won’t stop the weevils but it will contain them. Don’t have a snake problem, just Black Widows.

  4. Ginger on October 8th, 2015 9:22 am

    I suggest the unwelcome conclusion that the moths originate in the boxed foodstuffs in your pantry. Not your fault–they come with the flour, rice, cereal you buy. About the snakes, GOK.

  5. Rachel on October 8th, 2015 9:54 am

    Oh god, we have pantry moths. Took forever to get rid of them. We figured out ours came in on bulk dog treats. It is apparently a very common source.

  6. Cobwebs on October 8th, 2015 9:55 am

    If you suspect that the moths are coming home with the packaged food, stick it in the freezer overnight. That’ll kill any lurking larvae.

    Also be sure to check pet food, since we tend to get the little rotters in our dogs’ dry food.

    The snakes are most likely coming in because it’s autumn and the house is warmer. There are plenty of holes to the outside (pipes for plumbing, holes drilled to allow cable or other wiring, etc.), and they don’t need much room to slip through. You can plug up any gaps to discourage them, but they like to snack on mice so you might want to just view them as pesticide-free rodent control mechanisms.

  7. Jeanette on October 8th, 2015 10:34 am

    I used to have a problem with pantry moths, too until one day for a completely unrelated reason I poured a cup of bleach down the drain in our utility room. A cloud of the mfr’s came flying out so needless to say, I pretty much emptied the rest of the bottle of bleach down the drain. I haven’t had a problem since! Worth a try anyway! As for the snakes and spiders I have no clue!

  8. lisak on October 8th, 2015 10:47 am

    I recall using bay leaves in abundance to get rid of and ward off the pantry moths. Get rid of absolutely everything they could be in. Put several bay leaves in containers of anything you bring in and also lay them about the cupboards. Finally did the trick

  9. Caleal on October 8th, 2015 11:57 am

    So I don’t know how well it would work on Oregon spiders and pantry moths (which I didn’t know we’re a thing either) but we keep all sorts of Michigan level bugs away with peppermint oil. Filled spray bottle with water, many drops of peppermint essential oil (maybe like twenty?), spray the bejesus out of the outside of the house. Every crick and window and door jamb and where the house meets the ground and where I can reach where the house meets the roof. I have to do it every couple weeks, usually when I notice something has snuck in, but rd been working great. You could probably also spray in out of the way places indoors, maybe soak some cotton balls with he mixture for the back of the pantry.

    As for snakes, I have no idea because I’m busy running far far away from all snakes everywhere.

  10. Mary on October 8th, 2015 1:21 pm

    We have ringneck snakes that nest under our garage every year. They are harmless but there is nothing I dislike more then finding them in my living room. They hatch right around the middle of August and we can find babies as late as November. I will find one or two a day for awhile. One year my husband was really into composting. He got all these composting earthworms and keep it in the garage.That year I was killing 10 snakes an hour. You know what attracts snakes? Dirt and worms, per the conservation department. Once we realized that was attracting them, the worms went bye bye and the snake population went back to a responsible number. Snakes are gross.

  11. Lisa on October 8th, 2015 2:09 pm

    We had the same goddamned moths. For eleventybillon months. I threw out the food sources I thought they were in, then threw out more food just to be sure, and still they came back. Again and again. They only way I solved my problem was moving across the state and I didn’t take any food with me. Fuck those things.

  12. sooboo on October 8th, 2015 2:46 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this! Every time we open the cabinet G-damn moths in my face! I thought it was just me, phew. I have gotten rid of everything edible, wiped it all down, put the new stuff in plastic and they are still there. Good to know they like packaging as I have plastic cups and paper napkins in there too. I like the suggestion on sticking stuff in the freezer. I can’t imagine dealing with snakes and spiders in the actual bed. Shiver. Riley looks like an old pro in that picture! Maybe your kids can play exterminator.

  13. Akofaolain on October 8th, 2015 2:48 pm

    I might never stop thinking about a giant spider under the covers.

  14. g~ on October 8th, 2015 3:29 pm

    I think the only reasonable response here is to firebomb the house.

  15. Faith on October 8th, 2015 8:47 pm

    In your *bed*??? That’s just wrong. How long until you stop basically stripping the bed before you get in for the night?

  16. Lyn Never on October 8th, 2015 9:03 pm

    We just had a moth outbreak thanks to dry dog food that was getting dropped/shoved behind a shelf. Which was near my bathroom, so about half of them landed on the backside of my hand towels and dehydrated there before I figured out what was going on.

  17. Sharon on October 9th, 2015 6:39 am

    I’m SO glad you’re back to posting more regularly. I absolutely love the way you write. I think you are one of the best and one of the funniest bloggers around. I wish I lived in your neighbourhood because I would want you for my friend. (We’d have to meet at my house though, because I can’t handle snakes. Shudder.)

  18. Lisa on October 9th, 2015 6:54 am

    For the first time ever we have the moths too. It’s embarrassing, like your not cleaning enough. I’ve thrown out food as well but they keep coming back. Also for the first time ever we are going to have our house sprayed with insecticide.

  19. Isabel on October 9th, 2015 7:07 am

    The ONLY way to get rid of those spiders are to BURN THE HOUSE DOWN TO THE GROUND!!! I have a uhh, tiny “phobia” going on where anything with 8 legs are concerned…. If I had to find one in my bed – well, you would have to scrape me off the ceiling and then pay a really huge hotel bill while you rebuilt the house that was burnt down! Kudos to you for dealing with all these”issues” in such a dignified manner.

  20. LD's Mom on October 9th, 2015 8:04 am

    One thought I had about your snakes is that maybe it is related to the construction of the new shop. I hope when construction is complete they’ll be less disrupted and will leave your poor family the fk alone.

  21. Corinne on October 9th, 2015 10:34 am

    Last week I stripped our bed and found a (LIVE) millipede under my pillow. Let that rattle around in your sleepless brain for a while.

  22. Serror on October 9th, 2015 10:41 am

    OMG with the M’fking moths! I literally had them for a year, even after I threw out all of our dry food, or froze things that weren’t infested. Scrubbed out the cabinets and sprayed distilled white vinegar on the insides.

    Found an infestation in the dog treat drawer that made my toes curl and I don’t even mind insects that much. Blergh!

    Don’t buy bulk grains, or freeze them upon bringing them home. Everything in glass or hard plastic. They can easily eat through ziplock bags, and keep those glue traps going until you see no moths ever in them. And bay leaves on your shelves.

    Also, those little bastards can hide under jar lids too, which I found out the hard way by bringing a jar of jam to a friends house and opening, only to find a bunch of little maggots hiding. At least I opened it. Not cool moths. Not cool.

  23. annie on October 9th, 2015 3:24 pm

    Arrrtgggghhhhh spider in bed !!?? I would have to move

  24. Donna on October 10th, 2015 4:00 pm

    Snakes come looking for mice. Bay leaves and jars for moths. Spiders? I got nothin. I love little Steve Irwin!

  25. Susie on October 10th, 2015 11:42 pm

    That canNOT be Riley!! Holy heck, he’s grown into a freakin’ teenager. And so handsome. Also, spider in the bed? Yeah, I’m on the burn-the-house-to-the-ground bandwagon.

  26. Jennifer on October 11th, 2015 5:37 pm

    who is that kid? Not Riley?! How old is he now?!

  27. kendra on October 11th, 2015 5:43 pm

    Echoing the echo of Gazoinks! Riley is huge.

    I’ve bought traps off the internet for those pantry moths. They eventually achieved moth genocide until my MIL gave us a new econo-bag of rice with an ample supply of new pestilences with wings.

  28. Kimberley B on October 12th, 2015 9:44 am

    We had the Indian meal moth as well…getting rid of them was a HUGE pain…I ended up tossing almost all dry goods, and putting the rest in sealed containers…turns out the only way they can’t get into food is by using hermetically sealed containers. After three rounds of ‘clean out every goddamned thing in the pantry’ over as many months, I took out the wire shelves because they had laid a bunch of eggs in the underside of the shelving where I couldn’t see. I cleaned those suckers then re-painted the entire pantry and that finally, finally did it. I feel for you. (In other news, I recently put on a pair of pyjama pants and felt something tickling me…there was a spider in them! Horrifying.) Good luck!

  29. Emily on October 12th, 2015 12:08 pm

    Those moths! We had them a few years back and I did the same thing – threw out all the food, bought 100’s of $ in Tubberware, etc. I finally found the culprit months later when I was cleaning out under the sink and found a petrified curry take-out container. Barf.

  30. nonsoccermom on October 13th, 2015 12:57 pm

    No moths here, but I’ve been battling fleas on both of our damn pets (and consequently all inside the house, including my bed) for over a month now and gaaaaaaaaah I hate all insects in my house! Any sort of bug infestation is SO HARD to get rid of! We shaved our poor cat in desperation to get rid of the fleas and well, she still hates us.

    Anyway, my sympathies. I’d almost rather have the snakes.

  31. Gretchen in HB on October 13th, 2015 4:16 pm

    I see your moths, spiders and snakes and raise you crickets, spiders, silverfish AND mother fawking LICE.

  32. Kelli on October 14th, 2015 7:01 am

    I’m sorry about all of the pests but this post did make me laugh out loud. So I’m thankful for that. :)

  33. Shannon on October 14th, 2015 11:15 am

    No moths. Fruit flies, which I *think* have finally been eradicated thanks to MONTHS of apple cider vinegar solution scattered throughout the house. Wasps, which have made a home on our balcony (and sometimes get inside)and our property mgmt. co apparently can’t be bothered to deal with. Then spiders (including one on my mother-fucking PILLOW *shudder*). Then ladybugs (WTF) which are probably the least offensive but I will now be finding and vacuuming up their carcasses for the next 7 months.

  34. Amy on October 15th, 2015 9:24 am

    We have the same moth problem. I’m assuming ours are pantry moths because they’re tiny and mostly flap around the kitchen and drown in bowls soaking in the sink, but we get an infestation of them every single fall and they go away on their own after a few months. Seasonal pantry moths? Annoying little fuckers, whatever they are. I just started noticing them again about a week ago. I like to sing “Crush Your Enemies” from Conan the Barbarian: The Musical as I swat them into grey smears with a dish towel.

  35. Kim on October 15th, 2015 12:20 pm

    You’ve given the blight of my last few months a name: Pantry Moths. Sweet fucking Christ, I would pay a lot of money for a viable solution to this problem – this is some Old Testament level shit at my house.

  36. Emily on October 20th, 2015 11:09 am

    Sorry … the only way we were able to get rid of our food pests was by waiting for the weather to get too cold for them. Although I’ve heard spells and incantations work okay.

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  38. Lynn on December 13th, 2015 4:54 pm

    Glue traps are horribly cruel.

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