The other day, I put some sugar in my ceramic sugar bowl. Within a day, I saw little creepy worm-like creatures in it and dumped out the sugar, sent the bowl through the dishwasher and examined the sugar with a powerful flashlight and a pair of oculars. Looked clear to me so I filled the bowl again with the same results. I consulted with my daughter, the biology teacher, who basically said that she wouldn’t worry, it’s just a little more protein in my diet.
I dumped the bag of sugar, bought another bag, refilled the bowl. Same result. Now I needed some real answers. I went online to a Facebook group I belong to called “Next Door” and after describing the situation, got about 25 comments. Pantry moths! They reside in dried food. I was to throw out all the dried food in my pantry, thoroughly clean surfaces with something like Pine Sol and set traps.
I looked in my pasta. Yup! Out it went. Other pasta, although clear, was old enough that it deserved to be dumped. I threw out all dried stuff, contaminated or not … polenta, pasta, corn flake crumbs, etc. Then I cleaned. I realize that the little creatures were NOT in my sugar as suspected.
My sugar and flour are kept in canisters that are basically closed tightly, not in the pantry. I checked thoroughly. I bought traps from Amazon. And it’s important to note that I never saw anything flying (moths), just the larvae in the early phase in the cycle. Then I Googled it and here’s some reassuring info I found:
- In some countries and cultures, these caterpillars are eaten regularly along with other insects since they are abundant compared to other types of food and contain an extra source of rich proteins
- As far as the human digestive system is concerned, the pantry moth larvae might be just like any piece of animal protein which will be digested and processed.
- Pantry moths do not carry disease. They are not known to be agents of any known disease; neither do they carry any parasite or any pathogens that are a threat to human health.
- Food products can also be heated in the microwave for five minutes, submerging them in boiling water for six to 10 seconds or freezing them at zero degrees for four days. You can then sift the foods to remove the moths.
So far, I haven’t seen any more and the traps are clear. I have some pasta in the freezer that I’ll remove and hope for the best. But the best news is, had I followed my daughter’s advice in the first place, no harm would have come to my body!