Moths and houseplants: an update

I am typing this in early June and I am contemplating going into my sweaters; it’s way too cold for June. Just last week I was dying of heat prostration (is that a thing?), wandering around New York City and the waves of smelly heat coming up off the sidewalk.

May 1 is my traditional day to move the houseplants outside. It was far too nippy this May 1, but I did notice some changes around the house. First of all, I lost three plants to whatever I did to kill them. Two scrawny palm-tree like plants just withered and died. Another, sickly to begin with, apparently died from a fungus, based on the swarm of fruit-fly like insects that came up in a cloud when I was kind enough to remember to water.

My plant lady at work told me they were mold flies and offered me a piece of cardboard, bright yellow, with a sticky surface. These mold flies love that yellow and fly into and stick to the paper and, like the plant itself, die a slow and uncomfortable death.

So, while we are discussing house pests, I have moths. I had them before and I have them again, no matter how hard we dig through the pantry. Pantry moths, as I am sure most of you have discovered the hard way, like to propagate in old bags of dry goods like flour. But they don’t mind laying their eggs in cracks and crevices. About the same time, I was performing an autopsy on my plants, I noticed an occasional moth flutter about. This sent me over the edge, since I had led myself to believe that I had wiped them out last year. Nope, an even worse infestation. So I went on to seek out all varieties of mothacides, and landed again on the pheromone-laced, sticky box that I had used before.

When the traps arrived, I set them up. Because I usually catch so many moths in these things (it is quite disgusting), I put one outside in the common hall with the theory that randy moths from the neighbors’ flour are sneaking into my trap.

The first set did absolutely nothing. It turns out I was supposed to load a pheromone capsule into the trap. So I went to Home Depot and bought the ones I used last year and, lo and behold, I started my moth murdering. It has worked disturbingly well.

They still end up in my cereal.

I am open to suggestions.


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