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Monday, April 29, 2019

Bread Day and a PSA

 
No promises that I can keep this up, but I did manage to make another batch of bread. I thought these loaves might come out better than the last ones. I identified a potential thing I could tweak, but it didn't help. They aren't bad, but I never can seem to get my bread to rise quite enough. But this recipe is better than some I use, and it tastes good.

homemade bread

However, it turned out to be a much bigger project than I had in mind. I wanted to add a little rye flour, which meant I need to get into my "grains" tub.

Notice up front- if you don't like bugs, just back away and wave goodbye.

But we have a horrible problem with grain moths. Plodia interpunctella, also called indian-meal moths, pantry moths, flour moths, etc.

I thought I had everything in this tub sealed adequately. So I opened it up to find the rye flour, and as you can see, there are moth bodies down among the packages, and even a worm in the groove at the top edge. (Not to mention frass- moth poop)

tub with packages of flour and grain moths

I'm not going to try to tell you how to get rid of grain moths. I've decided it's impossible once they get established. The moth traps are too small- they are expensive and they fill up. All of this comes under the heading of management. We kill them whenever we can. They fly fairly slowly and we are adept at clapping them dead in midair. We try to keep everything sealed (although they can get even into screw-top jars. I'm convinced the moths lay eggs at the edge of the lid and the tiniest of the larvae can crawl up the threads.) We keep a strip of flypaper hanging in the kitchen. I know it looks gross, but these buggers do a lot of damage to food, and I need to keep trying to get rid of them. I put anything in the freezer if I think it's got eggs laid in it.

So far, I have found exactly two things that keep them out. I bought a small tub with a really tight rubber seal that I keep my everyday flours in.

And, what I verified today. Here's what doesn't work. Regular weight store packaging, like the inner liners of cereal boxes, plastic bags that specialty flours come in, etc. Even if I seal them with my heat sealer, the worms are able to eat through the plastic to get to the grains. For example: Note the horrible larval mess inside this bag that was heat sealed.

packages of flour with grain moth damage

So, that one went in the trash.

And here's a Ziplock vacuum bag. Do they even sell these any more? These don't seal well enough. Again- see larvae on the inside. Trash.

bag with moth larvae inside

Now for the success story. So far, I've never found one of the real vacuum sealer bags that they could penetrate. Every package that I had closed up in a vacuum sealer bag was OK on the inside. Had to clean off the outsides, which I did with the vacuum cleaner and then a wash with hot soapy Clorox water, but the contents are fine.

vacuum sealed bag excludes grain moths

New rule for self: Nothing goes in that tub unless it's in a vacuum sealer bag.

Here's the kind of sealer I'm talking about, and the heavy bags on a roll that come with it, or you can buy separately. Mine is Food Saver brand, but there are others.

Food Saver bag sealer

So, the bread is made, the tub is cleaned, the vacuum is emptied and the trash is gone to the curb- get those moth generations out of here! This job was not originally on today's list.

In other news: the next chapter will be a long one. Long hike, journal hadn't yet been transferred to digital. That is now done. That was my big writing accomplishment for the day. And I'm working on my program that I give tomorrow night about self-publishing.

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2 comments:

Ann said...

I've never had a problem with them but that sure sounds like a battle to keep them out of things. I had no idea they could eat right through the plastic

The Oceanside Animals said...

Charlee: "I wish we had pantry moths! I would watch them and chase them and watch them and chase them and --"
Chaplin: "Charlee, Dada says to stop wishing for moths this instant."
Charlee: "Sorry."
Chaplin: "Anyway apparently we did once have a moth population explosion after Dada cleared out all the black widows in the pantry. But that was before our time."
Charlee: "See what happens when you disrupt an ecosystem?"
Chaplin: "Dada says these days all the flour and grain and whatnot goes in the freezer as soon as it comes home and stays there a good long time before it comes out."
Charlee: "And that's why we don't have so many moths anymore?"
Chaplin: "I guess so."
Charlee: "Okay. Excuse me, I have to go sabotage the freezer now."

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