Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Those of you who follow Terri Windling may have already heard this, but since it's the best advice anyone can give any one else:
I'm singing it to myself as I continue my campaign, pogrom, obsession of the past weeks with the plague of Indian meal moths that have exploded within the cracked walls of my old, old third floor walk up apartment rooms.
 (Indian meal moths have a wingspan of about 3/4" when at rest, the wings are folded together-held tightly together by the body)
It started in the kitchen and bath but, although still concentrated there, has migrated beyond to throughout the apartment, and I am nearly beside myself with the work of eradicating the population.  
(only four tiny dots but 15 more in the bathroom when I shot this)
This has involved relinquishing a great deal of stored food, and clearing out many containers, a daunting task for a WWII baby who grew into a poor old woman saving everything that might be useful someday.  Two large black bags have already been discarded, with many more lined up for the immediate future.
(Infested with tiny white worms from eggs they lay too)
 Just some of the teas sacrificed
these too
 and countless stored grains and cereals because they managed to squeeze eggs in below the rim of some glass jars and even hard plastic containers. Their habits and life cycle are such that I must admit I sometimes despair of ever being free of them.  The females can lay 100-400 eggs within 18 to 21 days!!!
The work is exhausting sometimes piercingly poignant too, as when I come upon artifacts that jolt me back to the lost past, like this picture of "Howler" my beloved cat given to friend Jim in 1983, retrieved after his death in 1998...
...and a nice little drawing with it's decorated and stamped envelope made as a valentine to my mother in 1978, retrieved after her death in1979
both removed from infested frames I discarded.
Heart wrenching stuff like that.
I'm still awaiting the arrival of $41.45 worth of Pheromone Moth Traps ordered on the 4th and due before the 14th.  I've bought many jars of white vinegar for cleaning and apple vinegar to attract the females to drown.  I have a somewhat detached attitude to this murderous enterprise, and try to think of it as the golden opportunity I've been needing to clear decades of accumulation here.  It just got harder and harder as I grew into and beyond seventy.  When that doesn't work, I think of it as a comedy, black to be sure, but comedy none the less.  When that fails, I crawl into bed and plug in to an audio book till sleep captures me.  As for my karma--perhaps I'm releasing them from their suffering I tell myself in that thin internal voice like a child praying for mercy, making excuse for what she can not help.
Post Script
A friend with whom I regularly correspond, and to whom I couch the situation in far more gory specifics, recently likened my efforts to 'Sisyphus', and I could add that the biblical 'Job' might be eluded to as well, since the critters are nocturnal so I'm losing sleep too.  Where's the script writer?


Mo Crow said...


Barbara Hohenberg said...

As the song Cielito Lindo says: sing and don't cry. Cause singing gladdens the heart.
Good that you can sing as you deal with this plague.

Nancy said...

Awww...Michelle!!! I'm so sorry you have to deal with this. But, you're right in saying that it does force one to clean up and clear out!

LeeAnn at Mrs Black's said...

I am so sorry for you, how awful. I like Moths, and these are pretty, but not in the numbers which you have. I fought hard to make the clothes moths move out a few years ago and had a similar experience. Howler sure looks a wonderful cat. It is sometimes delightful to confront memories but would be less stressful minus those Moths! I used pheromones, and they did help, along with a major clear out, just as you are doing. I also now keep lavender year round in drawers in all rooms, including the kitchen. Moths seem not to like it. x

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

helplessness in the face of onslaught....
wanting to clean them OUT
knowing what it will take, that Energy drain...

o Michelle, eee,

Peggy said...

Hope you're nearing the end of this huge undertaking. It will feel so good when it's over and done with. xoxo