Friday, January 23, 2015

FREE Webinar: Pesticide Strategy - the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

What: Pesticide strategy- the good, the bad, and the ugly FREE WEBINAR
When: Friday, February 6, 2015 1PM CST
Pesticides are useful tools if we use them properly.  Improper use can harm the user and the environment and lead to secondary pest outbreaks.  Learn how to use pesticides safely and effectively in this webinar presented by Kaci Buhl from Oregon State University.  Moderated by Charles Pinkston and Danielle Carroll, Regional Extension Agents, Alabama Cooperative Extension System.  Click here to login as a guest and participate in the live event.  
Note: on February 6, the link to the live webinar opens about 15 minutes before the webinar.  If you try to log in earlier, you will get an error message. 

For more webinars in this series, see All Bugs Good and Bad 2015 Webinar Series. The webinars are brought to you by the following eXtension Communities of Practice: Imported Fire AntsUrban IPM; Pesticide Environmental Stewardship, and by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the University of Georgia Center for Urban Agriculture.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Indian meal moths

Last month I found an Indian meal moth in my kitchen.  So what, you say? This insect is probably the most common pantry pest that I get calls on.  And it's in my kitchen.  Which meant I had a task in front of me that I wasn't looking forward to.

Indian meal moths are small moths that fold their wings back to form a triangular shape when at rest.  The wings are light tan with a coppery-red color at the tips. Larvae, are anywhere from creamy- white to yellowish- green to a pinkish color and often are not seen until they are searching for a location to pupate (unless you go digging through the food in your pantry). Larvae spin a cocoon to pupate, usually near where the walls meet, near the ceiling, or in cracks.

Indian meal moth on dog food bag.
So, what was the dreaded task that I had to undertake?  I had to go through everything in my pantry to get rid of any infested items.  If you try to only manage the adults you will not completely get rid of your problem since more adults will emerge and you'll be back to square one. You need to find the source and get rid of it.

Larvae feed on flour, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, crackers, dog food and a slew of other items. When I started my search, I began at the back of my pantry because that's where old items that don't see the light of day end up.  Since older stored products are more likely to harbor pantry pests, this seems to be a decent strategy in my opinion. I went through and checked everything; even items that haven't been opened.  Problem solved after all infested items were thrown away.

If you can't part with a particular item and would like to still use it, you can either put it in the freezer for a couple of days to kill the insects or you can spread it on a baking sheet and bake it on the lowest oven setting for about 4-6 hours. Once the insects are dead, you can either eat the product with the insects in it (added protein) or yo
u can sift/ pick the insects out.