Spring brings out the bugs in our house. (No, this is not a blog post on my in-laws.) While they may be dormant the rest of the year or have an activity below the detection of our personal radars, spring causes them to be noticed yet anew. The first we noticed was the may flies. These bugs have bodies similar to mosquitoes. Their bodies are fragile, but legs and wings are much bigger. And, fortunately, they have not been know to suck any of my blood….although I am largely foul tasting to most mosquitoes. They congregate at the back door. They will sneak in if we leave our guard down. Also, as fruit sits on counters for an extended period, the fruit flies seem to be happy to put down roots for a few months. Although we have the ultimate control by throwing away the rotting potatoes and bananas, it usually takes a week or more before we connect the bugs to the over-ripe fruit.
These bugs are normal visitors, so we have methods in place OR we have found You Tube videos to tell us how to remove the populations of fruit flies or gnats (very irritating, small bugs). This year, the moth population is a new addition to our spring festivities. While they seem to be present in the kitchen in larger numbers (we are in the kitchen quite a bit, so it makes sense we see them more), they have also been found in almost all other rooms of the house. The moths seem to dwell in our peripheral vision, or we credit them living there. When there is movement on the edges, we credit it as being “moth movement”. Because of their gray color and small size, they do have a tendency to blend in. We are trying not to cultivate a culture of fear, but if we were, some type of horror story could certainly be developed with sly little moths existing on the outside of the homeowners vision. Butterflies are so bright and “welcome”. The moths we are warring with definitely are not.
When I grew up, moth balls were the ONLY approach to taking out moths. I have memories of many drawers in the house and/or my dresser having a deep or minor moth ball scent. The scent is like the “really clean smell”, but not at all enjoyable. It is permeating. When a bag of moth balls is put into the closet, it becomes a place where you won’t overstay your welcome. For the benefit of the household, I placed the moth balls in my closet first. As I began to “install” the moth balls in other closets, my daughter and wife refused to accept the gift. The “moths will eat holes in your clothes” speech made no dent in their resolve. I am still committed to their removal, but I have no desire to be the only martyr in a war with only one battle front when many fronts are necessary for victory.
Based on a comment from my wife, “We had moths once growing up. They were in a fake plant.”, I have tried to open up multiple additional battle fronts without relying on moth balls/insecticides. The downside to this front is the resulting clutter. I have cleared out our cereal cabinet. Ancient opened boxes of cereal were quick casualties as this battle was fought. A box of miscellaneous celebration plates, napkins, and cups also shares this space. If the box should provide clues to it having a secondary purpose serving as a breeding ground for our unwelcome guest, we will make some contributions to our recycling bin. (or we may bypass this effort) With no success, I have been tapping the pots holding the few fake plants we have in the house. They are not quick to give up their secrets.
Until the moths start swarming, we are going to be free of the moth ball smell. If we start seeing holes in our clothing (this would not include t-shirts with holes under the arms), then we can open up new battle fronts. The results of this adventure won’t be any type of generational plague. It won’t be be physical scars we are unable to somehow hide. It is going to be the girls some day telling their kids an over-dramatized story, “My favorite sweater growing up was eaten by moths. The moths came into the house through an upstairs window. They ate only a few items upstairs. In our room, they ate nearly everything. They threw our clothes on the floor after taking little bites out of so many of my nicest things.”