I spy a pantry moth staring at me from the ceiling of the cereal cabinet, and I erupt. “This can’t be happening! I did EVERYTHING! By the effing book!” I pound the counter until I catch the worried look on my husband’s face.
I lost four (or maybe ten) days last week, after my daughter insisted that something be done about the pantry moth invasion that I’d been ignoring. I rolled up my sleeves and emptied every cabinet containing food (or signs of moth activity). I tossed all the infested foodstuffs, marching them all the way out to the outdoor bin, far from the house—fiercely resisting the urge to compost any of it.
All questionable foods went into the freezer for at least the recommended three days (most are still there). I scrubbed every nook and cranny (with earth-friendly cleaners!). I removed every shelf and washed all six sides, then stacked them neatly in the clean room for the duration of the blitz. I even ferreted out that single, infested pistachio nut which had fallen into the drawer stuffed full of bags.
I put moth traps into the empty cabinets and in a defensive line surrounding the few remaining jars and cans sitting in the clean room. I waited a couple of days, checking the traps every few hours. I sprayed moth-repelling essential oils like some haunted house fog machine. After three days without a single moth sighting, I re-inspected the foodstuffs before putting them back into the cabinets.
How can there be a pantry moth anywhere in this kitchen???
There’s a message here for me, and I am determined to get it so this nightmare can end. I consider all possibilities, no notion too crazy to entertain (as usual).
This bug is mocking me and my beliefs that we can peaceably co-exist. Nature is ‘kill-or-be-killed,’ and I need to stop romanticizing it.
Or maybe this bug is here to teach me about resilience, finding ways to survive when the environment changes. Pay attention and learn to adapt to eco-upheavals.
Or maybe it’s just a moth, and I’m reading waaaay too much into this.
I never can chicken plucking tell.