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Old 06-22-2021, 12:25 PM   #1
Ria P
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Default Flummoxed by the pantry moth

I've seen the odd indian pantry moth ever since Serendipity's Pickle's nest got invaded by them.
I'm not a cook or a baker so wasn't worried about the kitchen and never saw one near the hamsters.....until today.

I saw a young one flying in and out of Betsy's cage so ruffled the substrate and saw an adult one crawling around. I'm not spooked by insects but object to squatters.

I quickly set up a spare cage with washable furnishings and an inadequate amount of new substrate to be able to keep an eye on things for a while then moved poor Betsy over.

Took her cage outside, removed the contents to soak, scrub and freeze then started looking for the moths and their eggs. I found Nothing. Ok my eyesight isn't great so i got the magnifying glass but still couldn't see anything that crawled in the substrate.

Did i really upset Betsy for nothing? Where are the moths and the larvea? I'm 100% sure that i saw what i say i saw. I even found the adult moth on the ceiling later. Of course, now i feel really bad for moving Betsy out of her comfy home and into a plasticy set up. Poor little Betsy.

Not sure what to do now. Does freezing wooden items actually kill moths eggs should there be any?
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Old 06-22-2021, 01:05 PM   #2
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Default Re: Flummoxed by the pantry moth

I seem to be more upset by Betsy's temporary set up than Betsy herself who is busy munching and foraging.
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Old 06-22-2021, 01:50 PM   #3
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Default Re: Flummoxed by the pantry moth

They lay eggs in the dry food, and I think also on the ceilings.

Freezing probably doesn't kill the eggs but I think it's usually enough to just keep all dry food clipped shut and in glass jars or tins (they can eat through plastic bags), replace a hamster's hoard with food from a new bag, kill the larvae and moths as you see them, and maybe get some sticky traps. When I had an infestation this worked and I never had to clean the cages out completely.
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Old 06-22-2021, 02:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: Flummoxed by the pantry moth

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Originally Posted by sushi_78 View Post
They lay eggs in the dry food, and I think also on the ceilings.

Freezing probably doesn't kill the eggs but I think it's usually enough to just keep all dry food clipped shut and in glass jars or tins (they can eat through plastic bags), replace a hamster's hoard with food from a new bag, kill the larvae and moths as you see them, and maybe get some sticky traps. When I had an infestation this worked and I never had to clean the cages out completely.
I've always kept their food in glass jars with very secure tops and put up sticky traps but never trapped any. I kill the moths as i see them but there's only one now and again. What puzzles me is that i couldn't find any larvea even though i saw a young moth flying in and out Betsy's cage and saw an adult moth in her cage. I checked the substrate before chucking it out which may not even have been necessary.
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Old 06-23-2021, 07:04 PM   #5
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Default Re: Flummoxed by the pantry moth

It sounds like you caught it in time. The eggs are too small to see - microscopic. You sometimes see a bit of webbing stuff. First time this happened to me I had no larvae or webbing but the cage was crawling with hatched out moths under the substrate!

I think you've done the right thing moving her and cleaning everything because the eggs can hatch out - they can lay them on anything in the cage and you can't see them.

Yes freezing for a week kills moth eggs. I'd freeze any hamster food, wood items or anything else that can't be washed. Just fairy liquid/soapy water is fine for plastic and ceramic - washes anything off - or white vinegar kills them too.

I think you've done the right thing or you could have found quite a few on the ceiling! When we had our big infestation I only ever saw a few at a time but they just kept coming! However many you killed - because then they start laying eggs on the ceiling and curtains! Ugh

After that first time I freeze all hamster food for a week. Then store it in lock and lock boxes (apparently the only containers that are truly airtight!) - belt and braces. Never had a problem after that until ..........recently - I must have missed freezing some chew sticks or something.

It is the food they come in originally. The eggs can be there dormant no problem - until nice warm weather comes along! Then they hatch out.
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Old 06-25-2021, 01:35 PM   #6
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Default Re: Flummoxed by the pantry moth

Did you get rid of all yours the second time round, Serendipity? Thank you for the info.

The freezer is full of Betsy's stuff at the moment. I could do with a separate freezer just for the hamsters!
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Old 06-25-2021, 07:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: Flummoxed by the pantry moth

Yes by whipping the cage outside as soon as I saw two or three. Had to do a full cage clean and throw away all food, chews etc that were in the cage. It's not great for the hamster but you can manage to put them back in the same cage the same day. It's time consuming though! They soon get over a full cage clean. I was advised by vet to do a deep clean of the cage itself and use Beaphar.
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Old 06-26-2021, 12:42 AM   #8
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Default Re: Flummoxed by the pantry moth

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Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
Yes by whipping the cage outside as soon as I saw two or three. Had to do a full cage clean and throw away all food, chews etc that were in the cage. It's not great for the hamster but you can manage to put them back in the same cage the same day. It's time consuming though! They soon get over a full cage clean. I was advised by vet to do a deep clean of the cage itself and use Beaphar.
Betsy is fine in the Grosvenor and haven't noticed any stress behaviours so i'll leave her in there till her HH is ready.

Do the bugs live mainly in the substrate then?

I'm just wondering because you say the hamster can go back in the cage the same day but their wooden stuff needs freezing for a week.

I haven't done substrate changes in months and some of the cages started to smell a bit like old socks so thought that now is a good time. Have done Clarissa's, Ozzy's and Monty's as well but not found anything that flies or crawls.
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Old 06-26-2021, 12:44 AM   #9
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Default Re: Flummoxed by the pantry moth

This is a thing? Gosh! I always have a few moths in my room from when I open my window to stop it being so stuffy in my room now since, I have to leave my door shut due to my two cats to keep them away from my ham. I had the odd suspicion a moth may be able to do something so always kept a close eye out for moths near my hams enclosure but really thought mostly they were not a threat!
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Old 06-26-2021, 12:59 AM   #10
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Default Re: Flummoxed by the pantry moth

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Originally Posted by Imogen View Post
This is a thing? Gosh! I always have a few moths in my room from when I open my window to stop it being so stuffy in my room now since, I have to leave my door shut due to my two cats to keep them away from my ham. I had the odd suspicion a moth may be able to do something so always kept a close eye out for moths near my hams enclosure but really thought mostly they were not a threat!
The moths coming in from the window aren't the ones we are talking about here.

This one is the indian pantry moth that lives in food like flour, grains, cereals etc and can cause havoc in the pantry or kitchen hence the name. They are not harmful to hamsters or humans but its something to watch out for when you see one flying in and out of a hamster cage because there could be more.
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