microwaving bird seed to kill meal moths


As consumers we want a product that will meet the needs of our birds. WHY aren’t the distributors forced to deal with this problem? There should be warnings on the bags. It is crazy—we buy the birdseed and then we have to fight the moths that come with the seed. I have a collection of vintage sequin jackets and dresses. Where do you think I have the most moths—can’t use any sprays around sequins. I have started putting the new bags of seed in the microwave for 15 minutes. I then keep the seed in a ziploc bag. I can’t tell if has helped because I still have a house full of the older ones. I can tell you one thing this sure pisses me off.

First and foremost, microwaving bird seed is a bad idea. The microwave process will “cook” the seed. This can make it undigestible to birds and in some cases make the seed hazardous for them to ingest. Though most cooked seed will be passed through their digestive track with little or no injury, they will not be able to extract any nutritional value from the feed which in turn will indirectly hurt them because they’ll be essentially eating “useless” food. For these reasons it’s strongly suggested you refrain from “cooking” your bird seed before serving it.

Second, you cannot blame the bird seed companies for packing up insects with their product (well, you can but this frustration would be misdirected). I say this for a few reasons. The first is that unlike food for human consumption, bird seed has a much lower standard. This lower standard allows for insects to be included. And since the federal government sets the standard, these companies are merely following the rules. So if you want the quality of their product to improve, you’ll have to change the guidelines they follow and these are controlled by the government. Get the government to increase the standard and you’ll get cleaner seed.

Third, remember that birds in fact thrive on insects so serving them infested seed is actually good for your birds.

Lastly, if you don’t want to keep infested seed in your home, there are two things you can do which will easily control the problem. The first is to store your seed in the freezer. This will shut down the growth of any included eggs or pupae that your seed contains. For people who keep small amounts of seed in the house, this is a practical and easy solution. But if you’re like me, you’d have to buy a separate freezer for just your bird seed so instead I store my seed in a plastic bin that has a tight cover. I actually keep 3-4 of these seed bigs which are basically nothing more than a large plastic tupperware container. Each container is about the size of a 100 quart cooler and can hold several 50 lb bags of seed comfortably.

I store all my wild bird seed, cracked corn (deer food) and lawn seed in these bins and they work great. In each container I keep a single INSECT STRIP which keeps the meal moths (and all other insects) under control. Basically the active ingredient in the strip is a biodegradable, slow releasing fumigant which works in small confined areas like a container or closet. It does not leave a residual or contaminate the food because once it’s exposed to the sunlight or even just the open air, the active breaks down within minutes and is gone. These same Insect Strips can be hung in any closet where you’re storing clothing or other fabric you want to protect from damaging insects.

Here are direct links to the information and products listed above:

Insect Strip:  http://www.bugspraycart.com/repellents/fumigant/hotshot-no-pest-strip

Meal Moth Control:  http://www.indianmealmoths.com/meal-moth-control.html

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