moths

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Hey Jonathan,

We are worm breeders and currently have an infestation of moths. We are trying to resolve this problem but are taking care of it pretty slow. I wonder if you have ever dealt with this type of problem and if there is any solution without having to bomb our rooms.

We would like to keeep our bins which are filled with wheat bran and worms without having to do a room change. Is this possible?

Please let me know if there is anything we can do without moving everything?

This is a tough one. On one hand I know you’re trying to avoid the preparation work (in this case moving the worms and food) to another location while the infested room is treated. No doubt this would most likely be both time consuming and laborious to say the least. But in order to answer, I’ll need more information so for now, I’ll lay out some scenario’s which might provide enough of an understanding of the real “problem” so you can make a decision on how to best deal with the current problem as well as prevent future infestations.

In situations where animals are being farmed, there can be unique problems associated with any insect infestation that ensues. In this case, I’m fairly certain the meal moths are a direct result of all the wheat bran you keep. That means the wheat bran is what must be addressed and to what degree you want to regulate the moths will determine to what degree you will want to “pre treat” the bran. Let me further explain.

Lets say you’re okay with having infested bran; whether it has insects while still in sealed bags or when being dispersed as food for your worms. If that’s true, then nothing special will be needed to treat the bran prior to feeding your moths. That being said, if you simply store the bran in a freezer all the time, the amount of activity you note should be reduced. This is because you’ll be effectively “stalling” the development of any eggs and larvae that might be arriving in the bran when you either get it or store it. But it’s important to understand just freezing the bran won’t solve any problem. Bran that’s brought out into the open can harbor eggs and pupae which won’t die in the freezer so even if you go this route, I expect there will still be an ongoing problem to some degree. Maybe this will acceptable, maybe not. For now, lets say it’s not and you want to go to the next level of control.

The next level would involve keeping the bran elsewhere so you’ll be able to treat it prior to feeding it to the worms. For this option, you could forego having to freeze the bran all the time because you’ll be keeping the storage room treated. The advantage of this approach would be that you’ll actively be controlling any insects which means the bran being distributed to the worms won’t be infested. By doing so, there is a much less likelihood of the worm keeping rooms and bins getting infested. To accomplish this, you could use an aerosol or a fumigation type product. The easiest aerosol to employ would be the PURGE FLYING INSECT KILLER along with an AEROSOL DISPENSING MACHINE. This would handle up to 5000 cubic feet no problem and cans should last about a month depending on how often you configure the machines to release product. In my experience, start with once an hour and increase releases as needed.

A second option would be to install some INSECT STRIPS in the storage room with the bran. They’ll act the same way and can treat about 1200 cubic feet. That’s the equivalent of a room that measures 10’x13′ with an 8′ high ceiling.

In case you’re wondering; both treatments listed above do not provide any kind of residual. This means once the bran is removed and set out in an untreated room, it will loose any of the actives that were in the storage room and in doing so can be used as food safely for your worms.

Now the room with the worms is a different story. In my experience, keeping the breeding bin rooms free of insects can be tricky. In some cases, if the moths are already pupating “out of the soil bins”, a good cleaning will many times remove most of the cocoons and this can help quite a bit. Next, install both regular MEAL MOTH TRAPS along with the SUPPRESSION MOTH TRAPS. You’ll need both since the regular traps only catch males. This alone might do the job but you won’t know until you get traps installed and see what kind of population reduction you experience. At that point only you can make the call as to whether or not the amount of control you’re having is adequate. In some cases I’ve seen the use of traps do a great job by themselves and were the only means of “control” needed. But I’ve also seen extreme cases that have needed more work.

Having bred worms (in a much smaller scale I’m sure), I had to deal with several different insect infestations over the years. In once instance I had meal moths. They were so bad (feeding on the oat bran I was using in the worm bins) that the soil I kept the worms in was infested. So if you believe your the worm bin soil is infested too, you may have to do some soil treatments. What I did that was safe for the worms was to first remove as many worms as I could from my soil worm bins. Next I mixed up some INSECTICIDAL SOAP with water in a bucket and then took the bins outside in my yard. Next I poured the finished solution through the soil. No doubt this “purged” the soil of all the living insects. This treatment is organic and won’t last but a few hours. The next day I was able to use the soil again for my worms without putting them in any danger of any active that might be hanging around; Insecticidal Soap has no residual so it was essentially gone by the time I reused my soil.

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

Purge: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/aerosol/purge-iii-6-25-oz

Aerosol Machine:  http://www.bugspraycart.com/equipment/foggers/aerosol-dispenser-1000

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

Meal Moth Traps:  http://www.bugspraycart.com/traps/pheromone-and-food/meal-moth-2-pk

Suppression Traps:  http://www.bugspraycart.com/traps/pheromone-and-food/meal-moth-suppression-kit-5-pk

Insecticidal Soap:  http://www.bugspraycart.com/organic/liquid/insecticidal-soap

Give us a call if you need more help. Our toll free is 1-800-877-7290 and we’re open 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM Mon-Thur; 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM Friday and 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM Saturday, Eastern Standard Time.

Jonathan
Customer Care

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