Attack of the pantry moths

"Quinoa," I muttered.

"Have you looked in your containers to see if you have webs?"

"Webs" is another word that should never be mentioned in relation to food, and, no, that had not occurred to me.

"You probably don't want to eat the food once it's started producing moths and you've got all those little webs in there," she said. "Nobody wants to eat rice with little webs in it. Or with larvae floating around."

Who knew that insect pathologists were such masters of understatement?

Solter said that she has learned, after her own sad experience with pantry moths, to put grains in the freezer before putting them into the cupboard. Freezing kills the moth eggs.

I still hadn't given up on the idea that my moths had an upside, that their appearance was a sign of new warmth and life resurrected, aka spring.

Sorry, Solter said. Pantry moths may be seasonal in the wild, but in the toasty climes of the modern home, they reproduce year-round.

I suppose that's no surprise. We don't need Google to know that in Chicago, in March, there's no such thing as spring.

mschmich@tribune.com

CHICAGO

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