The Moth, The Art and Craft of Storytelling

Fruit Moth in the House: Rescue


Moth Storytellers
Denise Scheuermann

Denise works at a Hospital Lab in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Moth Stories
In His Own Skin

Chris Gilbert is prepared to fight for his kindergartner.

Moth Stories
Grandmothers: Malpa and Myrtle

Aubrey Edwards has her creativity nourished by two grandmothers.

Moth Stories
To Catch a Teef

Colin Channer is a kid in Jamaica with a deep love for comic books.

The Moth Radio Hour
The Moth Holiday Special 2016: Unexpected Gifts of December

A special Holiday Hour from The Moth. The unexpected gifts of December: holiday customs, brand new traditions, flying cows, fruit, luminaries and a magical forest. Hosted by The Moth’s Executive Producer, Sarah Austin Jenness. The Moth Radio Hour is produced by The Moth and Jay Allison of Atlantic Public Media.

Adam Ruben is at a loss when it comes to buying Christmas gifts.
Pierre Epstein is a little boy tracking the progress of his Uncle Igor’s escape from Nazi-occupied France.
Ed McCarthy breaks into the house he grew up in to rescue a precious box of Christmas decorations.
Katie Fales grandfather is a rancher who was to rescue a bunch of stranded steer.
Catherine McCarthy finally admits she’s homesick during Christmas in Thailand.
David Frieberg and his son are amazed by an accidental forest during a blizzard in NYC.
Denise Scheurmann has a terminally ill father but her neighbors don’t forget to light her Christmas luminaries.

Moth Storytellers
Danusia Trevino

Danusia Trevino is an actress and a storyteller. She emigrated from Poland and escaped Martial Law by one month. She toured the United States and Europe with the New York City band FUR. As an actress, her first stage performance was at the Pyramid Club with the Black Lips Performance Cult and Anohni. Since then she has appeared in theater (PS122, SITI Company, LaMaMa, HBPF, 59E59st, Theater Row), film (Acts of Worship, Where is Joel Baum, Metamorphosis and recently premiered at Wooster Group’s Performing Garage, Xenophilia) and webseries (The Louise Log). Danusia has taken her one-woman show, Wonder Bread, to the fringe festival in Edinburgh and various New York venues including The Players Club, where she was asked to perform for Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara during a gala honoring their work. She was a part of the New York literary salon “Women of Letters” at Joe’s Pub and appeared at Cornelia Street Cafe’s, Liar’s Show. Danusia is currently in rehearsals with the Wooster Group. A Moth GrandSLAM winner, she lives with her husband Xavier in Harlem.

Moth Storytellers
Charles Upshaw

Charles Upshaw is a good looking black man in a wheelchair who is frequently confused with Denzel Washington. He is a semi-retired psychologist who just can’t seem to quit for good. He was born in Georgia, raised in Oklahoma and Colorado, but has lived in Mid-Michigan for 45 years, which makes this home. Charles attended a small Baptist liberal arts school in Kansas and came to MSU for graduate school. He is a late comer to The Moth, having been introduced to the radio show by a work colleague. Although he has enjoyed telling stories for years, his first Moth story was eight months ago. He is married with two adult children.

Moth Storytellers
Chris Turgeon

Chris Turgeon is a native of New Orleans. He lives in the Holy Cross neighborhood of the Lower Ninth Ward. He’s had an interesting career working his way through college as a dining room captain at Commanders Palace, later becoming an account executive and he was a high school English teacher who also coached football and powerlifting.

Moth Storytellers
Morley McBride

Morley is a design strategist, consultant, and facilitator who helps organizations craft more human-centered user experiences. She lives in Colorado, spends a lot of time outdoors and reports that she has her diet coke dependency mostly under control.

Moth Stories
Do You Buy What I Buy?

Adam Ruben is at a loss when it comes to buying Christmas gifts.

Moth Stories
Christmas 1940

Pierre Epstein is a little boy tracking the progress of his Uncle Igor’s escape from Nazi-occupied France.

Moth Stories
Family Ornaments

Ed McCarthy breaks into the house he grew up in to rescue a precious box of Christmas decorations.

Moth Stories
Modern Day Ranching

Katie Fales grandfather is a rancher who was to rescue a bunch of stranded steer.

Moth Stories
Homesick for the Holidays

Catherine McCarthy finally admits she’s homesick during Christmas in Thailand.

Moth Stories
Gabriel’s Forest

David Frieberg and his son are amazed by an accidental forest during a blizzard in NYC.

Moth Stories

Denise Scheurmann has a terminally ill father but her neighbors don’t forget to light her Christmas luminaries.

Moth Storytellers
Paul Munafo

Paul Munafo lives on Martha’s Vineyard, where he is an actor and a singer, and performs in plays and musicals for adults and children. He is a member of the West Tisbury Congregational Church choir, and is a skilled woodworker and a general contractor.

Moth Storytellers
Salman Ahmad

Salman Ahmad is a Pakistani rock star whose band Junoon has sold over 25 million albums. A medical doctor by training, Salman currently travels the globe as a Rotary international Goodwill Ambassador, helping to eradicate Polio from the planet. He was a featured performer at the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, alongside musical superstars such as Alicia Keys, Melissa Etheridge and Annie Lennox. He also teaches a course on Muslim music and poetry at the City University of New York’s Queens College campus. Salman spends his free time moving between Pakistan and Rockland County, New York, with his wife Samina and their three sons.

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How to Kill Peach Fruit Moths

Oriental fruit moths can destroy your peach crop.

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The oriental fruit moth (Grapholita molesta) is the No. 1 peach crop pest. Peach trees (Prunus persica) grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9. The small, grayish moths which infest them are seen flying mostly at dawn and dusk, and can produce five generations of pests within a single season. The larvae overwinter in cocoons spun in trees or on the ground, and bore into fruit in spring, leaving ugly brown tunnels through peach fruit. If you find 10 or more moths in a pheromone trap, this indicates an infestation. If infestations occur annually, begin pesticide treatment in early spring to prevent large populations of fruit moths.

Place a pheromone trap about 6 to 8 feet above the ground, and 1 to 3 feet inside the tree canopy, in the shade. Check it twice a week until you find the first moth. Hang the pheromone trap in your tree by mid-February to detect the emergence of the first moths.

Mix 2 ounces of 2.5 percent permethrin solution insecticide in a garden sprayer with 1 gallon of water. Spray the tree leaves until they are saturated and dripping, on both the top and bottoms of the leaves. Wash your hands immediately after using this chemical. Spray the trees immediately when you find the first moth in the trap.

Spray again in six to eight weeks if you continue to find moths in the trap. Monitor the pheromone trap throughout the season to determine the effectiveness of the treatment. Check the peach tree for shoot strike, an effect of oriental fruit moths that causes leaf shoots to turn brown and die.

Moth Infestations

What Attracts Moths to Homes?

The two main types of moths that infest homes are webbing and casemaking clothes moths along with pantry moths. Many people wonder what brings these pests indoors.

Common knowledge holds that light attracts moths, and this is true in many cases. Moths often gather around outdoor lighting or windows at nighttime, where they may move inside through small cracks or when doors and windows are opened.

However, light does not account for all moth infestations. Once moths get inside, generally lit areas appeal to pantry moths, but clothes moths shy away from light. Both species also deposit their eggs in dark, secluded areas. Knowing what attracts moths in terms of diet and habitat can help homeowners locate them before damage becomes severe.

Clothes Moths

In closets, clothes moths attach themselves to fiber fabrics such as fur, wool and silk. Homeowners who notice clothing damage may be dealing with either the webbing or casemaking clothes moth species.

Webbing moths prefer woolen items, but may consume and damage other animal type products. They spin a mat or tube of silk webbing to hide them from view during the feeding process.

Casemaking clothes moths feed from inside cases they make from silk and fibers of the infested garment. Casemaking moths carry around and feed from the case as they move around feeding on the infested item. Both pests chew irregular holes in clothing and leave behind their fecal droppings.

Stored Food Moths

Pantry goods attract moth species that lay their eggs in stored grains and processed products. These pests often come into homes inside infested food packages.

Once inside, their eggs hatch into larvae that eat grains, dried nuts, cereals, and a variety of processed products. These pests contaminate food with feces, cocoons, and web-like material.

Moth Infestations

Knowing what attracts moths is the best way to help locate the source of infestations. Homeowners who find adult moths around kitchens can look for larvae inside stored food or hiding in cracks and crevices located within the pantry.

When larvae are found, inspect and remove any affected products to prevent the pests’ spread. Those who notice holes in clothing should check closets and storage chests for clothes moth activity.

Vacuuming to remove moth adults and larvae, dry cleaning or washing and drying infested clothes, avoid over-crowding closets and routinely inspecting clothes for damage are a few of the preferred methods to help control fabric pests.

For pantry pest prevention, use a vacuum inside the pantry to keep things clean. Store products in sealed containers and practice “first in-first out” procedures to help ensure that old, out of date products are not allowed to accumulate.

Active infestations are tough to handle alone, so contact Orkin for effective removal.

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies and Gnats Fast

If you see small flies in your kitchen or around your indoor plants, they’re probably fruit flies or gnats.

Fruit flies and gnats are small fly species, with many similarities as well as unique traits. Fruit flies are mostly attracted to vegetables and fruits. Gnats are generally seen near moist soil or your compost pile. Fungus gnats can be found near indoor plants.

These small flies are common during the summer season in homes, restaurants, markets and anywhere that food is allowed to rot and ferment.

Fruit flies can shorten the life of your expensive, organic fruits and vegetables, while gnat infestation can damage both ornamental and edible plants.

An outbreak of fruit flies or gnats can be very annoying to deal with. Many people use toxic insecticides, but they can be harmful to your health. Instead, try some natural remedies to get rid of them.

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Here are the top 10 ways to get rid of fruit flies and gnats fast.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

A popular and effective home remedy to get rid of fruit flies as well as gnats is apple cider vinegar. They are attracted to its smell and quickly get trapped in it.

  1. Pour apple cider vinegar into a Mason jar or similar container. To release more of its smell, you can heat the apple cider vinegar and then use it.
  2. Add a few drops of liquid dish soap and stir it well. It will help kill the flies.
  3. Cover the mouth of the jar with plastic wrap.
  4. Poke the plastic with a fork or toothpick to make holes for the flies to enter the jar.
  5. Place the jar where the gnats or fruit flies are swarming.
  6. When the jar fills up with dead flies, dump the contents, wash and refill it.

If you do not have apple cider vinegar, simply use white vinegar.

2. Red Wine

As fruit flies love the smell of red wine, you can use it to trap them. Red wine will surely get the flies intoxicated!

  1. Mix ½ cup of red wine and 1½ cups of water.
  2. Pour the solution into a small container.
  3. Wrap the top of the container tightly with plastic, then punch a few holes in it.
  4. Put the container where you see the most flies.
  5. The flies or gnats will be drawn to the smell and they’ll drown in the mixture as soon as they make contact.
  6. When the jar fills up with dead flies, dump the contents and clean the container with warm soapy water.

You can even leave a little bit of red wine in its original bottle and let it sit out.

3. Rotten or Overripe Fruit

Just like apple cider vinegar and red wine traps, you can use rotten or overripe fruit to make a fruit fly trap.

  1. Put several pieces of very ripe or rotting fruit in the bottom of a glass jar.
  2. Cover the mouth of the jar with plastic wrap and poke holes in it with a toothpick or fork.
  3. Place the jar where you see the most flies.
  4. After a few hours, you’ll see the jar is filled with flies. Submerge it in a bucket of warm soapy water for about 10 minutes so that the flies cannot fly back.
  5. Repeat as needed.

4. Lemongrass Essential Oil

You can use the strong-smelling lemongrass essential oil to keep both gnats and fruit flies at bay. This is intended to be used as a preventive measure, since the oil itself will not kill flies that are already present.

  1. Pour 2 cups of hot water in a clean spray bottle.
  2. Add 10 to 15 drops of lemongrass essential oil in it.
  3. Spray this solution around your kitchen counters, near your indoor plants and other places where you have noticed these flies the most.

This homemade spray also works to deter spiders and ants.

5. Lemon-Scented Liquid Dish Soap

A lemon-scented, soapy solution is another good option to keep your indoor plants free from gnats. The gnats will be attracted to the lemony smell and the soap will kill them.

  1. Mix 2 tablespoons of lemon-scented liquid dish soap in 4 cups of water.
  2. Transfer the solution to a spray bottle.
  3. Spray this soapy solution on the infested plant to kill the gnats.
  4. Finally, mist the leaves and stem of the plant with clean water to get rid of the soapy solution.

6. Milk, Sugar and Pepper

Another tried and tested homemade trap for fruits flies can be made with milk, sugar and pepper. The fruit flies will be attracted to the mixture and drown in it.

  1. In a saucepan, combine 2 cups of milk, 4 tablespoons of ground pepper and 8 tablespoons of raw sugar.
  2. Simmer the solution on low heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Pour the mixture into a shallow dish and place it where you see the most flies.
  4. When the dish is full of flies, dump out the contents and wash it.
  5. Repeat as needed.

7. Honey

To save gnat-infested houseplants, you can also use honey. The sweet smell will attract the gnats onto your trap, and its sticky texture will prevent them from escaping.

  1. Attach a toothpick to one side of a bright-colored index card.
  2. Smear the other side of the card with a thin layer of honey.
  3. Put the card into the soil of your infested houseplant.
  4. Throw away the card once it fills up with dead gnats and replace it with a new one.

8. Vegetable Oil

You can use vegetable oil to trap and kill gnats that you see coming from the drain in your kitchen sink.

  1. Pour about ¼ cup of vegetable oil into your drain, and rub some oil around the edge of the drain.
  2. Use tape to close the holes of the drain.
  3. Leave it overnight.
  4. Remove the tape the next morning. You will notice gnats stuck on it.
  5. Repeat for a few more days.

9. Bleach

If you are dealing with gnats around your kitchen or bathroom sink, bleach is a good option to try. However, if the gnats are breeding deep within the drainage system, bleach will not solve your problem.

  1. Remove everything from the sink.
  2. Put a cup of bleach in the sink.
  3. Wear eye and mouth protection and run very hot water.
  4. Allow the bleach to drain.

Note: Do not mix bleach with ammonia, as its toxic vapors can be harmful to your health.

10. Keep Your Kitchen Clean

To prevent fruit flies and gnats from entering your house, keep your kitchen clean.

  • Avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink, especially at night.
  • Keep any trash cans properly covered.
  • Do not keep bags of trash in the house overnight.
  • Wipe down the lid and surfaces of garbage containers with a disinfectant solution.
  • Keep your kitchen counter and dining area clean. Clean up food spills right away.
  • Do not allow moisture to accumulate on kitchen counters or other surfaces.
  • Keep food containers tightly sealed.
  • Clean newly purchased fruits and vegetables as soon as you get home. Keep them in the refrigerator.
  • Tightly close your bread bags and put cookies into a sealed cookie jar.
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Additional Tips

  • Discard stale water standing in your indoor plants or pots.
  • Toss old flowers and greenery from your vases.
  • Keep your kitchen sink’s drain clean to prevent food morsels from accumulating in it.
  • Seal all cracks in doors and windows.
  • If needed, buy a gnat trap to get rid of fruit flies and gnats.
  • If fruit flies and gnats have infested a large area, outside or inside, then fogging is the most practical option.
  • Don’t over-water houseplants, as the moist atmosphere will attract more gnats.
  • As gnats love moist places for breeding, keep damp corners in the kitchen and other areas of the house clean and dry.
  • Put nets, curtains or screens on the windows and doors.

Fruit Moth in the House: Rescue

Subject: Unidentified moth
Geographic location of the bug: Carrboro NC
Date: 08/22/2019
Time: 04:59 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hi all, love your website, and you always seem to find the answer! I found this rather bedraggled moth on a tree trunk. It was fairly large….like a Sphinx moth, but the head looks wrong for a Sphinx…and underwing of some sort? I couldn’t match it with any Sphinx that I knew.
How you want your letter signed: Mothra

Probably Clouded Underwing

Dear Mothra,
We didn’t have high hopes for providing you with a species name, though we had confidence that this is an Underwing in the genus
Catocala. We believe this BugGuide image of a Clouded Underwing, Catocala nebulosa, looks like it might be correct.

Related posts:

Walnut Underwing pays annual visit to WTB?

Subject: Walnut Underwing Perch
Geographic location of the bug: Mount Washington, California
Date: 08/16/2019
Time: 11:03 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Dearest Bugman,
It was lovely spending time with you during the almost full moon. Please enjoy this shot of you with a Walnut Underwing on your shoulder.
How you want your letter signed: Melanie on the Irish Chain

The Bugman with a Walnut Underwing

Dear Melanie,
We are so happy you were able to get a cellular telephone image of Daniel as he removed the Walnut Underwing back to the outdoors after it entered the house Monday night. After several minutes of eluding capture, luckily the moth alighted on Daniel’s shirt, and it could easily be walked outside.

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Underwing, we believe

Subject: Moth
Geographic location of the bug: Northern Indiana
Date: 08/14/2018
Time: 05:43 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: This guy has been on our garage door all day. I can’t seem to find him online or in our books.
How you want your letter signed: Bobbi

Underwing, we believe

Dear Bobbi,
We believe this is an Underwing Moth in the genus
Catocala, so named because they often have brightly colored underwings that are hidden when the moth is at rest, but when it flies, it flashes a color that causes a predator to search for a more brightly colored prey, but when the Underwing lands on a tree, it perfectly blends in with the bark.

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Large Yellow Underwing

Subject: Unidentified moth
Geographic location of the bug: Vancouver Island, BC
Date: 07/30/2018
Time: 04:15 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hello! Here is a picture of a moth that I found on my door a couple weeks ago. I recently became a moth enthusiast so I have difficulty IDing some of them, despite long internet searches and owning multiple moth books. What is this particular moth?
How you want your letter signed: Rachel

Large Yellow Underwing

Dear Rachel,
This looks to us like a Large Yellow Underwing,
Noctua pronuba, which is pictured on BugGuide. According to BugGuide: “hindwing yellow with black terminal band; forewing varies from light to dark brown to orangish to grayish, and from almost unmarked to boldly patterned; reniform spot large and either dark or barely visible; small dark patch along costa near apex nearly always present” and “Introduced from Europe to Nova Scotia in 1979, this species has since spread north to the Arctic Ocean, west to the Pacific, and south to the Gulf of Mexico.”

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Underwing Moth, but which species.

Subject: Catacola Verrilliana
Location: Louisa, Va
Date: 09/03/2017
Time: 12:31 PM EDT
We found two specimens of catacola verrilliana on our place in Louisa, Va. It seems that it’s an invasive species mainly found in the western part of the US. We have raised butterflies but have no experience with moths. One of the specimens is alive, so we were wondering what to feed it. Any help or info would be helpful. Thanks, George Tyler
Your Name: George Tyler

Dear George,
We are curious what caused you to identify your Underwing Moth in the genus
Catocala as Catocala verrilliana, a species we found pictured on BugGuide. According to BugGuide: “Lafontaine & Schmidt (2010) listed 101 species of the genus Catocala in America north of Mexico. Powell & Opler (2009) reported 110 species in all of North America.” In our opinion, many species are very difficult to distinguish from one another, and we would speculate that you more likely encountered a species known to range in your area. We browsed through all the species of Underwings posted to BugGuide, and we could not conclusively identify your individual. You can try feeding your Underwing overly ripe fruit like plums or peaches. If you break the skin, your Underwing will have an easier time feeding.

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