If you have birdseed, you have seen seed moths fluttering around your home. They like to stay near food sources and will usually be found in your bird room or kitchen. These little pests are very common and go by several names, including Seed Moth, Flour Moth, Pantry Pests (nick name really), and the Mediterranean flour moth.

The moths you see in your home are actually the last stage in the life cycle. The moths' main mission in life is to mate and lay eggs. These eggs will be laid in or near a good source of food for larvae that hatch out. Good sources of food include, you guessed, birdseed. They also like flour and grains so watch your pantry.

The eggs you'll probably never see because they are very tiny and usually well hidden away. The maggot like larvae that hatch out can be found from time to time in your home but if you only have a few in your home you may never encounter them. What you will run in to is the thick web the maggot's spin to protect them selves and their food source. These thick webs aren't unlike a spider's web only much smaller and more concentrated.

Eventually the fattened larvae will wander away from the food source and spin a cozy little cocoon and metamorphose in to the moth. Thus begins the life cycle again.

At no time in the life cycle do these pests become dangerous or a health risk to you or your birds, they are simply annoying and hard to get rid of completely. Every time you open a new bag of birdseed, you invite more in to your home.

What often starts off as just a few moths can become an infestation if you are not careful. In fact if I hadn't seen it happen in my own aviary I probably wouldn't have believed it. Yes I made the mistake of leaving a bag of extra peanuts open in my aviary. Then they were set aside and forgotten about for about a month. Within that time a few moths must have gotten in and laid their eggs. The larvae spent their days quietly gorging themselves on my parrots' peanuts. Finally they started coming out of the bag to look for a good spot to spin their cocoons. This is when I knew I had a problem.

I started seeing the larvae crawling on the walls. Just a few here and a few there, then a few became 10 and more. I quickly found the source of the larvae, grabbed the bag of half eaten peanuts and took it outside. My backyard wildlife had a feast that night. I spent the next week slowly catching up and killing the few stragglers that had missed. I also rechecked every bag of seed in my aviary to insure that none others had been left open and were infested, thankfully none were. I used Flour Moth traps to catch up the rest of the moths still flying around the aviary. I admit I was surprised at just how well the moth traps did work. As soon as I'd open a trap the male moths came right to it and were stuck! I now keep a trap open in the aviary at all times and the seed moth problem isn't a problem anymore. :)

Another method for controlling the moth population in your seed is to simply freeze the bag of seed for 1-2 days before opening it. Of course if you buy seed in bulk as I do itís not always possible to freeze the large 25lb bags.

The moral of the story here is, keep your food sealed, watch for larvae webs and never underestimate the breeding potential of just a few moths.