Don't try spraying moths in pantry

GARDEN Q&A

January 06, 2007|By Jon Traunfeld and Ellen Nibali | Jon Traunfeld and Ellen Nibali,Special to The Sun

Moths are flying in my house, and I'm worried about my woolens and rugs. How do I get rid of them?

They're probably not clothes moths, which are tiny and rarely glimpsed. Indian meal moths, however, are common year-round. This pantry pest has a faint dark band across its dusty wings. It originates in pasta, spices, cereals and -- take note this time of year -- bird seed, among other sources. Call us or read our online publication, Pantry Pests, for simple measures you can follow to eradicate the moths. Spraying chemicals is unnecessary and dangerous.

A big branch is rubbing against our roof. Do I have to wait until spring to cut it off?

Not at all. A stray branch here or there can be removed anytime of the year. Because tree leaves have fallen, winter is actually a good time to check to see whether branches contact roofs or siding and warrant removal.

With harsh weather ahead and furry critters always on the lookout for entrances to a nice warm attic, the last thing you want is a hole in your roof.

Checklist

Be sure to remove all the tinsel, lights and ornaments from your Christmas tree and wreaths before recycling them. This is especially important if you plan to leave your tree in the woods to provide wildlife habitat.

Allow potting soil to dry out before watering your houseplants. Over-watering is a major cause of houseplant problems during the winter months.

Jon Traunfeld, regional specialist, and Ellen Nibali, horticulture consultant, work at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, which offers Maryland residents free gardening information. Call the center's "hotline" at 800-342-2507 (8 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday-Friday) or e-mail plant and pest questions through the Send a Question feature at hgic.umd.edu.

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