Our first apartment was a 14×20 studio in Boston that didn’t even have a private bath or kitchen. It wasn’t ideal, but it was what we could afford. When we moved out, there were many, many things we were glad to leave behind, but among the top things that I would never miss were the moths. I spotted the first one moments after walking in the door at night for the first time, and we would routinely catch 5-10 a night for the entire time that we lived there. The landlord and landlady lived in the main part of the old house, and rented out rooms to help pay their land taxes. They were on the high end of the eighties, and she couldn’t see very well. Once, she was cleaning out her kitchen and gave us a bag of flour that she wasn’t going to use. It’s just as well that she didn’t, because it was old enough that the paper was crackly, and it was full of moth larvae. All of our food had to be kept in hermetically sealed glass and hard plastic, and they still found their way in. It was an endless, hopeless battle, and it’s one that I never want to fight again.

Unfortunately, I think we may yet again have an apartment that comes with moths. We noticed a couple here and there when we first moved in, spaced a week or so apart. They were promptly despatched, and we told ourselves that it might have just been one or two. But they’ve continued to appear, just one or two once in a while, but enough that there must be a population established somewhere in the house. We didn’t have them in the other apartment, so I think they must have been here before we arrived. The house was empty for about 6 mos before we moved in due to the landlord’s health problems, and so whatever population there is is good at surviving in an empty house, without the support of human food. This, of course, makes it harder to starve them out, as they are perfectly capable of living here without us.

About a month and a half ago, I had definitely decided that there were moths living in the house, and that these weren’t just occasional wanderers from outside. (Really, we knew this from the second moth, but we managed to kid ourselves for a while.) We took the entire kitchen apart, put almost everything in glass, and went through every last bit of grain-based food. Nothing.

We went through the stash, moved it all to plastic bins. Nothing.

We checked the sweaters, the coats, everything that contained wool in the closets. Nothing.

My fabric stash was sorted and thoroughly checked. Nothing.

And yet, the moths keep coming. We’re even seeing more of them, unless I’m much mistaken. And I have no idea where they are. And it’s making me crazy. Somewhere in this house, there is a small army of larvae, crunching their way happily through something or other, waiting to sprout wings and invade my living space. But I can’t find them. I have looked everywhere I can think of. Cat food bags, litter, stored food, kitchen, fabric, closets, stash. Everywhere. And I can’t find a single sign. Until the lights go off at night, and a small white thing flutters just out of sight at the edge of the lamplight, looking for somewhere to lay a new clutch of eggs. I really hate being bugged.