Let’s face it, if you have birds, you have a good chance of having pests come to visit. One of my problems happens once a year when small children dressed in odd clothing go door to door in the neighborhood, and want to come in to see all the birds. Luckily, they have adults with them who keep them from staying too long.
The same cannot be said of seed moths, also known as pantry moths and millers. These wee insects rarely dress up, and stay forever when they move in. The very best way to control them is to put all seed into a freezer for a couple days before giving it to your birds. The insects do no harm to the birds, but they are uber annoying to people. If you bring seed in that has the varmints, you will soon have a huge problem.
When I had many more finches than I do now, I used seed hoppers to make sure no one went hungry. But the moths got into the seed, and spun webbing for their larvae and that clogged the hoppers so the seed didn’t move down to the birds. We finally had to dispense with the seed hoppers, for the most part, and once a week run the seed in the hoppers through a strainer. What a mess! This page shows the life cycle of the moths and has good information about them. http://www.pantrymothtrap.com/pantry-moths.html
We did use traps to get rid of the moths. We continue to use the traps, glass ones like these: http://www.treehelp.com/glass-pantry-moth-trap-w-lure/ They work well if you keep on top of cleaning out the dead moths and replacing the soapy water that goes in the bottom. The pheromone lure lasts a very long time. But it is rather difficult to find them when you do need to replace them.
An odd thing about moths is how much they like to go swimming. They can’t swim, and apparently no one told them that. So our parrots that have open dish waterers end up with moth soup by the end of the day. If I try to be sneaky and leave a bowl of water out for the moths to swim in, they know something is up. This trick never works.
We ended up with some bad dove seed one time. We were amazed to open the storage bin and see the seed turned into a lot of dust. At the bottom of the bin a thriving colony of wee beetles looked at us in astonishment. Seems we were invading their space. We dumped the whole bin-full in the trash, but some of the beetles managed to get out and colonize our bathroom shower. They climb up a utility rack pole in the corner, and get washed down the drain daily when showers occur. Not sure if we have the same beetles every day, or if they are new ones who are doomed to repeat their own history.
Checking on the Net, Uncle Google thinks we have rice weevils, and the only way to get rid of them is to burn the house down. http://www.getridofthings.com/pests/beetles/get-rid-of-weevils/ Or clean it really good top to bottom and once more with feeling. I’ll get the matches.
Actually, bay leaf, cloves, and matches are noted as good weevil deterrents. I’ll let you know how that works out.
The cleaning thing I know we have to get in process, because we also have mice. We have them in the walls, we have the traditional arch shaped mouse holes in the baseboard, and we have the nervy buggers who sit in the bottom of a bird cage staring at us. Once they are sure we see them, they scamper away.
They moved in shortly after the neighbors chopped down the palm tree which had been the nesting site for a family of barn owls. We would hear them screeching at night, an unusual sound but not overly disturbing. Mike and I always shared a smile when we heard them. But once they no longer came to the area to nest, and to eat all the rodents, we began to have gophers and mice.
We have had cats, always. The oldest two slowed down and couldn’t keep up. Sadly we parted with them within a few months of each other. Our current cat is fairly young and a great hunter. But we need to have her inside to really take care of the problem, and that’s not possible at this time.
This site has 15 pretty good ideas for getting rid of mice without poisons or toxic stuff. http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Rid-of-Mice-Naturally Some of the suggestions, however, just aren’t useful for us. I do want to try the steel wool in the openings, and I’ve tried peppermint oil but it diminishes in potency in a few days. Cat litter has possibilities, it can’t smell any worse than the smell of the mice.
Oh, and while putting up a barn owl box would be a dream come true for me, Mike is concerned for the birds if we did that. And it’s not our house, we only rent, and a whole list of other reasons we can’t. But I’ll let you know if the other things work. Let me know of any solutions to these pests with which you have had success. Meanwhile, here’s an owl cam to keep you entertained.