How to Deal With the Dreaded Pantry Moth

Pantry moths must be loving 2020, especially the early days of the pandemic, when panicked hoards (ourselves included) ran to Costco to stockpile toilet paper, flour and Tostitos.

While I’ve probably blogged about pantry moths more times than just about anything else, we just had another outbreak and I thought I’d use this post writing exercise as an excuse to re-read UC Davis’ Integrated Pest Management pantry moths fact sheet.

According to geniuses at UC Davis, management is simple and pesticide-free. All your food needs to go into jars with tight fitting lids. No shoving rubber-banded packages of couscous in the back of the shelf. If you have space in your freezer you can put dry goods in there and kill any larvae. Avoid adding new food to old food, if possible.

If you’ve got an outbreak UC Davis suggests pulling everything out and inspecting what you’ve got for the telltale signs of infestation: larvae or webbing. Get our you vacuum and suck out the larvae that hide in cracks in your cabinets. These bugs can survive for months without food. Wash cabinets with soap and water. Freeze stuff you’re in doubt about. To repeat, put everything, including pet food, in jars with tight fitting lids.

Pheromone traps can help spot an infestation as well as reduce the population, but they are not a substitute for cleaning and putting things in jars.

Incidentally, what we call “pantry moths” encompass a variety of different insects with colorful names such as the Drugstore Beetle, and the Confused Flour Beetle. All these bug-a-boos just love post-agricultural human habits of storin’ up food. Like cats, roaches and mice they’re with us until we devolve away from our agricultural ways, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground.” I’ll add, of course, that even if we find a way to keep eating and stop sweating I’d like to keep the cats around.

Urban Beekeeping 101 with Paul Hekimian, Director of HoneyLove

The Hollywood Orchard, along with HoneyLove is putting on an online webinar this week:

Urban Beekeeping 101 with Paul Hekimian, Director of HoneyLove
Online Workshop/Webinar
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM (pacific)

Are you interested in raising honey bees and reaping the benefits of having local honey? Does having your own beehive sound intriguing? If yes, then this class is for you. Urban Beekeeping 101 will cover everything you need to know on how to get started!

We will cover local bee ordinances, what urban beekeeping is or is not, where to place a hive, what equipment is needed, choosing a type of beehive, where to get bees, how to harvest honey and how to find a mentor. Join this webinar and learn from Paul Hekimian, 2nd generation beekeeper and director of HoneyLove.org, as he walks you through how to become an urban beekeeper.

Head here to register.

Binge on Opera for Free

Das Reingold

Early in the pandemic, Kelly had to leave town for an extended period to look after a relative. This left me alone in the house under lockdown with plenty of chores do during the day, such as install a floor and ceiling in her office shed, but not much to do at night. The first thing I did was to fill those evening hours with an intemperate binge viewing of Tiger King that left me confused and depressed. Then friend of the blog Lee tipped me off to the Metropolitan Opera’s free nightly streams. I thought that instead of binge watching Netflix shows I’d watch opera, even operas I’m not thrilled with, if just to see what pre-20th century folks binge viewed.

The way the Met’s free streams work is that they release a new one to watch at 3pm each day. You have 23 hours to watch before it goes away and a new one appears. Each opera streams from 7:30 p.m. EDT until 6:30 p.m. the following day. The streams are available through the Met Opera on Demand apps for Apple, Amazon, and Roku devices and Samsung Smart TV. To access them, without being a paid subscriber, you click “Browse and Preview” in the apps for connected TV, and “Explore the App” on tablets and mobile devices.

Speaking of binge viewing, this week the Met is streaming all (count ’em!) seventeen hours of Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle along with Tristan und Isolda, Parsifal and few other Wagner’s hits. Does the story of a magical ring that holds terrible powers and needs to be returned to nature sound like a familiar plot?

Parsifal

Wagner’s Parsifal streams on Sunday the 11th in a striking production the Met did in 2013. Towards the end of the first act is my favorite part, the ringing of the eerie bells of the grail castle, a sound effect for which Wagner constructed a special instrument. And the music that accompanies the appearance of the grail is some of the most beautiful ever written.

If Wagner isn’t to your taste there’s plenty more opera to watch in the Met’s future streaming schedule. Let me just note that this week you may want to catch Götterdämmerung as it’s, shall we say, timely.

Yes on 15! Vote for Nithya Raman for CD 4!

For our own mental health Kelly and I went on a bit of a news fast for the past week only to have that break rudely interrupted by a text late last night alerting us to a certain ‘rona infection going around a big white house on the east coast.

While Kelly was on a hard absolutely-no-news-in-the-interest-of-recovering-from-open-heart-surgery fast, I was on a lighter avoidance of the day to day news while (pretentiously, I admit) allowing myself to read the hard copies of the Jacobin and the Baffller that I subscribe to. I’ve found both of these sources to be thoughtful, nuanced and interesting.

But while the drama goes on with Dear Leader in that far distant city, I want to alert a few of our California readers to some important issues right here at home.

Prop 15
This week I phone banked in support of Proposition 15, which would close a loophole that allows large companies and land owners to avoid their fare share of property taxes. This loophole is a kind of the Trojan horse hidden in Prop 13, passed in the 1970s, that left us with a situation in which wealthy land owners are paying taxes based on outdated values. For instance, Walt Disney Studios in Burbank pays taxes on an assessed value from 1975 allowing them to dodge around $3.5 million in taxes every year.

Prop 13 was sold as a way to keep older people on fixed income from being taxed out of their houses. This is partly true, but the real impulse behind Prop 13 was to shift the tax burden away from the wealthy. I was in junior high in a public school when Prop 13 passed and watched my education get flushed down the toilet along with a lot of other public services.

Prop 15 would raise upwards of 12 billion dollars a year to pay for schools, parks and make a dent in the terrible mental health and homeless crisis we have here in this state. It would be a game changer.

The deep pocketed real estate interests opposing 15 have spread a lot of outright lies. Prop 15 does not apply to any residential property either the house you live in or any rental property. It does not apply to farms. It only taxes commercial real estate over $3 million in value.

Don’t believe the lies. Vote yes on 15 for better schools, parks and public services. The commons has been stolen away from us by large corporations. Let’s get it back.

Nithya Raman for Council District 4
The Los Angeles City Council is a cesspool of corruption and incompetence. We have a historic opportunity to elect someone who will make a difference. I’ve met Nithya Raman and she’s the perfect person to begin the long work of making our city more functional and bring real democracy to our city. For the love of God vote for her! If you know anyone who lives in sprawling District 4, which encompasses Koreatown, Los Feliz, the Hollywood Hills, Sherman Oaks and parts of North Hollywood, cajole them into voting for Nithya. David Ryu, the incumbent she’s running against ran as an outsider four years ago and has since decided to take campaign contributions from just about any large corporation that will dole them out. Ryu has also shamelessly stolen most of Nithya’s platform. Don’t fall for it. If he’s reelected he will fall back into his previous pattern of incompetence and corruption. He also was accused though not convicted of attempted rape of an unconscious person back in 2002. We need to show Ryu, and the rest of his colleagues, the way to the opulent exit door at city hall.

Those confusing initiatives:
Here’s my recommendations based on the suggestions of the local chapter of the DSA that I belong to:

Prop 14 NO
Prop 15 YES
Prop 16 YES
Prop 17 YES
Prop 18 YES
Prop 19 NO
Prop 20 NO
Prop 21 YES
Prop 22 NO
Prop 23 YES
Prop 24 No recommendation
Prop 25 NO

Staying sane under lockdown in the midst of the most unstable period of US history during my lifetime has been difficult. Phone and text banking for causes that I believe in, from the comfort of our home, has given me some sense that I’m helping, at least a little bit. So if you get a text for some cause that might just be me behind it. And, yes you can reply to those texts and have a conversation.

For other offices and local initiatives see DSA-LA’s handy voter’s guide. And join me in the DSA and let’s make this world a better place for future generations!

Pumpkin Spice Pandemic

I owe the title of this post to Alissa Walker of the always informative LA Podcast. Alissa was stating what we all know: we’re heading into the fall with the prospect of cancelled holidays, disappointed grandparents and worse: evictions and unemployment. Rather than the usual roundup of links that I post on Saturday I thought I’d put up just a few, three serious and one a lark. They all need a brief introduction.

This first link is an interview with two Harvard epidemiologists Katherine Yih and Martin Kulldorf, “We Need a Radically Different Approach to the Pandemic and Our Economy as a Whole.” If you’d like to dig deeper in this particular pandemic hot take there’s another interview with Sunetra Gupta, a theoretical epidemiologist at Oxford University. Not being an epidemiologist I’m not in a good position to evaluate what these folks are saying but I they are worth listening to. It’s unfortunate that dialog about the pandemic in this country has devolved to the point where we all can’t seem to sit down and figure out what’s best. Or maybe it’s just as Hegel said, “The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk.”

Another contrarian piece, also in the Jacobin, is a review of the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma, “No, Social Media Isn’t Destroying Civilization.” I can 100% endorse this hot take. I intend to blog more about the media diet Kelly and I are on right now that’s informed by both the Netflix documentary and this review.

Not to leave you all in a heavy mood I thought I’d link to George Hahn’s pandemic lament “I Can’t With The Sweatpants.” Unfortunately, I can with the stained sweatpants. I promise to break this habit once the vaccine kick in.