Bugs bugging you?

Bugs in the Bird Food?
Found some bugs in your bird food? Don't panic, doesn't mean the food is bad, spoiled, or can't still be given to your parrot. Freeze, freeze, freeze! Freeze the food to kill any extra living protein in there and everything should be just fine.

Sometimes no matter what you do, you find those pesky pests that invade our homes, your bird's cage. and sometimes even the bird food.

Anyone who owns birds is sure to come face to face with a few moths, the occasional little black seed bug, also known as seed weevils, or some other uninvited insect critter.

Since manufacturers cannot use seeds and grains that have been sprayed with large doses of pesticides, nor would we want them to for the safety of our birds, it is just a fact of life that you will one day come face to face with a bug problem.

Although manufacturers overall do a good job of trying to clean their food mixes of those stowaway insects, even the best of methods can not usually guarantee 100% bug free (even though a few manufacturers claim they can).

Finding a few moths or seed bugs in bird and parrot food does not mean the food is bad, expired, or spoiled, or that your local bird or pet store is a bad place.

Unless the bugs have actually been there long enough to hatch out, and produce webs in the food, freezing your bird and parrot food will eliminate most of the insect problem.

However, for some of those stubborn insects (like the weevils), actually freezing the food for at least 48 hours, removing from freezer for a couple of days and then refreezing for another 48 hours should do the job. Those little ant-like seed bugs are sometimes a littler harder to kill, and a second freezing usually gets any the first freeze missed.

If your bird food has insect webs in it, you will probably want to remove any webs as they look pretty yucky, and if bad enough you should probably ask the store you bought the food from if they will see if the manufacturer will replace it for you.

There are some natural remedies that can be tried to see if they can control your buggy problem if they make it out of the bird food, or for those intruders who come in from the outdoors. In general ants, roaches, and many other pests just plain don't like catnip. So placing some small bags of catnip throughout areas of your home or aviary might be of help. Remember however, if you own a cat, this might backfire on your.

There are two categories of moths, the ones who invade your closet and chew holes in your clothing, and the ones that come from grain foods such as bird seed as well as many other foods you even bring home from the grocery store.

Be sure to vacuum well the ceilings because they like to set up housekeeping in high places and you might even find a worm or two just hanging around waiting to become a moth. The natural pheromone moth traps are very effective at catching the moths that have hatched out. Totally non-toxic around your birds, just make sure your bird cannot reach the traps as they do have sticky inside that traps the moths.

Some people have had success with homemade moth-repelling sachets made up of some of the following: bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cloves, eucalyptus leaves, lavender, pepper corns, or dried lemon peels. We find these remedies seem to work better for the closet moths, more than for help with the kitchen/aviary type moths.

Summertime especially brings all those wonderfully fresh fruits and vegetables and if you are sharing these with your birds, as you probably should be, then you are most likely going to sooner or later have a problem with ants. Having lories can especially be worse due to the increased amount of fruits available for your bird. Try keeping a small spray bottle of some soapy water handy to spritzing those ants with. We have also recently discovered that ants seem to have a natural aversion to cucumbers, so try setting out some cucumber peels or slices in the kitchen or at the ants' point of entry.

Also recommended are leaving a few tea bags of mint tea near areas where the ants seem most active, some dry crushed mint leaves, or cloves can also work as deterrents for ants. If you can trace the ants back to their point of entry, try setting out some cayenne pepper, lemon juice, cinnamon, coffee grounds, or cut up a couple of cloves of garlic and stuff into any cracks the ants are coming through.

**A little tip for ant control that we have personally found very effective is using mite spray sold in pet stores for birds. Although we totally do not believe in using mite control on a bird, mite spray is very effective at killing ants and can be used in the room with your bird safely. Remember use only on the ants. Spraying cage legs with mite spray will help keep ants from climbing into cages. The spray does not last long so you may need to lightly spray every few days to keep ants under control.

Fruit Flies/Gnats:
Now these really can be some pesky pests. Annoying little buggers flying around your bird's home, or your kitchen area. A few natural remedies include putting a small amount of wine, or apple cider vinegar, in a shallow dish and covering it with plastic wrap. Poke a few holes in the plastic and flies go in but can't get out. Change dish as needed. There are also Fruit Fly Traps available which are very helpful in eliminating these flying nuisances.

We hope you find some of these suggestions helpful in your fight against the insect world this summer.