It’s the weekend, and you’re prepared to spend the day baking bread and sweet pastries – until you open a bag of flour and discover it’s infested with creepy crawly bugs. You lose your appetite for home-baked goods. Now you’re left wondering, why are there bugs in my pantry, and how do weevils get in flour?
Weevils, or flour bugs, are a common pantry pest notorious for infesting dry food like flour, rice, grain, dried fruit, and pet food. Pantry weevils are found worldwide, and there are 97,000 known species. There are many weevil types, from the boll weevil and black vine weevil to the rose weevil and cowpea weevil. However, the three main culprits to infest houses are the rice weevil, wheat or flour weevil, and maize weevil.
The most perplexing thing about flour or rice bugs is that they seem to come out of nowhere, even when you store flour and dry goods in an airtight container. What were cupboards full of stored food quickly get infested with flour mites and beetles. Where do they come from, and what causes a weevil infestation?
Ways to Eliminate and Prevent Pantry Weevils
Weevils are a nuisance, and it’s not long before a couple of beetles becomes an infestation since female weevils lay up to a couple of hundred weevil eggs at a time. Take action with natural remedies to kill weevils and keep them away when you discover these bugs in storage areas to ensure you don’t end up with a kitchen full of infested food.
Learn what flour beetles are, where they come from, and their life cycle and habits. Additionally, discover how to find and trap weevils in flour and other dry items.
What Are Weevils?
There’s always fear when you come across an insect you’ve never encountered before. Luckily, the weevil is not harmful to you or your pets. Learn what these insects are to help you better understand them and keep them under control.
The weevil, also known as a long-snout bug or flour bug, is a small beetle, less than a quarter-inch in length, that is considered a pest because it damages crops and stored grains. The granary weevil has an elongated snout, unlike the confused flour weevil. It’s dull reddish-brown to black, with reddish-yellow spots on its back.
Weevils generally live two to three months while mating and laying eggs throughout their lifetime. Females lay up to 250 eggs that take three days to hatch, depending on the species, and the larvae are worm-like grubs without legs.
How Do Weevils Get In Flour?
You tear open a new bag of flour only to find that it has small beetles crawling around inside. How did those bugs get there, and can you use flour with weevils in it? Find out how the flour beetle magically appears in sealed food and whether your flour is still usable.
Female weevils chew holes in flour, rice, beans, nuts, seeds, corn, and whole-grain kernels and deposit their eggs inside. A weevil problem is sometimes present even before the flour hits grocery store shelves. Unlike other insects that climb into flour to feast, the weevil is already present in the food in egg form.
It’s only after the eggs hatch that you notice larvae and weevils in your flour. Although the flour is still usable if you find one beetle, it’s best to toss the entire bag if you discover several since it indicates a weevil problem.
How to Get Rid of Flour Weevils by Cleaning
The first step in eliminating weevils is to clean the cupboards and pantry and dispose of infested items. Explore how to get rid of flour weevils by cleaning the food storage area and containers.
Inspect all food products for insects and dispose of infested food in a trash bag. Check for brown or red flour beetles in grains and cereals, crackers, dried pasta, spices and herbs, dried fruit, beans and peas, candy, chocolate, and nuts.
Remove everything from the pantry shelves and clean each shelf with cleaning solution. Any cleaner is fine, but a mixture of warm water, white vinegar, and dish soap often works the best.
Vacuum the entire pantry and use the hose attachment to clean all the nooks and crannies. Vacuum the floor and carpet, shelf corners, ceiling, and other areas where bugs hide.
Empty the vacuum canister into the trash bag with the discarded food and dispose of it in the outside garbage can. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the outsides of cans, containers, and other food storage items and put them back in their place in the pantry.
Eliminating Weevil Larva in the Freezer
There’s still a chance of a flour bug problem, even if you take steps to keep weevils from having easy access inside your kitchen. The dry goods you bring home from the store may contain weevil eggs. Use your freezer to kill weevils and other pests found in rice and eliminate weevil larvae in flour.
Try to buy small amounts of flour at a time since large quantities of flour sitting around for long periods encourage the red flour beetle to lay eggs and multiply.
Freeze flour as soon as you bring it home from the grocer. Place the bag of flour in a freezer bag and freeze it for at least a week to kill weevil eggs. Keep it in the freezer until you need to use it, or pour the flour into an airtight container before storing it in the pantry.
Using Insecticides to Get Rid of Weevils
A deep cleaning may not eliminate all grain beetle eggs and larvae, so it’s helpful to treat the area with bug spray. Eliminate weevils completely with insecticides to ensure your kitchen is pest free.
Insecticides are generally unsafe for kitchen use because they may contain harmful chemicals that taint food. However, if you use insecticide to kill weevils, follow the directions accordingly and remove all food from the vicinity before weevil treatment.
Pheromone traps are a great alternative to insecticides and don’t contaminate your food. They use pheromones to attract the weevil, Indian meal moth, and other pantry pests. Once they enter the trap, they get stuck.
Ways to Repel Weevils From the Pantry
Using insecticides and deep cleaning to get rid of weevils takes time and effort. Fortunately, simple and natural ways deter these insects, so they seek other areas to feed. All you have to do is look inside your fridge and spice cabinet.
Put a bay leaf in each food storage container to repel weevils naturally. They hate the scent and search for a different food source more to their liking. You can also hang garlic cloves around the kitchen and pantry doorway to keep these insects out of the space.
Ways to Prevent Weevils in Flour
There’s nothing more disgusting than finding bugs in your food, and an infestation leads to unnecessary waste. Prevent weevils in flour and keep your kitchen safe from the confused flour beetle.
Always freeze bags of flour, cornmeal, rice, beans, and other dried goods before storing them in the cupboard. Never place bagged or boxed items in the pantry since weevils can chew through the material. Instead, pour the food into an airtight container with a bay leaf.
Keep the kitchen and pantry area clean by regularly wiping down shelves and vacuuming. While weevils commonly enter the house via the grocery store, they may also enter through access points in your home. Repair torn window screens, apply weather stripping around doors, and use caulk to seal cracks.
Always check the condition of food before you purchase it and bring it home, and try to buy clear-packaged products that are easier to inspect. A small tear or hole in the item or a broken seal may indicate that the food is already infested.
Check your food items routinely, especially if you rarely use them. Look for damaged containers, tiny insects or brown specks, and other weevil signs, and discard the item immediately if you find insect activity.
Grain weevils are sneaky pests, and you’re usually unaware you have infested flour until it’s too late. Fortunately, there are ways to kill weevil eggs, stop them from hatching into 100s of beetles, and keep your dry food from going to waste.
How do weevils get in flour is a common question, and we’d love it if you’d share the answer and our tips for eliminating and preventing weevils in the pantry with your family and friends on Facebook and Pinterest.