One of the deadliest grain pests in the world, the rice weevil frequently infests grain stores on farms and in southern American household pantries. It’s prudent to get rid of weevils as soon as you discover them in your home. Knowing how to get rid of rice weevils saves you time, stress, and food.
The rice weevil’s scientific name is Sitophilus oryzae, which translates to “Rice Grain Lover.” Although they are not picky feeders, rice weevils prefer rice grains when given the option. Additionally, they consume cereals like corn, rye, wheat, oats, and barley. It’s vital to learn how to kill weevils in rice, as they eat and spoil food items in the home.
If they cannot get grain, rice weevils eat cashew nuts, seeds, and grain products like bread, macaroni, and flour. Rice weevils are little 1/8-inch-long bugs. They have a large snout and four reddish-yellow markings on their back. Female weevils lay their eggs inside a grain kernel, and infestations grow at an alarming rate.
- What are Rice Weevils?
- How Do Weevils Get Into Your Rice?
- Can You Eat Infested Food?
- Soapy Water for a Rice Weevil Infestation
- Eliminate Grain Weevils with White Vinegar
- How to Get Rid of Rice Weevils
- Getting Rid of Rice Weevils with Black Pepper
- Garlic Cloves Deter Bugs from Your Dry Goods
- Kill Rice Weevils with Neem Oil
- Get Rid of the Adult Rice Weevil
- Matchboxes Protect Your Food from a Rice Weevil Infestation
- Straightforward Tricks to Prevent Weevils
DIY Tips for How to Kill Weevils in Rice
Use uncomplicated home remedies for getting rid of rice weevils and stop this pantry pest from ruining your food. Getting rid of rice weevils may seem daunting. Opening your cabinets to uncover hundreds of little black bugs is horrifying, and having to throw out food is a financial burden.
Fortunately, there are several fantastic home hacks for eliminating this pantry pest. Once you understand how to get rid of rice weevils and how to avert them in the first place, you can purchase grains with confidence.
What are Rice Weevils?
Rice weevils are a stored product pest infesting rice grains, flour, oats, and any other dry goods. These tiny black bugs are typically spotted crawling on the outside of product bags or inside, crawling over the grain. It attracts weevils as they use the dry goods for reproducing.
The rice weevil, or Sitophilus oryzae, makes its home inside a grain kernel, where it lays eggs. If left untreated, rice weevils infest a high volume of grain in a short time.
How Do Weevils Get Into Your Rice?
Weevils make a beeline for the place with the most suitable living conditions – your pantry, where the grain is. These pantry pests have two entry modes into your home and cabinets. Some weevils locate their way indoors through cracks in walls and floors and broken seals around windows and doors.
More commonly, weevils come into a household already inside another grain product, whether it’s a bag of rice from the store, a new batch of dog food, or flour.
Weevils spread quickly, and just one infested bag on a pallet or in a warehouse rapidly escalates into a widespread problem. The same occurs in your home. Accidentally placing one infested grain product in your pantry can lead to an entire food store overrun in a short time.
Can You Eat Infested Food?
When your dried corn or grain product has a few visible weevils, you might wonder if you can remove the bugs and still eat them. Though you might only spot an adult weevil or two in the bag, female rice weevils take up residence and lay their insect eggs inside the grain kernel.
Immature rice weevils grow inside the rice or corn until they emerge as an adult weevil to mate, and the new cycle continues. Even when you don’t see many insects in the bag, there could be far more inside the grains.
Though most people find it off-putting, eating grain infested with weevils is not considered dangerous. If you feel comfortable consuming the product, it is unlikely to make you unwell.
Soapy Water for a Rice Weevil Infestation
If you encounter weevils in your stored grain or another dry food source, your entire pantry is at risk of infection. The best way to get rid of weevils naturally is to place the infested food item in a sealed trash bag and dispose of it outside your home.
If you plan to save the food, pack it in a bag and place it in the freezer immediately to destroy the weevils. Mix a soap and water solution to clean your pantry shelves and remove adult, larvae, or weevil eggs to prevent spreading.
Wet a rag or sponge in the soapy water and use it to clean the shelves thoroughly. Leave your pantry or cabinet doors open to allow the area to dry, and perform a thorough visual inspection. Repeat the cleaning if you have any doubt the weevils are gone.
Eliminate Grain Weevils with White Vinegar
Distilled white vinegar is another simple cleaner to sanitize your cabinets and pantry from weevils and their eggs. Distilled white vinegar contains a mild acid called acetic acid, which quickly eradicates weevils on contact. When killing grain mites is necessary, mix the vinegar with water to create a spray cleaner for your shelves.
Shake the white vinegar solution in the sprayer and apply it inside your cabinet, including the walls. Wipe the shelves with a clean, dry cloth and leave them to air dry.
How to Get Rid of Rice Weevils
Bay leaves are known for flavoring savory soups and stews, yet this aromatic herb is also an excellent way to deter adult weevils. Although many people use bay leaves for pantry moths, weevils hate the bitter scent of bay leaves and don’t travel where they’re present. Add a few whole bay leaves to your containers while storing flour and other grain products for a natural weevil repellent.
Getting Rid of Rice Weevils with Black Pepper
Ground black pepper is toxic to rice weevils thanks to an active ingredient called piperine. After removing and disposing of all infected food, thoroughly clean your pantry and cover the shelves with a layer of black pepper to eliminate any remaining bugs. Let the black pepper sit in the pantry overnight, and brush or vacuum it away.
Garlic Cloves Deter Bugs from Your Dry Goods
Garlic’s pungent aroma repels rice weevils from your grain naturally. Take a few fresh garlic cloves, peel them, chop them in half, and set them around your pantry to protect against bugs.
While the garlic method is effective, it might also result in your flour and other grains having a garlic taste or smell thanks to the potency of the cloves. Ensure your dry food is in airtight containers to thwart scent transfer.
Kill Rice Weevils with Neem Oil
Neem oil is a safe, naturally occurring insecticide to kill rice weevils in your pantry. Prior to using any insecticide, remove all of your food and read the safety guidelines.
Shake the liquids in a sprayer, apply it to all inside surfaces of your pantry, and allow it to dry. Wipe your cabinets with a damp cloth to remove any residue and let dry completely before returning food.
Use this simple DIY remedy to get rid of tiny gnats in kitchen and pantry areas or even in the bathroom.
Get Rid of the Adult Rice Weevil
Opening your pantry to find a hoard of black bugs is overwhelming. The vacuum cleaner is an ideal starting place for getting rid of rice weevils. Grab a small attachment and start sucking up bugs.
Focus on cracks and crevices to ensure no pesky insects are left behind. Dispose of your cylinder’s contents, or the vacuum bag, by sealing it inside a plastic bag and putting it in the garbage outside your home, so no bugs escape and reinfest your food.
Matchboxes Protect Your Food from a Rice Weevil Infestation
If you have a packet of matches at home, you have everything you need to use a proven home remedy to keep weevils out of your pantry. Storing matchboxes in the pantry means weevils won’t trespass in your food. Matchboxes contain sulfur, and though it’s hardly detectable to us, the smell is so detestable to weevils that they stay away.
Straightforward Tricks to Prevent Weevils
Rice weevils are a genuine inconvenience, and accidentally allowing in or bringing home just one of these bugs may result in an entire pantry of infested food. Practicing a few good habits helps reduce your chances of losing food to weevils.
Basic pantry hygiene, such as keeping all grains stored in sealed containers and cleaning regularly, denies weevils access to your food and ensures your pantry doesn’t become a breeding ground. Not overstocking means your pantry isn’t crowded and is easier to inspect, and it ensures your loss is minimal if weevils do strike.
It takes just a couple of minutes to check over products at the store, yet this could save you hours of trouble by preventing a weevil problem. Inspect packages for holes or tears and any sign of small dark insects.
Similarly, inspect your grain as you store it, and immediately discard any with evidence of bugs. Sealing entry points to your home prevents weevils from arriving from the outdoors and causing issues with your grain.
When you find those dreaded little black bugs, you need to know how to kill weevils in rice. While weevils are easily dispatched with freezing, many people prefer not to eat infested rice and focus on cleaning their pantry, slowing the spread, and avoiding future issues. Explore tips and tricks for dealing with weevils, and purchase and store grain confidently.
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