I can assure you that yes , you have eaten weevils ! Your eyes might pop-up now wondering how is that possible , but , in the end , you’ll surely realize that what I’m saying is one of those statements people answer with an “Yes” !
I know it is a perfectly disgusting thought , but there’s really nothing to be done about it . Most people are not even aware that it has happened . It might have simply been their eggs . It could , however have been little bits of exoskeleton – maybe a leg or two – or possibly even the entire nasty weevil … or , at least its larvae . With something as common as weevils , it’s pretty much unavoidable . They can be found in nearly any prepackaged food you buy that contains any sort or grain ( I’m talking about cookies , crackers , biscuits , cake mixes , pastas , breakfast cereals , anything ) , and this is due to the fact that weevils lay their eggs in , you guess it , grains . ( In my experience however , I noticed they like unexpectedly even …. milk powder !?! so ….. )
The thought is even more annoying when , imagine , you have just cleaned you cabinets two days ago and it was all perfect and clear , and here you see the little invaders in your most treasured products ! Imagine how’s that if , even more , an imported , sort of expensive item was the objects of the attack ! Yuk …
The two most common types of pantry weevils are the granary weevil ( Sitophilus granarius ) and the rice weevil ( Sitophilus oryzae ) . They are often referred to as “snout weevils” . These little pantry pests are actually beetles ; very small beetles that rarely get any larger that 1-2mm . Female weevils use their snouts to drill holes in the casings of grains , such as wheat , oat , rye , rice , corn , barley , and various seeds and beans . Once the hole is drilled , she deposits an egg and seals the hole back with a gelatinous glue-like substance that she creates all by her little self . The egg hatches after few days , and the larvae uses its surroundings as a lunch box for about the next month . For this reason , it can be difficult to detect an infestation . Not only it is slow to start , but the larvae are in hiding . Once the grain weevils ( a.k.a. flour weevils ) or rice weevils start to present themselves , you have got a real problem . A single female can lay up to 400 eggs , which means up to 400 more hungry bugs looking for a snack . If you have experienced something like this , you’ll need to know how to control and get rid of weevils .
Here are some little facts about weevils :
Rice weevil has the following characteristics :
- Is 1/8 to 3/16-inch long
- Dull reddish brown round pits on the thorax
- Four light spots on the carapace
- Able to fly
- Found more commonly in warmer places
Granary Weevil , on the other side , is characterized by the following :
- Is 1/8 to 3/16-inch long
- Shiny reddish brown
- Elongated pits on thorax
- Cannot fly
- Is found more commonly in cooler places
THE BEST METHODS OF WEEVIL CONTROL
Remove the contaminated food products !
This sounds like a no-brainer , but this might be the only most important step in getting rid of weevils .
Look through the ENTIRE pantry and every single cupboard for any food products that might be contaminated . If you find something you are not sure about , pitch it . There is no point in risking re-infestation ( It could very well cost you more money in the long run ) . Once you have it all gathered up , take it immediately outside to the trash and move the can as far away from the house as possible .
Pull a Cinderella
Conduct the most through cleaning of your pantry and cupboards that you ever done . Start by taking absolutely everything off the shelves and vacuuming them . Make sure you get all the cracks where flour or other food bits might be hiding . If you have contact paper lining the shelves , remove it ( anyway , you can put new stuff on later ) . Use a rag and some hot sudsy water to do the rest of the cleaning
Kill weevils with cold
In order to avoid future problems with weevils , it is advisable to freeze your food . You can do this to flour , oats , cookies , corn meal , grits , whatever . If you have enough space in your freezer , you should just keep the stuff in there full time . If you have a small freezer instead , set the freezer as cold as it gets and leave the food in there for at least four days . That will kill any eggs , larvae , or weevils . Also , that’s an added 4 days of shelf life !
Kill weevils with heat
If you don’t feel like freezing everything , a little heat exposure will accomplish the same thing . Spread your food or seeds thinly on a baking sheet , preheat the oven at 1200F , and leave it in there for 1 hour . If you are impatient , you can do 1300F for ½ hour . In case you want to use the microwave instead , spread the stuff on a glass dish or plate , and run it for 5 minutes. Keep in mind that if you are heating seeds for gardening , the heat might destroy the seed , thus producing changes in germination . Also , don’t heat fine-grained things like flour , being case of combustion .
FURTHER WEEVIL PREVENTION
Start by cleaning the cupboards and pantry regularly . In case you spill something , clean it up immediately and thoroughly . In the pantry and cupboards , you may want to consider sealing any shelving cracks with caulk in order to keep food from getting trapped down there in the future .
Buy your goods in smaller amounts so that you can use them quickly .
Rotate your stock and don’t mix new food with old one .
Finally , store all of your perishables in tight-lidded glass , tin , steel or plastic containers . If you have limited cupboard space , the rubber maid modular containers may be a very good plan .
BEST NATURAL WEEVIL CONTROL METHODS
Bay leaves are a natural weevil deterrent . After freezing or heating the grains , drop a bay leaf or two into the storage container on top of the food product you want protected . You may also consider to randomly scatter a few leaves around the cupboard or pantry .
Cloves are another natural deterrent for weevils .
Treat you grains with cloves the same way you will with bay leaves . After treating your food with hot or cold , drop a clove or two on top of it before storing . Scatter a couple around the cupboards and pantry . Even better , try a couple of each .
Sounds odd , but this suggestion seems to be mentioned more and more often .
Take a plain old matchbook , open it up , and set it in with your grains or pasta . Apparently , the sulfur from the matches acts as a weevil deterrent .
Not convinced yet ? Next time around when being invaded , try one of these !