Weevils In Flour
Weevils In Your Flour? How To Tell and What To Do.
It can be frustrating, and even somewhat disturbing, to find weevils in your flour. However, it’s probably not your fault and it’s not likely that your health will be compromised if you think you may already have ingested some contaminated flour.
The weevil is a tiny beetle that feeds on wheat, cotton, cereal and grains, seeds, and flour. There are many different types of weevils, and all of them love to eat many of the same things we do. This is why the weevil is as unpopular on the farm as it is on grocery shelves and in our kitchens.
While weevils don’t bite or sting and carry no venom or poison, they will annoy you and cost you money in having to replace infested food. This wily little creature uses its long snout to bore tiny holes into your grain products. It then lays eggs in the food. When the eggs hatch, the larvae are embedded into the food and so have plenty to dine on while they grow. They reproduce quite readily and hundreds of them can happily live and propagate for quite some time in just a small amount of flour.
How can you tell if you have weevils in your flour or other foodstuffs? First, look for small black dots in the flour. Upon close inspection, adult weevils are about 1/16 to 1/8 inch long and are brown or black in color. When fully grown, they will develop wings (at which point they can fly to other tasty foods in your cupboard). In larval state, weevils will appear as tiny white maggot-like worms.
Another indicator that weevils have infiltrated your food is the presence of cocoons. These tiny white silk-like pouches serve as home to weevils as they transform from their larval phase into adulthood.
Even if you don’t see any actual bugs or cocoons, you may see that your flour has formed small clumps that are held together by a sticky string-like substance. This is a sure sign that you’ve got weevils in your flour.
- Throw away all contaminated food. (Some people say that freezing the food for three days will kill the weevils and that they can then be extracted from the food or even left in and consumed. The jury seems to be out as to whether this poses any health hazard).
- Clean out all cupboards and drawers. Start by emptying them and then vacuuming them very thoroughly. Then, scrub every inch of your cabinets with soap and hot water. Make sure to clean every little nook and cranny – weevils (and especially their eggs) are very small and if you don’t get rid of every last one you will likely be re-infested before long.
- Spray some home insecticide onto surfaces and into cracks and allow to dry completely. You can also use bleach as an alternative. Better yet, seek out a natural pesticide that is chemical-free. In any case, make sure that you have adequate ventilation and are not using bleach or pesticide products around pets or children. Wear gloves and a mask to protect yourself, too.
- Make sure to alert the grocery store where you bought the product so that they can check their stock and find out where the problem originated. Weevil invasion can begin at any stage of the process from farm to warehouse to grocery store.
Weevil infestation can happen to anyone, and is not an indicator of poor housekeeping. Usually, weevils come in from one infested food product and quickly spread throughout the kitchen and/or pantry until they have taken over.
So, what can be done to prevent weevils in your flour in the first place?
First, try storing your grains and flour in airtight containers, like jars with lock-down lids. Also, placing bay leaves in and around your vulnerable food items is said to deter weevils and prevent them from infiltrating. Regularly inspect your grains, rice, and flour to catch any problems before they get out of control.