Did you notice bugs in the flour that was stored for a long time? Did you freak out? Well then, it does not imply that you have not maintained hygiene in your home. These insects manage to gain entry into food from almost anywhere, and can spread into other food as well. They are known as weevil bugs. They infest grains, flour, breakfast cereal and the like. If not controlled in time, they can create a nuisance.
What are Weevil Bugs?
Weevil bugs are insects that infest various crops and food and are mostly a nuisance to every household. They are found in various types such as boll weevil, flour weevil, wheat weevils, rose weevils, bean weevils. What are the distinct characteristics of these insects that will make it easy for you to recognize them? The most distinct character of these bugs is their head. They have elongated heads that protrudes like a snout at the tip. In most cases they do not have wings. If you do see them in your food, it is recommended that you throw it away and clean up and look for them in other food as well.
The most common type of bug is the boll weevils which infest cotton. They feed on cotton buds and flowers and almost destroyed the cotton industry in the United States in 1920s'. However, the use and development of new pesticides saved the industry from being devastated. There are certain bugs that infest food which are actually beetles but to avoid any further confusion are referred to as weevils, such as those in flour or beans. Like flour, these are also found in rice and other grains. These are commonly referred to as grain weevils.
How to Get Rid of Them?
- Put bay leaves or neem leaves at the base of the container in which you store the food or grains. These leaves act as natural insecticides and prevent weevil infestation.
- Freeze the flour that you have purchased for around four days. This process kills the eggs and weevils present in the flour. Low temperatures are not favorable for the growth and life of weevils.
- Store flour and grains in containers with lids to prevent infestation in the pantry.
- Do not store food like grains and flour for a very long time, as this increases the risk of infestation.
- Clean up storage spaces thoroughly. Seal up any cracks or crevices, use sprays available in the market that are safe to use in food storage places.
- Once you clean up wait for a few hours before storing your food items back. This will allow the cleaning and spraying to take effect.
The safe chemicals to use around food products to get rid of the weevils are eucalyptus and pyrethrins. Always make sure that these products are safe to use around food.
Other precautions that you must take are moisture in food. This is one of the most certain ways for insects and other pests to infest it. Storing food grains and flour in clear bags or containers helps you in observing the food for any kind of infestation. Follow food storage guidelines to keep these pests away. Discarding infested food is the best option rather than risking the health and well-being of your family. The next time you buy flour or grains be sure it's free of these crawlies. Though very small they can prove to be very harmful. Size does not matter always!