How to Get Rid of Weevils (Flour Bugs)
If you've opened your flour and found it crawling with small pests, you probably have weevils. Weevils are actually small, reddish-brown beetles that may be able to fly. Since weevils can lay a few eggs a day for months, you might be dealing with flour weevils for a while. Completely clean your pantry and store your flour in hard, airtight containers. It may take some time before you've removed all of the weevil eggs, but improving your pantry storage will stop weevils in their tracks.
Cleaning and Improving Your Pantry
Find the source of the weevils.Although pantry pests can fly, they usually like to stay near their food source. If you've noticed small reddish brown beetles, weevils, in your flour, they may also be in other foods in your pantry. You should also check for weevils near your pet's food dishes since this may be their source of food. Check for weevils in:
- Cereals and grains (oats, rice, quinoa, bran).
- Spices and herbs .
- Dried pasta.
- Dried fruit.
- Chocolate, candy, and nuts.
- Dried peas or beans.
Discard any food that has weevils.Although you won't be able to see the eggs in pantry items, you will be able to see adult weevils. Check your flour and pantry products for them and if you find weevils, throw away the food. If you don't see weevils, you can store and use the flour or food.
- You shouldn't eat any food that could contain live weevils. If you've accidentally baked with flour containing weevils, you can eat the food because the weevils are dead.
Vacuum and wash your pantry.Remove the food from your pantry shelves and use a vacuum attachment to suck up any loose bits of food or flour. Take a wash cloth dipped in soapy water and wash all of the shelves and anywhere that there may be spilled food. If you've found weevils in other rooms of your house, vacuum them up.
- Immediately empty the vacuum canister in your dumpster outside so the weevils don't stay in your kitchen trashcan.
- You won't need to use commercial insecticides for weevils or pantry moths if you clean your pantry and remove their food source.
Wipe your pantry shelves with white vinegar or eucalyptus oil.Once you've thoroughly cleaned your pantry shelves, wipe them with a liquid that weevils dislike. You can wipe a mixture of half water and half white vinegar or use eucalyptus oil. Just dilute the eucalyptus oil with a little water and spray it onto the shelves.
- You can also try neem, tee tree, or pine needle oils to prevent the weevils from getting into your pantry.
Place all of your foods in airtight, hard containers.Since weevils can eat through cardboard boxes or bags, you'll need to store your pantry foods in hard plastic containers or jars that are air-tight. If you've bought bakery mixes (like cake or muffin mixes), check these for weevils and transfer them to containers. You can color code or label your containers to make them easy to use.
- You may want to cut out any cooking instructions from cardboard packages for foods and store them in an organizer in your kitchen.
Preventing Weevil Infestations
Buy smaller amounts of flour.If you don't use very much flour, consider buying small amounts at a time. If you leave flour sitting around for a long period of time, weevils may be encouraged to lay their eggs in it. The faster you use your flour, the fresher it is, and the fewer the chances for infestation.
Freeze the flour.As soon as you bring flour home, seal it inside a freezer bag and put it in the freezer for at least 1 week. This will kill any eggs or weevils that are already in the flour. You can then take the flour out and store it in your pantry in an airtight, hard container or just keep it in the freezer until you need it.
Place a fresh bay leaf in the flour.Get out fresh bay leaves and put one in each container or bag of stored flour. Some people believe bay leaves can prevent weevil infestations. You'll need to replace the bay leaves every few months or when you can no longer smell them.
- You can find fresh bay leaves in the produce department near the other fresh herbs.
Use pheromone traps.You can buy small packages of weevil traps that use pheromones to attract the weevils and pantry moths. The traps have a sticky space that trap the pantry pests. Place a few of these around your pantry and change them once they're full.
- If you are overwhelmed by a huge infestation of weevils (for example, thousands are crawling all over your floors and walls), you may want to contact a pest control professional.
Check your pantry for weevils on a regular basis.You should check your pantry every month or two for weevils. This is especially important because adult weevils can live at least a year. Remember to thoroughly clean out hard-to-reach parts of your pantry where weevils might start thriving.
- This is a good chance to wash down the pantry shelves again. Keeping a clean pantry will prevent flour weevils from coming back.
QuestionWhere do weevils come from?Community AnswerWeevils typically hatch out of eggs that already have been laid in the foods you buy, such as rice or flour.Thanks!
QuestionI don't have any food at all, but I still have weevils. What do I do?Community AnswerWeevils can still be seen for a time after ridding the area of anything contaminated. Continue to clean the area once in a while until the infestation is gone.Thanks!
QuestionIf I am using a food saver, how long will the flour last?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerA food saver will only prevent insects from entering the flour. It will not deter any insects that might already be in the flour. Unfortunately, there are eggs in most grain items, so the food saver will not help with them--you freeze the flour first for 96 hours and then package it with the food saver.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I get rid of weevils that are already in the food?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerJust put your flour through a sifter--the weevils are too big to go through the holes. Then freeze as outlined above to destroy any eggs and place a bay leaf in the container of the newly sifted flour. Don't be concerned that these have contaminated your flour and that the flour must be discarded. There is already a certain amount of eggs when the flour is new and most all grain items will contain a minute amount of infestation--and still meet FDA standards. Our pioneer ancestors dealt with this all the time--they just accepted some addition protein.Thanks!
QuestionDo weevils hatch into flying insects like small moths or is this likely to be something else?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, some kinds of weevils are flying insects. No, they don't look like moths. They're actually a type of beetle. You're more likely dealing with pantry moths, which are a similar nuisance to weevils. When you see one, make sure to find and kill as many as you can; they are very hard to get rid of once they multiply.Thanks!
QuestionWhat do the tiny black bugs look like?Rosy haryCommunity AnswerTheir bodies are shaped like a cockroach, but they are similar in size to a small ant.Thanks!
QuestionI sealed the crevices with sealer. I checked this morning and found a few, but not a lot. So what can I do next?Community AnswerClean the area as instructed above until you do not see them anymore. You can also try 'pantry pest' traps that use a food-based goo to trap the weevils.Thanks!
QuestionI had an item filled with wheat that I stored in my closet, it got weevils and although I have removed it I still find them. How can I get them out of my closet, what pesticide would work?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerClean out the whole area and throw away any other food that is open and attracting the weevils. Wash down the cupboard sides, base and ceiling areas with a strong cleaner or disinfectant wash. You could even make a light mixture of Dawn and Clorox. Then get some eucalyptus oil and mix a little with warm water and wipe down all areas again. Reline areas if desired or just leave bare. Regular cleaning of cupboards and freezing all grain products will help too.Thanks!
QuestionI saw live weevils in the bottom of my grocery bag. I checked all the boxed and bagged items as I unloaded, and put everything into the freezer. Will this kill the live bugs I may have missed?Community AnswerFreezing everything should kill the bugs. Make sure to clean everything thoroughly after taking it out of the freezer, to get rid of the bugs that died.Thanks!
QuestionWill these weevils harm fishing wormswikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThanks!
I found an infestation in a cotton made silver cover. Is that common?
To get rid of weevils, start by removing all food items from your pantry that have been invested with them and discard the items immediately. Transfer any uninfested foods to airtight containers with hard shells to prevent weevils from getting into them in the future. Clean and vacuum out your pantry thoroughly to remove any lingering pests, then wipe it down with vinegar before moving the food back in!
- Do not throw contaminated food away in your kitchen. Take it to the outside dumpster to prevent the weevils from re-infesting your pantry.
- If you've just purchased the flour that you found weevils in, consider sealing the bag in an airtight container and returning it to the store where you bought it.
- If you have contact paper lining your cupboards, remove it before you clean the cupboards since weevils can hide underneath it.
Things You'll Need
Hard, airtight containers
Eucalyptus oil or vinegar
Plastic freezer bags
Sources and Citations
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Video: How to Get Rid of Weevils
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