If you leave flour, cereal and other pantry items unsealed, you run the risk of an unwanted pest finding its way into your food. Weevils mostly attack grains and seeds, but can even appear in your pancake mix. To make sure you don’t have any surprises the next time you open your pantry, consider using home remedies for weevils.
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What are Weevils?
The larvae of weevils eat and grow inside seeds, but you’d never know it until they appear in your food about one month later. An adult weevil is visible after chewing through the seed coat. Adult weevils are about 1/8th inch long. They have slender, hard-shelled bodies with a reddish brown color . There are differences between a rice weevil and granary weevil, such as:
• The rice weevil has four faint yellowish spots on the back of the abdomen, and is a dull reddish brown color. Round pits are found on its thorax. The rice weevil has the ability to fly, and usually lives in warmer regions.
• The granary weevil is a solid reddish brown color with no spots. It has elongated pits on the thorax. Unlike the rice weevil, the granary type cannot fly. This kind of weevil typically lives in cooler regions.
Rice and granary weevils do not pose a threat to people, houses, furniture, clothing and pets. They do not bite or sting. They are not carriers of disease. The only thing they do that annoys humans is infesting and contaminating their food and pantry.
Causes and Symptoms
Infested whole grains or seeds are the main cause of weevils in a pantry or cupboard. Weevils are also attracted to open containers of food and unsealed packaging. The insect is also attracted to products made with dried seeds, such as decorative Indian corn and “bean bags.”
Weevil Home Remedies
If you suspect an infestation of weevils, one of the first lines of defense is to create a clean environment in your pantry or cabinet. Weevils enjoy an unclean setting, so make sure the spaces that you store food are clean and dry. Other home remedies for weevils include:
a) Soap and Water:
It is important to keep the cracks and corners of your pantry, cabinets, shelves, and cupboards clean to stay weevil-free. Scrub down shelves with soap and water. Wipe down all crevices and periodically check for spills.
b) Vacuum Cleaner:
If you’ve discovered an infestation of weevils in your cupboards or shelves, empty items and vacuum clean shelves – especially in the corners and cracks.
Weevils naturally do not like the scent of cloves. Dropping a clove on the top of your pantry food before storing is a good way to keep weevils away. Place cloves in your pantry and cupboards.
d) Bay Leaf:
Another natural weevil deterrent is bay leaf, which you can also place in your storage containers or on top of food products, such as your flour. A few leaves around the cupboard or pantry can also help keep weevils away.
Sources say that a plain matchbook left opened up close to grains and pastas will keep weevils away. It is believed that the pests are not fond of the scent of sulfur.
f) Airtight Containers:
Since weevils are attracted to bags of unsealed flour and rice, it is highly recommended to store such items in airtight containers, such as Tupperware.
g) Ziploc Baggies:
If you have small amounts of food items and ingredients that you’d like to keep weevil-free, store in Ziploc bags.
h) Freezing Products:
In certain regions, weevils are a real problem. Some people have resorted to keeping foodstuff that weevils enjoy (such as flour, oats, cookies, corn meal, and grits) in their freezer since the pest and their eggs cannot survive in the freezing temperatures.
Some people have reported luck keeping weevils away by placing a couple of nails inside or close to a container of food. They say that it deters the pantry pests.
j) Towel or Washcloth:
Weevils are attracted to dark, moist places. Place a moistened (not wet) old washcloth or small towel in an infested cupboard. In the middle of night, the weevils will most likely crawl under the towels. In the morning, toss away the washcloths and weevils away.