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Should I Be Concerned about Flour Weevils?

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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 20 July 2014
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Many people may be concerned about having inadvertently eaten flour weevils, but there is generally no reason for the concern. Most people have probably consumed them at some point in their lives, and doing so is not considered hazardous. Even so, it is important for people who have weevils to take measures to get rid of them before the bugs get out of control, and the weevils can lay so many eggs at one time that they can become problematic very quickly.

Flour weevils are small beetles that are also occasionally referred to as snout beetles. These beetles are very small, and they usually do not exceed more than 0.125 inches (0.318 cm) in length. They get their name because they like to eat flour and other types of foods that are normally kept in kitchen cupboards that contain lots of starch, such as cereals, oatmeal, and even baking powder. These weevils can infest any type of food that is left open in the cupboard, and they also normally lay hundreds of tiny eggs inside whatever foods they have infested. The weevils are so small that many people do not even realize they have a problem with them until their young have hatched, and it usually takes about two months before the eggs hatch once they have been laid.

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Even though it may be tempting for many people, it is probably best to avoid getting rid of flour weevils with toxic chemicals. The fact that the weevils inhabit food items means that the chemicals would need to be applied either directly on or near food, and this could be dangerous. Bay leaves and cloves both naturally repel flour weevils, and these can be safely placed inside containers housing food as well as scattered around cupboards. Insecticides contain pyrethins, which are naturally occurring chemical compounds that will repel insects, may also be safe to use in cupboards, but care should be taken to avoid letting this type of insecticide come in contact with food products.

People can usually prevent flours weevils by taking care to keep their flour and other grains closed up in air-tight containers. Bags or boxes containing processed foods like cereal, oatmeal, or bread should also be kept tightly closed at all times. Another good way of keeping weevils at bay is to keep crumbs and other types of food debris wiped up from the insides of cupboards on a regular basis. Flour weevils have good senses of smell, and they are capable of traveling great distances to inhabit any grains that they sense are nearby.

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Discuss this Article

browncoat
Post 3

That seems like a pretty good tip to keep cloves and bay leaves out on the shelves. I haven't heard that before. Generally I try to keep my shelves as clean as possible, because I tend to get ants as well as weevils in the flour if I'm not careful.

I might try making little cloth bags with the herbs and spices and use those to keep it neat.

Ana1234
Post 2

@clintflint - The best way to check if flour has weevils is to pour a bit of it out and wait for a while, watching it carefully. If there are weevils in the flour then they generally wriggle around a little bit and you will see bits of flour moving. You just have to be careful to hold the flour still, because it's easy to think you have them if you don't.

In white flour they are pretty easy to spot anyway, but if you've got wholemeal flour, they are tough to pick out unless you do this.

clintflint
Post 1

The best way to prevent weevils is to store everything in plastic containers, not in the paper bags that flour usually arrives in. No matter how well you seal the paper bag, flour bugs will almost always find their way in eventually and once they are in there, you might as well throw the whole bag away.

The only thing is, you have to make sure you check each new bag before you add it to the older stuff in the plastic container, because you don't want to inadvertently add some weevils into your existing flour.

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