What are the Different Types of Flour Weevils?

Debra Durkee

Several bugs are commonly referred to as flour weevils. One can be found laying eggs in home stores of flour, cereal, and other grain products. This type is called a flour weevil, but is physically more a beetle, and more accurately known by its other name of flour beetle. Another type of pest that thrives on stored grain products is the grain weevil, which has the characteristic long muzzle of a true weevil.

If flour weevils are founds in the home, it is important to carefully disinfect the kitchen with household cleaning products.
If flour weevils are founds in the home, it is important to carefully disinfect the kitchen with household cleaning products.

In a true weevil, the head of the bug is tapered into a long snout. It is the difference in the head that defines the difference between a weevil and a beetle. The two types of pests commonly referred to as the flour weevil are actually beetles: the flour beetle and the red flour beetle. Grain weevils are more commonly seen in agricultural settings where large amounts of grain are kept for feed or processing. It is possible to have a home infestation of true weevils; these are usually brought into the home in products like dry pet foods, birdseed, and ornamentals, such as gourds.

In general, flour weevils lay eggs in cereal, flour, and other grain products.
In general, flour weevils lay eggs in cereal, flour, and other grain products.

Adult flour beetles, or flour weevils, infest grain products such as flour, cereal, and even pet food that has been stored in the home or in stores. Eggs are laid, and the larvae emerge in the form of small, pale brown worms. These worms have earned the flour beetles the more popular name of flour weevil, as the larvae of the flour beetles look extremely similar to the larvae of true weevils.

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These flour weevils can live for years in a warm climate, and a female can lay hundreds of eggs during her lifetime. Larvae are pale in color, but adults are dark, shiny, and reddish-brown. These adults have an oval shape similar to the body of a true weevil, but lack the elongated head. The flour beetle and the red flour beetle both have wings, whereas the true grain weevil does not. A similar type of weevil, the rice weevil, does have wings.

Keeping the kitchen free of flour weevils can require a thorough cleaning and disinfecting once they have been found. Leaving open boxes on the shelves for long periods of time can increase the chance of flour weevils, so sealing grain products in plastic containers can go a long way in helping to prevent infestation. Any boxes that have been contaminated should be immediately discarded away from the home to keep the bugs from returning. Flour weevils of all kinds can leave the product of the original infestation and spread to other areas of the home.

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Discussion Comments


@Grivusangel -- I had a bout with weevils, too. I started keeping all my flour and cornmeal in the freezer! That did the job. No more weevils. I have metal cabinets now and I haven't seemed to have a problem. I had wooden cabinets in my other house and they were a constant problem, no matter how much I cleaned and disinfected inside them.

I haven't been keeping my flour in the freezer since I've had the metal cabinets and I haven't had the problem again. I don't know why that would make a difference. Maybe they just multiply in and on organic material, like wood.


We had a weevil infestation several years ago. I thought I never would get all the little devils out of my house! One thing I do is keep all my flour in zip top bags in a flour canister. I do the same thing for my cornmeal mix. My canisters are stoneware, so the weevils don't get in there. They also have silicone gasket seals. I haven't had any weevil problems since I started using the stoneware canisters. I guess they're not attracted to the stoneware, so they don't even try to get inside them. That’s a relief to me, for sure.

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