A problem that not a lot of people are aware of is bugs in flour. Weevils, Indian meal moths, and sawtoothed grain beetles are a few pests that can get into wheat, rice, cornmeal, oats, flour, and other cereal products in your pantry or during the production process. We're going to walk you through how to identify different types of bugs in flour, what to do to control or eliminate these pests, and how to prevent insects from getting into your flour in the first place.
The first step in preventing or managing tiny bugs in your house is identification. To effectively control pest populations and prevent a reinfestation you can follow these steps:
- Carefully examine your pantry and different products like brown rice, corn, wheat flour, seeds, or other ingredients.
- Look for live bugs, webbing, cocoons, eggs, larvae, shed skins, beetles or worms, and take note of any characteristics that stick out to you (e.g., shape, size, color, or pattern.)
- Inspect other areas in your kitchen. Food storage and preparation areas like the kitchen counter, drawer, shelf, pantry, and cabinets are prone to pest infestations.
- Compare your findings to insect guides, pictures, videos, or descriptions. For instance, resources will be able to tell you that rice weevils are a red-brown color, have a snout, and are about 1/16 to 1/8 inch long bugs.
- Consult a professional pest control specialist or entomologist to help you identify the bugs in your flour and what steps to take next.
Reasons Why These Bugs May Be Present in the Flour
Bugs in flour get there and stay there for a number of reasons that include:
- These bugs feed on specific pantry items
- Food items that you buy at the grocery are infected during the manufacturing process in a factory or as it is being delivered from a store
- Bugs make their way into your home through entryways and find their way into the pantry to infect your flour
- There's a chance that the paper packaging or boxes that your pantry items came in were not properly sealed, wrapped, or were damaged
- Weevils can also enter through improperly wrapped or damaged packaging, where they can lay eggs and begin reproducing
How Flour Can Get Infested
Flour can get infested by different bugs because:
- Flour is usually kept, moved, and processed in large volumes which makes it susceptible to an infestation at any of these stages
- Parasites can get into flour during transportation, storage in a mill, warehouse, or another food processing facility
- Packaging is improperly sealed or has been damaged which creates an entry point for insects
- Flour isn't kept in a cool, dry location at home and is left unsealed
- Flour left in storage for too long or in a container that isn't cleaned before being refilled could be infested.
How to Get Rid of Bugs in Flour
Now you can dive into the different ways to get rid of bugs in flour with and without the use of chemicals.
To get rid of bugs in flour, there are natural methods that don't require the use of chemicals that you can choose from:
- Freezing pantry items for at least 72 hours. Any adult weevils, larvae, and eggs that may be present in the flour or grain will be killed by this.
- Using airtight containers to store pantry items keeps weevils from their food source and from laying eggs in it.
- Routine pantry inspections and swiftly getting rid of any infested items.
- Keeping a clean and tidy pantry, kitchen, and storage facilities removes potential feeding and breeding grounds
- Repel these insects by using bay leaves, cloves, or cedarwood.
- Sift flour using a fine-mesh strainer, collecting any weevils or larvae that are present
- Learning how to use a vacuum cleaner to physically remove bugs from the pantry or other kitchen areas
If you are thinking of using chemical products to eliminate bugs in flour, you can use:
- Insecticides in the form of baits, sprays, or dust to kill adult weevils, larvae, and eggs
- Stomach or contact pesticides will kill bugs on contact or when ingested
When using any chemical products, keep the following safety precautions in mind:
- Always read the product label and follow the directions outlined by the manufacturer
- Use the right chemical product for the type of bugs in your flour in the recommended quantities
- Wear safety gear like goggles, a mask, and gloves
- Leave the area after using a chemical product as instructed by the manufacturer to prevent exposure to pesticides and insecticides
- Store chemical solutions away from children, pets, and food preparation areas
- Properly dispose of chemical products according to the manufacturer or your state rules and regulations
We recommend doing your research on how effective different methods are for the various bugs in flour. Use a mix of combinations or contact a professional pest control specialist to handle your infestation.
The best defense against a bug infestation in your flour and other pantry items is prevention. Protect your flour from an infestation by:
- Frequently check flour, cereal, and other dry goods in your pantry for signs of an infestation
- Store dry items in airtight containers or in the refrigerator
- Maintain the cleanliness of your kitchen by cleaning up spills and crumbs immediately
- Remove old caulk and re-seal any potential entry points in the wall, floor, door, or roof
- Check on goods before you store them and throw out infested products from the grocery right away
- Keep your windows and doors closed and use screens or door sweeps as needed
- Avoid moisture from gathering in food storage areas because it can attract insects
- Use a natural barrier of boric acid or food-grade diatomaceous earth to keep pests out of food storage
- Keep bushes and trees pruned away from your house
All of these best practices can help you keep bugs away from flour and other items in your pantry.
Bottom Line: Bugs in Flour
This article dived into the different bugs in flour with the most popular one being weevils. These bugs can find themselves in flour before or during the manufacturing process or simply found their way into your home, found your pantry, and stayed there.
However, these bugs can be eliminated with natural repellants and methods as well as chemical products. Just like bugs in rice, you can prevent insects from infesting your flour by keeping your kitchen, food preparation, and storage areas clean, regularly inspecting products from the grocery for signs of an infestation, sealing off potential entryways, getting rid of moisture sources, pruning your garden, and using natural barriers. When these methods and products don't work, consult an expert pest control specialist to diagnose the infestation and eliminate the insects.
Bugs in Flour FAQs
What brings to the presence of bugs in flour?
Bugs in flour may be there because it is their main food source, they contaminated dry food products during the manufacturing process, your home has entry points for these bugs, or product packaging is not sealed well or is damaged.
Where do weevils typically live?
Weevils will usually live in flour but will also thrive in other pantry items and areas of your kitchen.
How can I avoid becoming infested with weevils?
Keep all areas of your kitchen clean, use airtight containers, inspect pantry items, and get rid of any infested food right away.
How does flour get infected during production and transportation?
Flour can get infested during the storage, transferring, or processing stage. Food processing facilities can be unsanitary or the packaging of dried goods is damaged which leads to an infestation.
How can I eradicate weevil infestations in the things in my pantry?
You can freeze infested items, vacuum weevils, use natural repellants, or opt for an insecticide or pesticide to kill the bugs in flour or other pantry items.
How can I ward against pantry bugs with natural repellents like essential oils?
You can use peppermint oil as a spray to repel bugs from the pantry or use soaked cotton balls in these areas to protect your kitchen.
Are there risks involved in using insecticides to control weevils?
Yes, insecticides can be used incorrectly. You can either use insecticide on the wrong type of insect or in the wrong dosage. Make sure to read and follow manufacturer instructions before using any chemical products.
Do the weather and environment have an impact on weevil infestations and control strategies?
Yes, the environment and weather can affect weevil infestation and control strategies so you need to make sure you understand the specific weevil species you're trying to get rid of.