Saturday, May 31, 2014

How to Handle Weevils

Okay everyone, I am going to deviate from my normal blogging today.  I have lived in Florida for almost a decade now.  At first every pest problem I had was shocking.  I have had my fair share of battles with sugar ants, roaches (two different kinds at that), spiders (although they were also a problem in Jersey), and flies.  I thought by this point I have learned all of the tricks and can keep my house mostly pest free.  I kept all of my food (as well as certain soaps and tea light candles) in sealed plastic bags or containers after losing so much of it to sugar ants.  I thought nothing could make me lose all of my pantry food and make me go into an all out war again.  I was wrong.

It all started a few months back.  I had a friend over for dinner and I was making fish with broccoli and orzo.  I seasoned the water just how I wanted it and dumped in the orzo when it started to boil.  Soon after I noticed something float to the top.  It was a single tiny black bug.  My friend was already in the kitchen so I asked her to take a look.  She had seen them before and was pretty nonchalant about it.  She told me it was a weevil and we scooped it out of the water.  I inspected the box and what was in the pot, I couldn't see any more floating around.  So, in true college student style, we decided to eat it anyways.  Stuff like that happens, especially in the south.

I month or two later I was going to make chicken parmesan for dinner, and was poking around the cabinet for the flower.  When I pulled it out of its plastic bag I noticed more weevils.  This time they were alive and crawling around in quite larger numbers.  I did a quick google search to figure out what was going on.  I was in for a shock.  These things place their larva into grains and hatch in your pantry.  Almost all grains you buy (including your pasta and flour) has weevil larva in it, you just cannot tell until they start to hatch.  They are completely harmless, and apparently not toxic if you eat them, however they do eat your grains and are not something that you want sprinkled in your cookies.  There are quite a few different kinds, but from a visual comparison it looked like I had a bad case of rice weevils.

Appetizing.  Thank you Gold Miner Pest for this image.

  I quickly started digging through the pantry to see where they were coming from.  As I did I was finding more and more food that was infested.  I finally found what I thought was item zero.  A bag of brown rice that I knew in my gut that I had bought, but couldn't find.  It got shoved into the way back of the pantry and I had bought another bag thinking I was just going crazy.  As soon as it was in site you could hear the movement in the bag, the light scratching sound.  I had a photo of the infested bag, but my phone is still down.  Sorry, but I doubt you really wanted to see it anyways.

I freaked out a little bit, then went and put on my big girl panties and put on some gloves and grabbed a trash bag.  As I was going through and throwing out food I found another discovery.  A small green container with a small bag of flower in it.  All of my flower was in plastic bags and I had been using that method for a while.  This had to be left over from my last pantry purge which shamefully was a little over a year prior.  To my horror it was completely covered in small weevils that were managing to get out of the container even though it had a decent seal.  These things are trickier than german roaches!  So I found the real product zero and ended up losing about $200 worth of food.  Unlike roaches and sugar ants, they can eat through the ziplock style plastic bags I was using to store some of my food and wiggle their way into my cheaper tupperware.

I vacuumed out my cabinet, bleached it, spread around tea tree oil, and added a bunch of bay leaves for good measure (apparently the smell of bay leaves and tea tree oil repels them).  My life was back to normal, or so I thought.

It was just two days later when I noticed something fall onto the counter as I was making breakfast.  It was a weevil.  The cabinet that was infected was still empty and I couldn't find any sign of them!  Where could this one have come from?  Surely not the canned goods cabinet!  With great trepidation I opened it up.  Immediately I noticed something out of place.  There was a box of minute rice in there, and yep, it had a few weevils in it.  I took it out the the dumpster and gave that cabinet the same treatment as the other one.

Just to make sure I was done with them forever, I inspected the cereal on top of the fridge.  It was clean.
Then, just to amuse myself I checked the tight glass containers that I keep my rices and spaghetti in.  To my horror the container of newer brown rice had a few in it.  I had to toss it, along with the white rice just to be safe.  I don't eat white rice that often so if it did get weevils I wouldn't notice in time.  These little suckers managed to make it though every storage technique I know!

A month has gone by since then, and so far I have been weevil free.  I have picked up some new storage habits that hopefully will prevent anything like this from happening again (I don't know how many times I have said that by this point >.< ).

If you get weevils, follow the steps that I did and you should be able to get rid of them.  As far as prevention goes, I store all of my grains in my freezer now.  I read that you could simply freeze them for a few weeks and place them into a sturdy air tight container, but I don't trust that now.  Some of the grains I lost I thought were in sturdy air tight containers.  Luckily I have a large freezer in my garage and I have the space to store grains in it.  Please learn from my pain and freeze your grains, at least for a few weeks, use them quickly, and store them correctly.  I don't want anyone else to lose a lot of food.

Also, I never let this experience stop me from enjoying brown rice.  I actually ate some while writing this.  Be bold!  Don't let bad experiences stop you from enjoying that food.

No comments:

Post a Comment