Dealing with Beetles

by Doris Donnerman
(last updated July 26, 2008)

Pantry weevils, also known as flour beetles, are pests that invade cereal, pasta, flour, corn meal, nuts, seeds, spices, cake mixes, corn starch, grain, dried fruit, dry pet food, and powdered milk. They eat the dry foodstuffs, lay eggs in the foodstuffs, and then the larvae eat their way further into the product, continuing a vicious cycle. The beetles leave behind fecal material, shed their skin, and otherwise contaminate the food. If you've ever opened an outdated box of pasta, poured it into boiling water, and seen tiny brown or black specks rise to the top, then you've seen flour beetles. If you've seen them in your boiling pasta water, chances are they have also invaded your bags of flour and boxes of cereal.

If you suspect that you may have beetles in your home, follow these guidelines and tips to eradicate them:

  • Remove all foodstuffs from your pantry and/or kitchen cupboards.
  • If you can see weevils inside of a bag of food, put the bag of food inside of a garbage bag, tie it shut, and take it outside immediately. Weevils leave a web-like larvae sack inside of food containers. If you have a weevil infestation, those web-like structures are easy to spot. If you know that the food contains weevils, throw it out.
  • If you cannot see a web sack inside of a bag of food, but you suspect that it might contain weevils, place the food inside of a freezer for at least three days. The cold will kill the weevil larvae, if present. If you cannot put the food into a freezer, place it into an airtight glass or plastic container, or a thick zipper-closure freezer bag.
  • Before you place items back into your pantry or kitchen cupboards, thoroughly vacuum those areas. Take your vacuum cleaner outside, remove the bag, place it inside of a garbage bag, and then seal it shut. If you have a bagless vacuum, take the vacuum outside, remove the container, empty it into a garbage bag, seal the bag immediately, and then rinse the container thoroughly with water.
  • Using bleach and hot, soapy water, entirely wash your pantry and kitchen cupboards. If you can remove the shelves, wash them in your kitchen sink. If not, make sure that you get into the cracks and crevices with the cleaning solution. Remove and destroy all shelf liner, since weevils can live and breed in shelf liners. Thoroughly rinse and dry the pantry and cupboards.

Before replacing food stuffs into your clean pantry and cupboards, spray those areas with an insecticide that is specifically geared for kitchen use and killing weevils. Follow the directions on the label as to safe use and handling. Always place dry foodstuffs inside of air tight containers to avoid beetle infestations.

Author Bio

Doris Donnerman

Doris is a jack of all trades, writing on a variety of topics. Her articles have helped enlighten and entertain thousands over the years. ...

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