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Rice Weevils

Classification: Insect
Color: Reddish brown/black with four yellow or red spots on wing covers
Size: ⅛ inch long
Distinguishing features: Long snout (about 1/3 of weevil’s total length)
Eats: Whole grains, buckwheat, dried beans, nuts seed, cereal products, popcorn and more
Interesting fact: Despite its name, macaroni noodles appear to be the favorite food of rice weevils when they are in your pantry.

Rice Weevils Consume More Than Rice in Your Pantry

The rice weevil does eat the rice for which it is named, but if it gets inside your food storage area it can make a feast of many foods, including:

  • Whole grains (wheat, corn, oats, rye, barley)
  • Dried beans
  • Cashew nuts
  • Wild bird seed
  • Popcorn
  • Flower seeds

The rice weevil usually enters your home inside an infected food product.

Stout-bodied pests

Rice weevils are only ⅛ inch long, and one-third of that length is due to its long snout. This bug is reddish brown to black in color, and has four yellow or red spots on its hard, protective wing covers. There are also deep, irregular pits behind its head.

The female rice weevil chews a hole into the kernel of some grain, lays one egg and then seals the hole with a secretion. When the larvae emerge—cream colored with dark heads—they literally eat their way through the grain before entering into the pupa stage. The adults emerge from the husk about 18 days later.

Rice weevils can fly and they are attracted to light.

Rice weevils can stick around for a long time, too, living up to two years, although most last only 6 to 8 months. A female can lay as many as 300 eggs in her lifetime.

Wreaking destruction

Although the rice weevil causes no medical harm—it doesn’t carry sickness nor bite or sting—it is one of the most serious stored grain pests in the world and is a big problem in grain storage areas in the southern United States. It can work its way through many of the foods in your pantry as well.

To remove rice weevils:

  • Place sticky traps throughout the infected area to determine the source of the infestation (the more bugs you trap, the closer the source is likely to be)
  • Remove and dispose of all infected food
  • Vacuum and scrub down shelves

You can kill rice weevils by freezing food at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for three days or heating it to 140 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. To prevent further infestations—or to at least control any further outbreaks—keep all susceptible foods inside glass or plastic pest-proof containers with tight-fitting lids.

Tired of dealing with pantry pests on your own? Call Brody Brothers today to provide some welcome relief from rice weevils and similar food-spoiling insects.

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