bugs in flour

Any idea what little black bugs are, about the size of a sesame seed, that have bored into a sack of flour? And how do I rid my pantry of same? Thanks!

  • Posted by: Diana B
  • September 21, 2013
  • 2762 views
  • 9 Comments

9 Comments

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Valerie Stivers
Valerie Stivers September 21, 2013

I can't remember if the infestations I've had were black in color, since it's been a while... I think they were more long and thin crescent-like shaped, about sesame-seed sized. We had chronic problems with these bugs for a while, and so did other people in our building. We all shop at the same place so we were blaming the supermarket, perhaps unfairly. Anyway, our bugs liked flour, rice, sweet things, & nuts and tended to have a few areas of concentration. To eventually finally get rid of them we had to throw out everything in the cabinet that they liked/may have laid eggs in, which was basically all un-sealed items excepting baking powder & etc., clean the cabinet with bleach, dust all the woodwork and surrounding walls for stray egg-deposits (forget what these looked like, but they were visible). That worked and I haven't had them in a few years. I also started keeping flours & nuts that I don't use up fast in the freezer.

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Diana B
Diana B September 21, 2013

I did that last year, but it didn't take them long to re-establish. I've thrown away what they bored into, but there has to be something I can do to kill them that doesn't entail emptying the pantry (again...)!

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Valerie Stivers
Valerie Stivers September 21, 2013

I feel your pain. Just purging the pantry never worked for me either, until I combined it with the surrounding-wall technique and keeping some stuff in the freezer. Could have been lucky timing though, but that did seem to work. Other theories in my building are that they're coming in with the groceries so nothing we can do.

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LE BEC FIN
LE BEC FIN September 22, 2013

likely weevils. storage in frzr is best bet. for the current batch, wou COULD put all grains and flours in the frzr for a day to kill the weevils, and then sift them out. certainly won't hurt you but yes ugh. i don't have weevils but do have grain moths and sealing in tight bins and including bay leaves is old technique i'm going to try for the moths. try googling weevil prevention.

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ChefOno
ChefOno September 22, 2013

I think we've all been there. My solution has been Oxo "pop" containers for storing all their preferred targets. The plastic is thick enough the little bastards can't chew through like they can commercial packaging. How do I know? Sometimes the bugs originate along the distribution path and end up inside the containers. I have one that's been scarred from the inside after such an occurrence. I lost a few pounds of flour but at least they weren't able to contaminate the entire pantry.

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Diana B
Diana B September 22, 2013

Interesting, ChefOno - I've just been Googling and came to the same conclusion, so me and my 20%-off coupon are headed to Bed, Bath & Beyond tomorrow, mourning the bag of pastry flour that just bit the dust...

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cookbookchick
cookbookchick September 22, 2013

The Oxo pop-up lid containers have been the answer for me, too.

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Panfusine
Panfusine September 22, 2013

They're weevils I'm believe the eggs are already present in the flour, (and at levels allowed by the USDA)and hatch up in due course, esp as time goes by. If they're few then just sift the flour and then transfer it to an airtight container.. for coarser flours like semolina, lightly toast the flour (toasting also brings out a nuttier flavor in the semolina), cool down & then store in airtight jars.
Personally, I'd take the weevils any day over the creepy moth larvae. The weevils are easy to pick out and toss and wont squish up when you pick them!
& yes, from experience, If you see some of those horrid moth larvae, promptly seal/tape up all those little holes bored in your cabinet (that are used to fir the shelves), those little vermin get in there to pupate & emerge out as moths

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Diana B
Diana B September 22, 2013

$140 later, I'm wondering if it would just have been cheaper to throw flour and pasta out once in a while! No, I guess not - weevils are just too disgusting.

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