Weevils often infest grains and other food items in your kitchen and pantry, and you should throw out the food if you find them there. But do weevils bite humans, or are they harmless to us? Let’s find out.
Imagine you are enjoying a bowl of deliciously cooked pasta, and all of a sudden, you find a tiny beetle-like insect in it. Gross right?
This might seem like a far-fetched scenario, but such things are common when weevils roam around your house.
These tiny insects belong to the beetle family and are notoriously famous for infesting major food sources like grains and seeds.
They are capable of damaging food grains like rice, corn, and more. But how harmful is it to have these insects around your food? Do they cause severe infections and diseases? Are they poisonous? How can one get rid of them?
All of these questions about weevils will be thoroughly answered in this article. So put on your reading glasses.
Do Weevils Bite Humans?
Weevils are a type of beetle that has a pear-shaped body with noticeable snouts. Weevils have their mouths near the end of this elongated snout. It has biting and chewing mouthparts, which they use to eat their food.
These creatures rarely attack or bite humans. Also, they don’t cause harm to your furniture or other household items.
The only destruction they usually cause is to seeds and food grains, and roots that they eat.
However, the female adult weevils can bite while looking for a place to lay their eggs. Therefore be careful while approaching these insects.
Are They Dangerous?
Although weevils are closely linked to the food that we consume, they do not trigger infection or diseases in the human body.
However, they definitely will infest the food grains and seeds in your home, including popcorn, garden seeds, seed decorations, and more.
Therefore try to keep these food grains locked in airtight containers to avoid weevil infestations.
If certain grains are already infested, keep them open in the sunlight to get rid of the weevils. Direct sunlight is harmful to these pests.
Are They Poisonous?
These small beetles are not poisonous. So by accident, if you find a weevil in your food, there is no need to worry.
You will be surprised to know that weevils in your food grain are significant indicators of the presence of pesticides in them.
If you find dead weevils in a sack of grains, there is a high chance of pesticides being present in them.
Some Common Weevils Found in Homes
Weevils are often classified by the food that they infest. There are three main types: fruit and grain weevils, vine weevils, and root weevils. The last two infest plants and are unlikely to be found in your pantry.
We discuss below some of the common weevils found in both grains and gardens.
As the name suggests, rice weevils live in rice and are a type of granary weevils. These weevils have a reddish brown to black body with yellow or red spots on them.
They originated from the Indomalayan part of the world. The adults show an average growth of 0.125 inches. Both the adults and larvae have a snout that they use to hollow out food grains.
Wheat weevils are another type of grain weevils. These insects are usually seen living in food and grains like oats, dry pasta, rice, and more. They grow to about 0.12–0.20 inches in length.
One fascinating thing about them is that when these insets feel threatened, they usually pull their limbs close to the body to act as if they are dead.
They can cause massive damage to harvested grains and crops.
Strawberry root weevils
As the name suggests, these weevils feed on the tiny roots of the strawberry plant. They also eat up the roots of some other evergreen trees and shrubs.
The strawberry root weevil is about 0.25 inches long and has a distinctive dark brown body. If you look closely, you will notice that they have a round abdomen and shorter snouts than some of the other bugs from the weevil family.
Surprisingly, flour weevils aren’t considered a part of the real weevil family. They are commonly known as flour beetles.
These insects got their name because they infest flour rather than wheat. They can be around 0.118-0.15 inches long and have a reddish-brown colored body.
Apart from flour, they also eat cereals, dry fruits, and more.
Bean weevils aren’t real weevils, either. This is mainly because of the absence of the snout.
These insects consume grains and are usually seen infesting different beans and seeds. They prefer to live inside a seed for a significant part of their lives.
The bean weevils are found in different sizes ranging from 0.039-0.86 inches. You can find them in brown and black shades.
You must have figured by the name that these weevils like to consume cowpeas. Apart from that, they also eat green grams and lentils.
Similar to the previous two, these insects are not considered real weevils as they do not possess an elongated snout.
The adults have an average growth of 0.125 inches and have reddish-brown elongated bodies. The cowpea weevil larvae usually develop inside dried peas.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can weevils be in your bed?
Weevils generally don’t live in furniture, but they can slip into your bedroom through a food source like grains.
When you bring food that might contain weevils to your room, these insects get an excellent opportunity to slip into your beds.
They can also come in from your garden through an open window, or if you have aired your bedding outside, they might cling on and come inside your bedroom.
Can weevils infest your house?
Weevils usually do not cause any harm to the furniture and other household items, but they can easily creep their way in via door and window cracks present in your home.
Therefore be careful with cracks and other openings in your house, and fill them up with caulk. They can also enter through a food source, as mentioned earlier, even packed ones.
What happens if you eat flour with weevils?
There is no harm in accidentally consuming flour with weevils. Even though the thought might gross you out, these insects are not poisonous and will not cause any infections or diseases.
However, this does not mean that you can eat rice or flour infested with weevils. If you find them in your food, either throw away the entire batch or salvage it by leaving it out in the sun.
What do weevils turn into?
Weevils don’t turn into anything. They are a type of nonflying beetle themselves.
You might have seen their larvae inside your packed food, but they grow into small black or brown weevils, and they don’t undergo any metamorphosis.
Weevils are harmless to humans but troublesome for food. Having these tiny beetles feasting on your food is the last thing you would want.
With the right information, you can handle them with ease. We hope this article provided the information that you were looking for.
Thank you for reading the piece.
Weevils can be big pests around the house, and it’s no surprise that our readers are also wary about their ability to bite.
They also look like bed bugs sometimes, which makes it even harder not to freak out if you see one.
Go through some of the letters below to understand why these bugs are so reviled.
Letter 1 – Botany Bay Weevil: POISONED and survived!!!!
Fluoro green bug from Australia, or is it?
Attached to this email is a photo of an unidentified insect beside some coins for size reference. I found this bug below my sink. I am from the south east coast of Australia and I am curious to know:
1. Is this insect venomous/dangerous (stings, itches, etc, possible cause of bed bugs? If so… Its a wonder I haven’t missed them the first time!). As you can see by the pics its is fluoro green in color with black spots. Perhaps like many of the insect life on the Australian east coast, maybe its one of those insects that have this black spotty coat to warn predators of itself? Would slightly than normal summer temperatures be bringing this insect to our doorstep, or would any of the garden plants we have here in our backyard be attracting it? The temperatures we have been experiencing recently have reached around 100 degrees Fahrenheit (30+ degrees Celsius) you see.
2. Is it an Australian native insect? If it isn’t I will strongly consider destroying it, seeing that native flora and fauna has enough trouble trying to cope with many introduced species, and finally… 3. …why are it’s legs still slowly moving!? We have recently scattered some insect poison around the toilet floor to kill some roaches. This insect seemed to have been affected, as it seemed lifeless, at first. It seems though to be sort of waking up, as if it was recovering from a hangover or something! (yipes!)
Please respond when you can.
This is a Botany Bay Weevil which we located on an Australian Beetle Site. According to the site: “the Botany Bay weevil Chrysolopus spectabilis – up to 25 mm long – is active at this time of the year feeding on acacias. Despite the name, it lives right throughout south east Australia. The Botany Bay Weevil, was one of the first Australian insects to be described from material collected in 1770 by Joseph Banks, a naturalist who landed at Botany Bay with Captain Cook.” So it does not sting or bite. It is native. The acacias are attracting it and we have no comment on poison.
To whom it may concern at WhatsThatBug.
My father and I have set the Botany Bay weevil free. As soon as took it out of the pouch i was keeping it in, it wiggled all its limbs and slowly crawled away! Talk about a miracle of Christmas! 😀 Thanks heaps for the advice, and I’ll be sure to refer your site to others.
Letter 2 – Botany Bay Weevil
Hi there bugman
I found this bug on christmas day last year (and what a great present it was!) in my garden in Sydney, Australia. I’ve been puzzling over him for a while, and still have no clue. I was guessing some sort of weevil? I’d really love to know for sure, since I plan to get my little buddy as part of a bug tattoo sleeve I’m planning. In one of the photos, I’m hoping you’ll be able to see the lovely iridescent spots he’s got going on. I absolutely love your site, it’s been very useful to me, not just for general bug wonderings, but for drawing this entire tattoo! Hopefully you can help me out, I’d really appreciate it.
There is quite a bit of online information on your Botany Bay Weevil, Chrysolopus spectabilis. When you get that tattoo, we would love some photos of it.
Letter 3 – Botany Bay Weevil from Australia
Subject: What’s this turquoise and black bug we found??
Location: Sydney, Australia
November 27, 2012 5:51 pm
Hi there! My kiddos found this bug on their bedroom window this morning (28/11/2012 – spring) and because it’s one we’ve never seen before we wanted to know what it was! We’re also a homeschooling family so this is a great opportunity for us to do an impromptu unit study and learn more about the things in the world around us! However, we can’t really study an unidentified insect so we’re hoping you can help. The bug is around 2cm long, is black with turquoise-coloured markings and the front of it’s face is long like a snout with antennae on the end. We understand that you can’t answer everyone but we’re looking forward to your reply if possible. Thanks so much! Regards, Amanda Ramirez.
Signature: Ramirez family in Sydney Australia
Letter 4 – Bottlebrush Weevil from Costa Rica
Do you have any idea what kind of beetle this is and more impotantly why it has hair on it’s long horn and face? Thank you.
A change in the way we are receiving email and problems posting to the site have impacted the time we have for research. Since we have a dedicated reader who really enjoys searching the internet and identifying creatures that stump us there should be a proper identification soon. There are other Weevils with similar hair, but we cannot tell you the reason.
ID on Unknown weevil from Costa Rica
What a magnificent and rather huge beast! I believe this is the same weevil as the one shown in “Weevil from Panama is Cuban Weevil” (05/02/2006). As Diane pointed out back then, it appears on three different postage stamps at: http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~ch2m-nitu/osazoums.htm And in a photo at: http://www.bugnation.co.uk/viewtopic.php?p=38132&sid=3fb17eaedae231a27b673adc617c659e So this is apparently Rhina oblita Jacquelin du Val, 1857, the Cuban Weevil. Some weevils are naturally hairy. My guess would be that in beetles that eat flowers, or any part of a plant which is really sticky, perhaps it’s much easier to comb droplets of sticky gunk off of hairs, than it is to try to scrape gunk off of your exoskeleton?
Ok, looks like the bearded weevil is the “bottlebrush weevil,” Rhinostomus (formerly Rhina) barbirostris. Thanks to Insectia.com and GodofInsects.com for images and a little information. The specimen has to be a male, as females do not have the hairy snout.
Thank you Susan and Eric for your continued support.
Letter 5 – Bottlebrush Weevil from Costa Rica
Subject: Costa Rica Trip
Geographic location of the bug: Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Time: 08:56 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Found this dead in the pool on our trip to Costa Rica. I did put it poolside as sometimes a “drowned” insect can come back…but with all the birds and lizards, I’m sure the insect ended up a snack.
Bonus image is a cute little velvet ant from San Jose, Costa Rica
How you want your letter signed: Traveling guy
Letter 6 – Cocklebur Weevil
Could you please help in identifying this small beetle? It is a small (5-7 mm long) red or reddish with several black spots. It looks like a weevil, or snout beetle. The picture was taken in mid-summer, in Southern Ohio.
We will see if Eric Eaton can provide a species name for your red spotted Weevil. Eric soon offered his assistance: ” The red-spotted weevil is most likely the Cocklebur Weevil, Rhodobaenus tredecimpunctatus. Certainly the genus is correct, the species could possibly be different, as there are two in Ohio.”
Letter 7 – Cocklebur Weevil
Subject: A long proboscis
Location: Andover, NJ
May 25, 2014 5:00 pm
Hoping you can id this one for me. Found it today on a patch of bee-balm (not blooming yet) and thought it looked like a red milkweed beetle except for the very long proboscis. It was between 1/4 and 1/2 inch in length and the colors in the photo are accurate.
Hope you can help!
Signature: Deborah Bifulco
Your beetle is a Cocklebur Weevil, Rhodobaenus tredecimpunctatus, or another member of the genus, and according to BugGuide: “Breeds in Asteraceae such as cocklebur (Xanthium), ironweed (Vernonia), joe-pye-weed (Eupatorium), ragweed (Ambrosia).” Bee Balm is in the mint family, so we don’t believe this individual was feeding on the plant upon which it was discovered. Perhaps you have some of the identified foodplants in your garden or growing as weeds nearby. We especially like the image with your Cocklebur Weaving beginning to take flight.
Thanks for the iD, Daniel! I actually do have both Joe Pye and ironweed starting to come up around the yard, so perhaps the little guy was just having a rest in the bee balm patch. A very cool looking little bug – glad to know what it is.
Letter 8 – Green Immigrant Leaf Weevil
I found these beetle east of Winnipeg ,Manitoba in a camp ground called Lilac Resort. They were about 1⁄4 of an inch long. One hitched a ride home in one of our coolers without us knowing. Although I couldn’t find any beetles that look like this one on your site, it looks akin to the blister or tiger beetle; although I’m certain it’s neither. Can you ID it for me? Thank you,
According to BugGuide, the Green Immigrant Leaf Weevil, Polydrusus sericeus, is widespread in the Eastern U.S. and Canada where it was introduced from Europe. It feeds on the leaves of yellow birch.
Letter 9 – Weevil from Puerto Rico: Green Immigrant Leaf Weevil
Unknown weevil Costa Rica
July 17, 2009
I have a photo of a weevil as my screensaver that looks a lot like the glittery weevil you are having trouble identifying. I took the photo from one of your reader’s website. You can view more photos of the weevil there. Father Sanchez has it listed as Polydrusus and he is located in Puerto Rico. http://www.kingsnake.com/westindian/
Keep up the great work!
Andrea with the anatomically correct butterfly tattoos 🙂 Hollywood, CA
How nice to hear from you again. We have also had email exchanges with Father Sanchez. We love his website. We are linking to BugGuide’s page on the Green Immigrant Leaf Weevil, a European species that has naturalized in North America. Though we are inclined to agree that this weevil and our Costa Rican Weevil look the same, we would really like to get an expert opinion on that. Thanks so much for providing this information.