Rice weevils can infest your kitchen cabinets and eat rice from your containers, lay their eggs on it and even poop on it. Thoroughly disgusted? Here’s how to get rid of them!
The sight of a small reddish-brown beetle crawling in your rice containers might be disgusting for most people. These bugs are called rice weevils. They are responsible for causing massive damage to rice grains by eating them and chewing holes in them to lay eggs.
Therefore it is crucial to remove these pests away from your homes to make sure that food stays hygienic and safe.
This article will explain a few tricks that you can try to eliminate the population of these troublesome creatures from your homes and to prevent them from coming back.
What Are Rice Weevils?
As the name suggests, these weevils are primarily found in areas where rice is stored. They are small beetles that show an average growth of 0.125 inches.
Their bodies are black to reddish brown in color and are topped with a few yellow spots. The rice weevil larvae are legless with a round and white body. Both the larva and adult rice weevil have prolonged snouts with chewing parts.
The adult rice weevil is good at flying (unlike other weevils) and actively chews into the grain from the outside to create hollow cavities for laying eggs.
The female weevils can lay around 300 eggs in multiple-grain holes. The larva grows inside the grain itself.
Where Do Rice Weevils Come From?
Many entomologists claim that rice weevils originated from the Indo – Himalayan part of the world. They traveled to different parts of the globe through the trade in rice. Now you can find these weevils across all parts of the United States, especially North Carolina and Tennessee.
How Do Weevils Get in Rice?
Rice weevils usually attack crops in the field before they are even harvested. Once these grains are harvested and transferred to a food godown, these weevils get transferred as well.
From the storage, they travel to stores where the food products are sold, and from there, it makes their way to your house. Once they enter the house, they can easily creep their way into their primary food sources, like rice and other grains.
How To Get Rid of Grain Weevils?
Store food in airtight containers
If you start storing food in plastic containers, these weevils won’t be able to reach them.
However, there is a high chance that they were already present when you purchased the grains. But this will prevent them from moving to other food items in the kitchen or the house.
Freeze the weevils out
As soon as you buy food like flour, spices, oats, etc., keep them in the freezer for around four days.
This will kill these granary weevils present in them and will prevent their infestation. After a few days, store them in your usual kitchen containers.
Keep the infested grains in sunlight
If you find that a good amount of food grains are already affected by the weevil, put them out in the sunlight for a few hours.
This method will help to rid of the beetles as they like dark spaces and do not prefer to be exposed to sunlight.
Use bay leaves and other home remedies
Keeping bay leaves in rice containers is one of the best ways to get rid of these insects. You can also keep the whole turmeric and garlic in the containers to stop the weevils from attacking them.
Heating the food grains
If you find small quantities of food grains being infested by weevils, heat them at around 140 degrees F for about 15 minutes, this will kill all the weevils present in that source.
However, this technique is not applicable to large quantities of infested food. For that, you might need to dispose of the entire batch.
Preventing Grain Weevils
Once you get rid of these weevils, you must take proper steps to ensure that they don’t reappear.
Therefore, you must immediately empty your cupboards, containers, and other places like tiny wall crack because this is where weevils usually enter from.
Since these shelves are in the kitchen, do not use any insecticides. To keep them from coming, you can start using airtight containers to store grains and food.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kills rice weevils?
Excessive heat or cold will be enough to kill the weevils present in different food sources. Heat an infested food source for 15 minutes at 140 degrees F to kill the weevils.
Also, storing newly purchased food items like oats, flour, spices, and more in the freezer will also kill them.
Should I throw away rice with weevils?
If there are only a few weevils present in the rice, there is no need to throw the batch. You can keep it open in the sunlight to get rid of the weevils.
Other than that, even if you consume a weevil accidentally, it won’t cause any harm to the body.
You can also use the rice to feed birds in your garden. Most birds don’t mind eating insects, and weevils can be a good source of protein for them.
Can you remove weevils from rice?
You can remove weevils from the rice by keeping bay leaves in the containers. You also try storing whole turmeric, garlic, and ginger in the rice containers. Spraying neem oil and other essential oils can also help.
However, if a large portion of the rice is heavily infested, it will be best to get rid of the entire batch.
Can weevils get into sealed packages?
Weevil generally enters food sources through cracks and corners. Therefore they won’t be able to enter sealed packages from the outside.
However, there is a chance that weevils were already present when the food item was initially added to these packages before being packed away.
They might have laid eggs on the rice grains, and when the eggs hatched, they started feeding on the packaged rice directly.
Dealing with weevils can be a big headache, especially if you have a large infestation in the house.
Use the hacks and ideas mentioned in the article to make sure that these weevils are eliminated from your homes and that they do not ever return.
Thank you for reading the article.
How to eradicate weevils or get them out of food is one of the most common questions that we get at whats that bug.
Please read some of the older emails from our readers asking us this questions, and some tips and suggestions on what can be done.
Letter 1 – Botany Bay Weevil from Australia
Can You help
What is this fellow please…..He was on the south coast of NSW on a headland in amongst Banksia, grasses, ferns and she oak on Burri Point near Batemans Bay. Thanks,
This is a Weevil, a type of Beetle. The markings resemble those of a Botany Bay Weevil, though in your photo they appear white and not pale blue. It might be a color variation, or just an inaccurate rendition of the photographic image, or possibly a different species.
Letter 2 – Weevil from Arizona
What is this bug?
Can you tell what type of bug this is? We found it at the Imperial Sand Dunes in California, close to the Arizona and Mexico border. We are curious. Thanks!
The best we were able to do was to say that this is a species of Weevil. We wrote to Eric Eaton who has this to add: ” I think it is something in the genus Ophryastes, but I know someone who would know for sure. I’ll forward the message and see if he can’t help. He is the grand master of North American weevils, but I don’t want to wear out my welcome. Nice specimen in any event! My weevil expert friend just replied. It is indeed Ophryastes, and is 90% certain it is O. aridus.
Letter 3 – pantry weevils
I have a recurring problem with pantry weevils. Each summer I throw out any affected rice, grain etc and clean out the cupboards but the problem will not go away. What else can I do?
The problem with pantry weevils is that they are small, and also capable of flight, so that each time to eradicate the infestation, new weevils can arrive and begin the life cycle anew. According to Hogue “The appearance of these pests in a tightly sealed package of dried food is a source of wonder to housekeepers. Entry is commonly by way of minute imperfections in the seal, but some species may bore through paper and cardboard containers to get at the contents. In other cases, infestations occur when the foods are stored in bulk in railroad cars, warehouses, and at other stops along the processing line.” You will greatly minimize the ravages of the weevil by continuing to dispose of old grains which will prevent a self-perpetuating population explosion within your pantry, but the problem will not go away permanently unless the weevils go away permanently by becoming extinct.
And a word from MOM:
Sorry to say, I heard that those peskiy little critters often come in as teensy undetectable eggs inside your bag of flour or dry pet food (generally in packages that do not have sealed plastic inner bags) and hatch in your
warm cabinets. So tell Kay to store her flour in the refrigerator or freezer until she needs it. Apparently, you can cook it at 130 degrees for half an hour to kill anything that might be in there, but personally, although I can live with eggs I can’t see, I can’t see baking with dead bugs that may have already hatched. I
started putting my flour in the refrigerator over 25 years ago and haven’t had a bug since.
Great advice, Mom! I must have learned it from you long ago, since I have a fridge full of flour. But why bother killing the bugs in the flour before you bake? Won’t the crawling critters die anyhow once they hit that hot oven? And how could anyone refuse a little extra protein in their chocolate chip cookies??
Letter 4 – Seventh Recipient of the Nasty Reader Award Redeemed: Root Weevil
halifax nova scotia inquiry
February 17, 2010
I sent you a pic and question the other day before these ones you have been answering? Must be out of your knowledge or something? I have better things to do than check back here daily to see you skipped me and answered everyone else inquiring after me. How do you guys operate at this site anyways? Favorites first?
Mad in canada
Dear Mad in canada,
We operate on a volunteer basis and we try to answer as many letters as possible, and we can’t imagine anyone having anything better to do than to visit our website multiple times each day. We do not answer on a first come first served basis, and we randomly select from the numerous identification requests we receive daily to pick website content that we think will interest our readership. Our time is also limited, and we are never able to respond to every request. Though we have received much more vile letters that have earned their writers the Nasty Reader Award, your lack of patience and your presumptuosness have landed you spot number 7 on our list of Nasty Readers. This is a Granary Weevil in the genus Sitiphilus which may be compared to images posted to BugGuide. Use some of your free time now that you will not need to visit us any longer, and search your home for the site of infestation, which might be stored pet food or bird seed.
Thanks alot its about time. I personally run websites myself and you do see the people who are visiting and their ip where they are and how many times they been there. Dont blame your lack of proffesionalism on me.
As for infestation don’t you think it could be the indoor vegatation in my home? They were not anywhere near a kitchen. As for the nasty email I sent this morning I didn’t really think untill I read your disclaimer after it already went though. Now that you have helped a person in need with their home not just some random question thanks alot
Once more I would like to apoligize but your still wrong. It is not a granary weevil yes I agree it is a weevil but if you checked both pictures I sent you would see it does not have a snoutc
Here is a different picture where you can see the antanae are at the tip of the nose not halfway back
Dear [no longer] Mad,
Thanks for the additional photo. After posting three letters this morning, we must leave our home website office and go to work. Weevils are the largest group of insects, and it may take time to correctly identify this species. Our readership does post comments and you might want to consider checking back to see if someone has made an identification. As far as our professionalism goes, we do not manage our own website, nor monitor its traffic. Our web host does that. All we do is post content and try to respond to our readership’s queries.
Dear Mr Marlos,
Thank you very much for your humble proffesionalism. I am sorry I was so upset >:[ These weeviles are turning me evil. I won’t be of bother to you anymore and will continue to check now and again to see if anyone else had clarified the identification. I am sure you all try the best you can and it is appreciated that you all do this volunteerly. One more time I extend my deepest apology. You do run a great website and I promise to never offend any of you again. Keep up the dedication to something you love and have a great day at work. Thank you very much
Dear No Longer Mad,
Your gracious subsequent letters have redeemed you, and though we no longer consider you to be a Nasty Reader, we are keeping the tag as a document of ironing out differences.
Update from Eric Eaton
February 17, 2010
Well, I can tell you that it is definitely not a granary weevil. If granary weevils ever get that big, we are all going to starve. LOL! This is probably one of the “root weevils” in the genus Otiorhynchus, maybe the black vine weevil, Otiorhynchus sulcatus, but I can’t be positive.
Root weevils are flightless, mostly nocturnal, and frequently invade homes while looking for mates and food. I do not know if they overwinter as adults, but it certainly seems plausible.
Hope this helps you and the (former) “Nasty Reader.” 🙂
Letter 5 – Weevil from Australia
Is this some kind of Elephant Weevil?
Location: Robertson NSW Australia
November 23, 2010 1:07 am
Hi bugman, Recently I have gain a great interest in macro photography. I do try to identify all the bugs I photograph to gain a greater knowledge of my subjects.
I camera across this little guy, about 1.5-2cm in length. Is it some kind of Elephant Weevil?
This is definitely a Weevil, but not an Elephant Weevil. The angle is not ideal for identification, and Weevils can be difficult to identify. We believe it is one of the Broad-Nosed Weevils in the family Adelognatha, and there are several on the Brisbane Insect Website including the Peanut Weevil.
Letter 6 – Granary Weevil
Ewwww Please Help
Location: In my garage located in Central FL
April 10, 2011 8:27 pm
Hi, my name’s Elizabeth and I live in Central FL. I recently went out to my garage to do some laundry and I found tons of tiny black bug/beetle looking things! They are crawling all over my detergent bottles, clothing, and floor. I want to know what they are so I can take the proper action to rid them. Also, are they harmful? I have a 3 month old and I don’t want him getting bit! We had rain about a week ago but it has been hot and humid since then. I have included a few pictures but I didn’t want to stick around much longer. They don’t fly or jump when I near them. They are very easy to smash. I do NOT like any type of insect! Please help me!
Signature: Thanks A Bunch!
This is some species of Weevil, and our best guess is that it may be a Granary Weevil in the genus Stilophilus (see BugGuide). Granary Weevils infest stored grain, including rice and corn. They may also infest pet food made of grain and other products with a grain component. In addition to the Granary Weevils, there may be similar genera that will infest stored foods. Check that large bag of pet food or bird seed that might be in your garage for a source of the infestation. Granary Weevils do not pose a threat to your infant as they will not bite.
Thank you so much. I also noticed small white worm like things in my dog food. You are correct about the grain in the dog food. I keep both my cat food and dog food out there. I will take out the containers and wash them then add some fresh new food. Hopefully that will help! : )
The white worm like things are the immature Weevil larvae.
Oh ok. Well hopefully I can get that area cleaned properly and not have to worry about them. My Husband was making fun of me because I was scared of them lol! I kept feeling bugs crawl on me all night long! Some people fear water or heights…I fear bugs and spiders! I do like this website though. I have learned some intersting things from here. Thanks a bunch!
Letter 7 – Granary Weevil
Location: San Francisco, CA
April 11, 2011 12:31 am
Over the past couple of months, I have been noticing an increasing number of these bugs in my house– primarily in my kitchen and bathroom. I am wondering if it is coming in through my drain? I find about a dozen of them each week now. They are quite small– about double the size of a sesame seed. I am curious whether they are something I should be concerned about having in my home?
The tines of the fork provide a nice sense of scale for this Granary Weevil in the genus Sitophilus, or some other closely related Weevil. Granary Weevils infest stored grain and grain products, including rice, corn, bird seed and pet food. If you have any bargain bags of grain or pet food stored in your kitchen, or any pantry products that have been stored for more than a year, that would be a great place to begin searching for the source of the infestation.
Letter 8 – Weevil from Borneo
a groundnut shaped insect
Location: Kuching, Borneo island
December 15, 2011 11:21 pm
I took these three photos of this tiny bug crawling on my car porch. Location is in Borneo island
This is some species of Weevil, a type of beetle in the superfamily Curculionoidea.
Letter 9 – Weevil
Subject: North NJ Bug
Location: Fair Lawn, NJ
September 28, 2012 2:36 pm
My six-year-old daughter Courtney, an avid bug collector, found this guy in her grandma’s backyard yesterday and would love to know what it is. It was found in Fair Lawn, NJ, on September 28.
Thanks so much!
Signature: Dawn Altieri
We hope you don’t consider our editorial staff to be slackers, but we don’t have the energy right now to identify this Weevil to the species level. Weevils are the largest superfamily of insects belonging to the largest order of insects, the beetles. Here is what BugGuide has to say: “Arguably, the largest animal family with more than 40,000 species worldwide and 2,500 spp. in ~480 genera of 19 subfamilies in our area (Staphylinidae and/or Ichneumonidae may turn out more speciose.)” The other impediment is that many Weevils look alike, with the long snout and drab brown coloration being identifying traits of many Weevils.
Letter 10 – Citrus Weevil
Subject: what the hell is that thing?
Location: south Florida
April 8, 2013 8:14 pm
Well, I live in Homestead, Fl. it is 4/8/13 and I found this thing on my wall. It is hard as it did not squish as I transported it via napkin to the toilet ( and I was not gentle as I transported it). There r lots of farms in this area, lots of humidity and water near my home as well. More than anything I want to know to make sure it will not harm my dog as it eats everything. Thank you for your time in advanced.
Signature: Frank l
This is a Weevil, a member of several families of beetles that include many agricultural pests. We took some additional time and quickly identified the Citrus Weevil or Sugarcane Root Weevil, Diaprepes abbreviatus. According to BugGuide, it is native to the Caribbean and it is currently reported in Florida, Texas, Louisiana and California and it is a: “Major pest of citrus crops: Larvae feed on the roots in the soil, and will often girdle the taproot, which may kill the plant and provide an avenue for Phythophora infections. A single larva can kill young hosts while several larvae can cause serious decline of older, established hosts.” BugGuide lists the food plants as: “Acacia, Acer, Albizia, Ambrosia, Amyris, Baccharis, Bauhinia, Brassica, Caesalpinia, Cassia, Celtis, Citrus, Cordia, Crotalaria, Desmodium, Diospyros, Erythrina, Ficus, Guaiacum, Hibiscus, Ilex, Indigofera, Jatropha, Juniperus, Magnolia, Manihot, Mimosa, Montezuma, Myrica, Panicum, Passiflora, Persea, Phaseolus, Phoenix, Piper, Pithcellobium, Pittosporum, Prunus, Psidium, Quercus, Rhizophora, Rhus, Rosa, Roystonea, Rubus, Salix, Schinus, Schrankia, Senna, Sorghum, Ulmus, Zanthoxylum, as well as numerous crops – Texas Dept. Agriculture” More information can be found on Citrus Pests.
Letter 11 – Weevil not connected to dog’s paralysis in Canada
Subject: Bug in our house
Location: Peterborugh, Ontario, Canada
August 1, 2014 9:43 am
We found this bug on the floor of our house. The reason that this is important is that within the past few days before finding the bug our dog has lost all mobility in his back legs. We were almost forced to put him down as he is old and figured that it was simply the arthritis in his hips finally taking over. We love him so much that we decided to buy a set of dog wheels for him to give him one more chance. During the time that he has been beginning to be trained with the wheels we saw blood on his paw and the next day found this bug on the floor. We cannot tell if the front ligaments are antennae or legs. We wondered if it could be a tick. This would be good news to us because the paralysis in our dogs legs could be due to tick paralysis which is sometimes reversible. Our whole family and our puppy would appreciate greatly an answer.
Thanks so much!
(Attached is the photo of the bug and our doggy with his new wheels!)
Signature: The Wards
We wrote back earlier to inform you that we felt there was no connection between this Weevil and your dog’s paralysis, and though that has not changed, we have identified your Weevil as Otiorhynchus raucus, a species that according to BugGuide is: “native to w. Palaearctic (Europe to Kazakhstan), adventive in NA and widespread in the north (across so. Canada & adjacent US)” and “earliest record in our area: ON 1936.” We hope you dog’s health improves.
Letter 12 – Weevil from Australia
Subject: Hard Shelled, Flightless Beetle
Location: 3 hours North-east of Alice Springs
April 24, 2015 4:37 pm
I have found this beetle three hours North-east of Alice Springs trying to burrow into the sand. He’s dark brown and has a really hard shell and when I tapped him with my finger he stuck his bottom up in the air with his head on the ground as if trying to scare me off with the small spikes on his back. He’s got antennas and six legs with really grippy ‘claws’. I was also wondering (for if you can find out what type of beetle he is) If you knew what he eats and how to look after him properly. I don’t know how to attach a photo to the website so if I could get an email address to send the photo to you, That would be really good. I’ve called him ‘Bob’ for now.
Signature: Thanks, B McKnight
Dear B McKnight,
This is some species of Weevil, and we found a similar looking, but not identical individual from Alice Springs pictured on LirraLirra. Another similar looking individual is pictured on Nature’s Windows, Photos of the Month, and it is identified as Leptopius areolatus, but though it looks similar to your individual, we do not believe it is the same species, but possibly in the same genus. Other similar looking Weevils in the genus Leptopius are pictured on FlickRiver. Another similar looking member of the genus is represented by this image on FlickR.
Letter 13 – Weevil from Australia
Subject: what is it?
Location: Perth, Western Australia
November 1, 2015 9:17 pm
My Son found this bug and I thought it had the cutest face! my first thought was a tick but on googling images of ticks I don’t think it is. can you please help identify it?
This is a Weevil, a member of the largest family of animals on earth. You can find some examples of Australian Weevils on the Brisbane Insect website.
Letter 14 – Weevil from Costa Rica: Eurhinus magnificus
Subject: Alien Beetle
Location: Cartago, Costa Rica
December 13, 2016 2:28 pm
I found this weird beetle that looks like an alien. It has a trunk like an elephant.
Signature: Juan Pablo Zúñiga
Dear Juan Pablo,
Your images of this magnificent, green metallic Weevil are gorgeous, and we were reminded of a tropical Weevil we posted long ago, but your individual is solid green and the Weevil we were reminded of had other iridescent colors like those produced by a film of oil on the surface of water. We started like we always do, with an internet search using key words, and we found this look-alike on Ipernity and one on FineArtAmerica, but alas, neither is identified beyond the family level. The third visual match we found on 500px is identified as Eurhinus magnificus, the same species we identified in 2005 from Florida where it is an Invasive Exotic species. It is a native species for you in Costa Rica. The entire life cycle is nicely documented on EDIS.
Letter 15 – Weevil from South Africa
Subject: Id the bug
Location: Kwa Zulu Natal
January 22, 2017 11:11 pm
Can you Please help and explain what this might be
This is a Weevil or Snout Beetle in the family Curculionidae, but we are not certain of the species. Based on images posted to iSpot, it might be in the genus Alcidodes.
Letter 16 – Weevil AKA Wattle Pig from Australia
Subject: What is this
Location: Princetown, Victoria
February 4, 2017 6:49 am
Landed on our windscreen will driving through coastal sand dunes !
This is some species of Weevil, a large and diverse group of Beetles.
Letter 17 – Weevil
Subject: Unknown bug
Location: Middle TN
April 2, 2017 2:19 pm
This little critter was sitting on my patio window this morning. Its about 75 degrees here today (4/2/17) and a lot of little things are finding their way out into the world. I live in middle TN and have all my 45 years but have never seen one of these. I’d say its about an 8th of an inch long and the picture is true to color.
This is some species of Weevil. It might be the Butternut Curculio, Conotrachelus juglandis, which is pictured on BugGuide.
Letter 18 – Weevil
Subject: is this a type of darkling beetle?
Geographic location of the bug: Buffalo New York
Time: 07:01 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hi,
I have been trying to identify this Beetle on your site and the closest I can come is that it is a darkling beetle. This one was alive, two others that I found in my apartment this week were already dead. Beatles are not poisonous are they? Thanks for your help!
How you want your letter signed: V
We believe this is a Weevil, and based on the image posted to the Northeastern Integrated Pest Management Program site, it resembles the Annual Bluegrass Weevil, Listronotus maculicollis, and when we researched the species on BugGuide, we found that it is a relatively large genus represented on BugGuide and the tribe to which it belongs has two genera, and many members look similar, so we feel confident this is a Weevil, and it might be a member of the tribe Listroderini, but we are uncertain of the species.
Thanks so much for your quick identification! I now know how to research what to do about them. Have a great night.