Is it safe to eat weevil-infested seeds for birds, or should you throw them away? Will birds eat seed with weevils? Is it safe for them? Let’s find out.
We all know about the tiny black insects hovering around containers where we store our grains.
These tiny insects, known as weevils, are a huge nuisance to get rid of. These are always a kind of hazardous pests, however innocent they may look.
If you are storing seeds to feed birds, you need to consider this insect infestation. Or else, if you already have some food containers infested with them, you may think about feeding them to birds.
Here are a few things that you need to know.
Do Birds Eat Weevils?
Birds are known to eat a lot of insects, and weevils are certainly one of them.
They are an efficient way of getting rid of unwanted insects in your garden. Insects like tiny weevils, aphids, earwigs, cucumber beetles, and grubs are a staple feed for birds.
If you are hanging out a birdfeeder for the winged visitors, you can add some worms and other insects to the feeder to make a nice protein-rich snack for them.
Is It Ok To Feed Weevil-Contaminated Birdseed to Birds?
Since insects are part of a bird’s normal diet, they will not care if the seeds are contaminated with weevils.
Weevils are actually a food source of protein for birds, and they will eat the pests present in the seeds along with the grains themselves.
Sometimes, weevils can damage the quality of bird seeds, which can be bad for a bird’s health. Make sure to check the bird seeds for mold and fungus before you serve them up.
How To Store Weevil-Infested Birdseed for Feeding?
While birds may not mind eating bird seeds with weevils, it may not always be the best idea. As discussed above, they might cause molds and fungus.
Here are some ideas you can use to get the weevils to leave the birdseed alone.
Rice and Grain Weevils
Rice weevil (scientifically Sitophilus oryzae) and Grain weevil (scientifically Sitophilus granarius) are the two most common weevil species found in bird seeds.
These tiny beetles are 2-3mm in length and are very stubborn pests in seeds.
If you have to store bird seeds infested with these weevils, make sure to store the bags outdoors.
The bags should be kept open for a few hours to let the insects escape. But it might be impossible to get rid of them entirely.
How do I get rid of weevils in animal feed?
If your animal feed is getting infested with too many weevils, put the grain in a pot and start boiling it.
Heat the grains for an hour to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Take the boiled grains and store them in a freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keep the grain upto four days before the expiration date, and you will find that the weevils have died.
How do you keep bugs out of bird food?
The best idea to keep bugs away from bird feed is to refrigerate seed bags that have not been opened.
This will prevent the bird seeds from being contaminated by insect eggs.
Keep the pet’s cage completely clean so that bugs are not attracted to be feeder that contains the seeds.
Moreover, store the seeds in airtight containers so that the bugs cannot enter it from outside.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does my birdseed have bugs?
If insects make their way to containers of bird feed, it becomes their source of food and shelter.
Weevils lay their eggs in the grains, and these eggs can go undetected before processing and packing. When the birdseed reaches your home, these nymphs can hatch and start growing.
So, there is a possibility of your whole birdseed container being infested by bugs even though it was completely packed.
How can you tell if birdseed is bad?
Bird seeds can rot in birdfeeders for a number of reasons. The most effective way to check if the bird seeds have gone bad is to check the smell.
A foul smell is most indicative of rotten seeds. The seeds also change in color, showing signs of mold or fungus, such as a white layer on top of it.
How long does a weevil live?
Adult weevils have an average lifespan of two or three months. Within this time, they mate and reproduce multiple times.
These insects also fall under a category of organisms known as parthenogenetic, so they can lay eggs without mating.
How do I get rid of grain weevils?
To remove grain weevils, wipe off shelves with vinegar and store the grain in air-tight containers.
Check for cracks in the shelves which can become a space for insects to thrive. Do not keep garbage near your shelves, and dispose of garbage bags daily to avoid weevils from clustering.
Weevils are not the worst insects to have in bird seeds, but they can be an annoying pest to have indoors.
Make sure you are storing the seeds right and avoiding bugs as much as you can so that they stay fresh till the expiration date.
Thank you for reading!
Weevils are a major pantry pest and it is no surprise that many of our readers have been asking us about how to get rid of them for many years.
We have recorded some of their emails regarding weevils below. Please go through and see if any of these are the pests that you find in your kitchen cupboards.
And as suggested in the article, it is entirely safe to feed them to birds. So go ahead, don’t waste your infested food – give it to the birds!
Letter 1 – Pecan Weevil
I thought you might enjoy this photo of a pecan weevil I found in our Houston yard a couple of weeks ago. I misidentified it as a boll weevil and contacted the County Extension Office which informed me it was actually a pecan weevil. As always, I love your site!
We eagerly welcome your photo of a Pecan Weevil, Curculio caryae, to our site.
Letter 2 – Metallic Weevil, Eurhinus magnificus, from Florida
This was taken while on a Ficus hedge in Florida today. It appears to be some type of borer as it stays on the tender stems of new leaves. Got any ideas? This was my second sighting while shooting Macro shots for fun.
When a specimen of Eurhinus magnificus was sent to us in April 2005, it created quite a stir. This Central American Metallic Weevil originates in Costa Rica, Panama and Southern Mexico, but was introduced to Florida. Probably as a result of global warming, the tropical species has expanded its range northward. We wonder if ficus is the host plant.
Metallic Weevil, Eurhinus magnificus
Thanks for the confirmation.
Both sightings have been on the tenderest portion of a ficus plant. Attached is a better image of the beast. I’ll keep my eyes open for them on other plants. Attached is a bit better image of the Weevil. I have good shots from about 5 angles if you want them.
The subtle movement of the antennae is a nice addition.
I saw the picture of Eurhinus magnificus and your question about Ficus being its host. If the Ficus hedge is the ubiquitous Ficus benjamina, it is native to Asia and Australia. This would make me think that the hedge is not a natural host for the weevil. It may be opportunistic or just hanging out. Also- It is far more likely that the beast was brought into Florida through trade from its native range rather than a natural expansion. This happens in Florida over and over and over… Hope this is useful.
Update: 17 June 2009, 7:27 AM
In trying to identify an unusual Weevil from Costa Rica today, we stumbled upon this great link with the life cycle of Eurhinus magnificus.
Letter 3 – Grain Weevil infest Bird Seed
small black bug
Location: southwestern pennsylvania
January 5, 2012 9:17 pm
I am having a lot of these small black bugs in my house. Can you please identify and tell me how to get rid of them. It is Jan 1st 2012. And were are in winter. Sorry for the pic it is too small to get a good pic. That is a penny in the pic. Thanks
This appears to be a grain weevil. Look in the pantry for infested grain products like rice.
Thankyou, they were coming from a bag of bird seed that was being stored until summer.
Letter 4 – Probably Wattle Pig Weevil from Australia
Location: East Gippsland Australia
October 23, 2014 12:44 am
Gday, sorry to bug you man. Cool bug, spring time, coastal dunes, banksia closest trees.
This is a Broad Nosed Weevil, and we believe we have identified it as a Wattle Pig Weevil in the genus Leptopius thanks to the Brisbane Insect Website. You can also find images on Project Noah.
Letter 5 – Granary Weevils in Bird Seed
Subject: What bug is this?
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
August 14, 2016 6:17 pm
These bugs were in bird seed we bought in Toronto. What bug is this?
Signature: Thanks, Katie Rancourt
Many insects infest stored food, especially grain products. These are probably Granary Weevils.
Letter 6 – Longhorned Borer Beetle from Thailand
Subject: Bug seen in thailand
Location: Phuket, Thailand
November 16, 2016 2:54 am
This bug dropped down onto our sunbed – maybe from the palm trees? We are in Phuket, Thailand in November.
It’s about 1″ – 2.5 cm long and pale brown with markings like tree bark
This sure is an unusual looking Beetle, and we presume it is a Weevil in the superfamily Curculionoidea. The antennae are unusually thick. Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck than we have had finding a matching image online.
Correction Courtesy of Cesar Crash
Thanks to a comment from Cesar, we now have a link to a Longhorned Borer Beetle genus Pachylocerus on Cerambycidae Catalog Search.
Letter 7 – Patterson’s Curse Crown Weevil from Australia
June 9, 2017 6:29 pm
Found this in red rooster in Perth
Signature: jason battersby
This is a very unusual looking Weevil. According to Australian Critters, it is a Crown Weevil, Mogulones larvatus. Prior to locating the image on that site, we found images on the Agriculture Victoria site where we learned that two species of weevils, the Crown Weevil and the Root Weevil, were introduced to Australia beginning in 1994 as biological control agents against and invasive plant known as Patterson’s Curse. According to Agriculture Victoria: “Paterson’s curse, Echium plantagineum, is a noxious weed of European origin that now occurs in most states of Australia and is mainly a problem in pastures, on roadsides and in degraded and disturbed areas. It reduces agricultural productivity by competing with more nutritious pasture plants and because it is toxic to livestock when ingested continuously. … The crown boring weevil and the root boring weevil are two European insects that have been released in Australia for the biological control of Paterson’s curse.” There are additional images on Atlas of Living Australia.