Why are there bugs in my flour? Oh, and how to kill the little critters.

I’m no physics expert but I do understand that a seemingly inanimate object such as a bag of flour should stay where it is put and not move unless I pick it up. So why when I started spooning out the contents of a bag of semolina flour yesterday were the contents moving by themselves?

I definitely had to rub my eyes. The contents looked like semolina flour, off white and speckled with light shades of brown. But it was those little specks of brown that were wiggling away happily, and I’d been eating cakes made with said flour only a day earlier without realising. Surely, I was going to die of food poisoning or something similar (perhaps, they were going to eat their way out through my flesh).

A day later and I’m still alive and the little buggers haven’t finished me off yet. In the duty of public service I hereby publish the contents of my extensive research (i.e. 20 minutes on Google) into said beasties:

Why are there bugs in my flour? Answered!

  • The little bugs found in flour are a type of tiny beetle called a weevil. They’re not picky and like anything from flour, to cereal, nuts and coffee.
  • Scarily, these evil blighters are already in the flour when you buy it. Their eggs are present in the wheat and survive milling, and hatch if the flour has been hanging around for too long, or sitting in warm or humid conditions.
  • Many people don’t seem at all bothered about eating them as they’re perfectly harmless to humans and killed when they are cooked. Yuk.
  • To make it even more fun, the little gits infest anything else they can get their hands on such as boxes of cereal, packets of pasta, etc, and can even gnaw tiny holes in the packets. Oh, and they learn to fly as they get older!

Sounds like fun. So far, I’ve learned that since they’re already in the flour I buy I’ve probably eaten them loads of times before, and that since they have a hankering for practically everything I keep in my cupboard, I’m guessing everything is infested.

How to get rid of flour weevils

  1. Freeze them. They don’t like the cold and will die after the flour (or whatever) has been in the freezer for a few days.
  2. Cut off their food supply. Storing flour, pasta etc in sealed glass jars should stop them from getting at it, meaning they starve to death. That’ll teach ’em.
  3. Clean them out. Bin everything they’re likely to have come into contact with (bags of flour, open packets of pasta, cereal, etc), and give the cupboards a good old clean with disinfectant.
  4. Marinate them. Well, not quite, but apparently they don’t like bay leaves, so a few scattered around or placed in food stuffs likely to be affected should keep them at bay (pun intended). That would work, if my bay tree wasn’t already subject to attack by bugs.

Now I’m off to empty out the cupboards and follow the advice given above. Only time will tell if it has worked; in the mean time if you have any tips please let me know by leaving a comment below.

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