The ideal breeding season for insects to grow, spread and breed is during the monsoons. Since they grow in damp and humid conditions, they reproduce rapidly and it is actually impossible to stop them. Not known to many, weevils are small brown bugs which are commonly found in flour, cereals, grains or rice. They resemble little grains of rice, are brown in appearance and they move. It is definitely not uncommon to find bugs or rice weevils inside our rice packets.
Bugs can ‘invade’ there in two ways. More often than not, they are inherently present inside the packets when we buy them. This is a common phenomenon since bugs lay eggs in the crops and when these crops are harvested, the eggs end up in the package. It would be pertinent to mention that they go largely undetected by the naked eye. In due course of time, the eggs hatch and then these bugs are visible. Alternately, bugs are known to sneak into the packages when opened and stored at home.
Some Recommended Guidelines to Keep our Grains Free of Bugs are –
- It is always recommended to store the packets / pouches of spices and flour in the freezer for at least four days as soon as these have been procured. This also applies to flour, oats, cookies, cornmeal as well as spices. This small and simple step shall ensure elimination of all the larvae and eggs present in the packets. This shall stop further infestation. After storing in the freezer, the same could be stored normally. Further, whole wheat flour and brown rice actually benefit from being stored in the freezer since the process of the oils contained in them is significantly slowed from going rancid as they tend to normally do when stored at room temperature for long periods.
- Storing flours and grains in air-tight containers or in heavy-duty freezer bags greatly prevents moisture from contaminating these. Secondly, it should be ensured that new and fresh food should never be added to the old. Containers should always be cleaned thoroughly before refilling.
- Affected or contaminated foods should be got rid of immediately. Needless to mention, apart from the containers, even the storage places where food is handled, should be cleaned regularly and religiously. The simplest and most potent way to eliminate rice weevils is by completely emptying the storage places/facilities and containers where larvae have been detected. These should be then collected in plastic bags so as to contain them and prevent them from spreading further.
- It is common knowledge that it should be ensured that only dry and clean grain should be stored. Even a minuscule differential of the content of moisture can make a significant difference in enhancing the probability of infestation of insects. The ideal moisture content for grains during storage is twelve to thirteen per cent. Most of the insects or bugs that make their way in grains need thirteen to fifteen per cent moisture for optimal feeding as well as reproduction.
Weevils are generally known to be harmless to humans, clothing, pets, furniture as well as houses. They do not have the capability to sting or bite and also do not carry diseases. Alternatively, organic rice possesses greater nutritional value, taste and of course, offers better health. Moreover, the process of its production does not cause damage to the environment.