Winning the Weevil War

Weevil Battle
I prepare to take on the pantry

It’s disheartening and frustrating when your territory is overrun by unwanted guests. In this case, I’m going to refer to them as the enemy. I’m talking about the weevil. A nasty, undesirable bug that brings destruction. They come at you very stealthy in their sneak attack on your pantry. They move in when your defenses are down and, as a result, the  battle is lost before you knew it even started. That’s how recent events went down for me not so long ago. But fear not, to lose a battle does not mean you can’t win the war. I donned my best weevil battle gear and prepared for the serious work to begin. The enemy will never  cross this line again!

If you’re unfamiliar with the weevil, they’re a horrible little bug found in flours and grains such as cereal and pasta. The larva exists in a product you purchase at the store (I know! Totally gross, right?) and when you bring it home they hatch and infest your entire pantry. So fabulously awesome!

You’ve lost the battle. The weevils have taken over the pantry. What do you do?
  • Throw out the infected boxes and bags of flour, grain and dried fruit type of product. It doesn’t matter if the packaging is still sealed, I found they ate holes right through bags to get to the Cream of Wheat and oatmeal. They got into unopened boxes of pasta so make sure you inspect everything very carefully. I tore open every box and was surprised at what I found. To be safe, I tossed it all out.
  • Once the pantry is completely cleared out, vacuum every little nook and cranny, wipe it down and mop. Now you can treat it with a spray. You want to make sure you get all the nasty buggers because weevils suck. And the last thing you need is a batch of eggs hatching right after you complete all this work. So you need to pick the right treatment for your situation. Because of the deep spaces where weevils can hide in my pantry I went all out nuclear on their ass. That’s right, I bombed them. Of course that called for another good cleaning afterwards, but you can be sure the weevils were dead as there were plenty more to vacuum.
  • If you find there are tight spaces where your vacuum attachments just won’t fit, an air can ‒ the kind you typically use on computers or electronics will probably do the trick for getting dead weevils out in the open for a quick pick up.

How do you avoid future infestations? Learn from my experience.

  • Keep your pantry clean so the enemy has no place to dig in and hide.
  • Consider storing products in air tight containers such as Ziploc bags, air tight plastic wear or glass jars rather than their original containers. It not only keeps the weevils out, but will also contain them should they break out in any particular product (This was also just an excuse to let the compulsive side of me over organize my pantry).
  • When you purchase flour keep it in the freezer for four days before placing it in the pantry to insure any existing weevil larva is killed.
  • Add some extra security by placing a few traps at key locations in the pantry. A weevil trap, similar to a fly trap, may not look pretty but is preferable to bugs in your food.

So there you have it. My war with the weevils. I went to battle with the little buggers and lost – TWICE. But it shall never happen again with the fortress I have created. After the first round, I tried keeping things in Ziploc bags, but it was too easy to become lazy and not follow through every time new boxes of cereal needed to be transferred to bags. Plus the children couldn’t be trusted to properly seal the boxes or bags. But with the new set up, we are golden.

Tell me, are you more disciplined and able to get by with less? What are your weevil experiences and how did you handle them? I always enjoy hearing your story.

35 thoughts on “Winning the Weevil War”

  1. Jennette Marie PowellJennette Marie Powell

    I’ve had weevil moths before – never knew what they were called until I looked it up just now LOL. Didn’t know where they were coming from until I went to the pet store one time, and they were almost out of bulk gerbil food. The empty tube was full of moths! Ewww! We threw out a bunch of stuff, and NO more bulk gerbil food! Haven’t had ’em since. What’s funny is if they get in the gerbil tank, the gerbs will catch and eat them. Extra protein LOL.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Oh yeah, they will totally get in pet food. I meant to mention that. Thanks for bringing that up. True, they won’t harm you if you eat them, but so disgusting. LOL. Protein indeed. 😀

  2. Melinda VanLoneMelinda VanLone

    I remember learning about weevils from my mother when I was in high school. She’d take out the oatmeal, shake it around and glare at it suspiciously. Then she’d do the same with the flour. And then we learned the joys of storing said items in the fridge or in plastic containers. To this day, I do that, mostly to keep ants out. One or two ant invasions is enough to make you seal up absolutely everything lol.

    I’m really envious of your pantry! It’s huge, and so organized. Can you please come organize mine? 😀

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      LOL. It wasn’t that organized when this whole thing started. And when we moved in it was a regular tiny little coat closet. I created this pantry by knocking the wall out and utilizing the unused space under the stairs. I simple had to laid the tile, plaster the the walls, pop in a light and call my closet guy for some shelving and we were good to go. So much better then the pantry the house originally had. It wasn’t all that expensive at the time. Thanks, Melinda.

      I also recall a weevil episode from my younger years. My parents had to toss a bunch of stuff. Guess it didn’t stick well enough for me to keep everything in plastic all these years. That has now changed.

  3. EmmaEmma

    At first I though weevil meant your kids 🙂

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      I’m still working on that one. I’ll let you know when I win. It’s too close to call. Some days it’s best not to say at all. LOL.

  4. kindredspirit23kindredspirit23

    I guess I am very lucky. The few I have had hit the flour and nothing else.
    I threw it away, cleaned a little, and have had no more.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Very lucky. Very lucky, indeed. But then this could be because we were gone on vacation for ten days. They may have thrown a party while we were out.

  5. Coleen PatrickColeen Patrick

    We had them once. I can’t keep flour anywhere but the freezer after that. So disgusting! 🙂

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Very disgusting. Bugs in the food, no thank you. Thanks for stopping by, Coleen.

  6. gingercalemgingercalem

    I went through this battle once when I noticed little moths flying out of my pantry. GROSS! It originated with a bag of bird seed I got to do a project with the kids, which I never even got around to.

    Best line of entire blog post: I went all out nuclear on their ass

    Made me laugh out loud!! Go get ’em Tiger! 😉

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Glad I could make you laugh. I don’t like bugs. They had to die. In a very serious way. Bwahahahhaha
      Sorry about the kids’ project. That’s a real bummer.

  7. PatriciaPatricia

    I hate weevils. I put a bay leaf in my flour, oats and rice. It’s suppsed to deter the little buggers. I haven’t had a problem since I started doing this so I can only assume it works.

    You go girl! Kill the weevils!! That’s your battle cry.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Laura RitchieLaura Ritchie

      You know, that’s right. I used to keep bay leaves around too. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      I like it. A battle cry is a must. Thanks for the help with that. I heard bay leaves work. I was talking with one of our fellow authors about that. This is your alternative, in case you don’t want everything to taste like bay leaves. 😉

  8. Louise BehielLouise Behiel

    we had cereal bugs, many years ago. I think thye’re probably the same thing, since the little buggers infest everything. I called an exterminator – one who came in an unmarked car. LOL

    good luck

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Haha! Now there’s going to an extreme. Way to take action. Alright, Louise!

  9. Laura RitchieLaura Ritchie

    I guess I never thought about what they were called, but yes, I’ve definitely dealt with these infestations on occasion. What a pain! And I always lament the money these nasty little pests cost me. I’m in the habit of keeping rice and couscous in the fridge where they are safer, but the cereals and other products just won’t fit. I think I should follow your example. I have to say that your organization is impressive! I’m so jealous! 🙂

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      When I find the time I can get a little insane in the organization department. OCD, my husband would say. My office space is next. Sometimes I need to find a way to shut that switch off and look past it. I can’t stand a mess. It’s like nails on a chalkboard. Part of my A type personality. Sigh. Must relax more. I’m getting there.

      • Laura RitchieLaura Ritchie

        I have moments when I’m wild about getting something done a certain way. But, there are plenty of times I can just put the blinders in place and go. I’m not sure I’d call it balanced. Seems more like crazy to me. LOL

  10. Nigel BlackwellNigel Blackwell

    Arrrggggghhhhh. I pity you. Just reading about them is making me squirm and I’m getting even more p…p…paranoid.

    Hope you get them all!

    Cheers 🙂

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      I think I got them good. If not, they will be contained to one or a few items. I am working smart this time around. But I totally know what you mean. When I was in there working I thought I could feel them crawling all over me. Funny how the mind plays tricks on us like that, isn’t it? They are nasty though. I read about a kind that can get in your carpet. They will infest all the carpet of your home. Can you imagine? I don’t even want to think about it. Give me the willies!

  11. paywindow7paywindow7

    I love the picture of you geared up for battle! A maybe caption: “Debra, armed and dangerous” or “Pity the fool that steps through that door” or “I love the smell of Soft Scrub in the morning, smells like dead weeves”.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Ha ha! I like, “Smells like dead weeves.” 😀 I want them all dead! If I was truly armed and dangerous I would have been holding a bottle with a skull and cross bones on the front. Bwahahahaha! Glad you enjoyed the picture. That part was fun. The rest, not so much.

  12. Diana BeebeDiana Beebe

    Ick! Thanks for sharing your strategies. I could have used your much-more-thorough advice a couple of years ago. I didn’t know about putting flour in the freezer for at least four days…I’m going to go do that right now!

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Sorry I’m late with the advice. I’ll try to be quicker next time. 😉

  13. Marcy KennedyMarcy Kennedy

    I’ve never had to wage a war on weevils thank goodness. Here’s hoping I don’t because we live on a tight budget and throwing everything out would really put us in a tight spot. Last summer, we did have a battle with ants though. Thankfully they were confined to one cupboard and most of the items in that cupboard were sealed, but we still lost some food and it was weeks before we were completely free of them.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Ugh! I HATE ants. I can’t even begin to tell you how much so. There is a story behind that though, and I won’t bore you with it. I hate wasting food and that’s what all these things do. We are on a very tight budget as well so I completely understand. Sorry you had to go through that. Glad you finally got rid of them. I go nuts when I see ants.

  14. Kim GriffinKim Griffin

    I should be buying stock in ziplock because pretty much everything in my pantry is stuffed in one. What a pain in the buttinsky it is..

    I never knew the trick with the flour and the freezer, so while I was reading your post, I was running with the flour to the freezer 🙂

    Thanks for all the tips ’cause it’s totally something I need to tackle!

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      You are so very welcome, Kim. Ziploc makes a killing off us mothers. I use them for everything. Storing food, kid project pieces, fabric swatches, crayons, colored pencils, markers, and just about anything else you can think of. We are always in need of more bags. Love the ziploc. I’m glad that with all your organization I could still be of some help. Thanks for stopping by! Always good to see you.

  15. Tameri EthertonTameri Etherton

    I am totally skeezed out right now! Yuck. So sorry you had to go through all that, but dang! Your pantry is gorgeous now.

    I am totally going to put my flour in the freezer from now on. So gross!

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      It’s totally gross, right? You can see now why I didn’t want to deal. LOL. I am pleased with the way it all turned out, though. Thanks, Tameri.

  16. Reetta RaitanenReetta Raitanen

    Weevils are nasty little buggers. We had them this summer and had to throw out almost everything in that cupboard despite the plastic containers. Excellent tips. I added a ton of ziploc bags to my shopping list. And I didn’t know you could store flour in the fridge. That’s where mine is now.

  17. JillyJilly

    I typed into Google “my battle with pantry weevils” and your article came up! lol
    So, I notice that this all went down for you last January…did you win the war or are you still battling?
    I was so glad to find this because we have a major infestation right now and I am completely grossed out. Even took off the baseboards in the pantry and found those effers behind there. ERMEGERD!!! Get that all cleaned out and now have found them across the kitchen IN DRAWERS AND CUPBOARDS THAT DON’T EVEN HAVE FOOD IN THEM. WTFFFFFF??????? I envision them CRAWLING UNDERNEATH THE FLOORBOARDS. Please tell me…will I ever get rid of them????GAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

    November 16, 2013

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