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How to get rid of weevils in the kitchen

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Weevils, or elephant beetles, have long been familiar to humanity and are even mentioned in ancient Egyptian papyri. Over time, they have become a source of many problems for people. Mainly found in the tropics, these beetles are also found in cold climates, including our country. They often penetrate into storage areas of various products, where they devour and spoil them.

Therefore, it is important for each of us to know what to do if these parasites appear in the house, and how to prevent their appearance.

Weevil beetle. Who is it?

This extensive family of beetles contains approximately forty thousand different species. It is estimated that only five thousand species live in our country, as the rest prefer warmer climates.

Weevils often inhabit gardens and summer cottages, causing significant damage to the harvest of berries and fruits. Not only adult beetles pose a danger, but also their larvae.

Types of weevils

Weevils represent a wide variety of species, and most are adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions.

Among the most common household pests are the following types of weevils:

  1. Barn weevil: a small brown beetle 2–4 mm long that lives in grain. Despite its small size, it is known for its gluttony and rapid reproduction, making it particularly harmful. Their lifespan is about two years, during which they can reproduce 6 to 8 times.
  2. Rice weevil: slightly smaller than the barn one, but is also a harmful parasite. It feeds on corn, peas, cereals and dry flour products such as crackers and noodles.
  3. Nut beetle: reaches a length of up to 7 mm and damages walnut and hazel storages. It makes holes in the nuts, where it then lays eggs. The larvae spend the winter inside the nut, actively migrating and spreading over long distances.
  4. Oak or acorn weevil: also a common type.

There are many varieties of weevils and, unfortunately, they can appear in any home. Even if your kitchen is kept in order, these pests can still be introduced to you through contaminated store-bought food.

Weevil. Appearance

It turns out to be a little pointless to describe the appearance of the weevil, since this small bug is approximately 3,5 millimeters long. Its body is cylindrical, with an elongated head ending in a tube. Unlike most beetles, the weevil does not have the ability to fly, but instead exhibits high running speed.

Despite its tiny size, the weevil has strong jaws that can easily chew through packages, providing access to their contents. With the help of their jaws, females create holes in cereal grains and lay eggs.

After a few weeks, the larvae hatch and begin to feed on the grain from the inside, then enter the pupal stage. Having completed this stage, the adult weevil creates a hole in the grain wall and emerges, making its larvae almost invisible.

How does a weevil get into an apartment?

Weevils can enter your home simply by carrying food from the store or market. They often find their way into products during storage, transportation or packaging, especially if sanitary standards are not met. Parasites can transfer into food from the clothing of workers in a grain warehouse or from agricultural tools. Therefore, it is recommended that you carefully check all products such as nuts, grains, cereals, pasta, dry baked goods and other similar products that you purchase.

Pests can also enter your home from the wild, for example, if they are brought from a walk in the forest, along a river or lake. Thus, there is a risk of infection with any of the species of beetles listed in this article, with the exception of barn beetles, which do not occur in nature.

If you have plants in your apartment that you take outside in the summer, weevils can get onto them and thus into your home. Once they are inside, these insects easily find cereals and other food supplies.

Therefore, when plants are displayed outdoors, it is recommended to inspect them regularly, checking for signs of infestation, such as chewed buds, and the presence of pests themselves.

Why is the weevil dangerous?

In addition to food spoilage, weevils in an apartment can cause many other problems. Firstly, they can cause various allergic reactions, especially allergic alveolitis. Secondly, although some believe that the secretions of these insects can cause cancer, scientific research does not confirm this.

Thirdly, weevils can contaminate food with tiny particles of their chitinous shell, which can lead to various diseases, including problems with the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, these pests can contaminate products with harmful microorganisms.

Weevil in cereals. How to deal with it?

Completely getting rid of these weevils may not be easy, but it is quite doable, especially if you start immediately after discovering the insects in the kitchen. To achieve success in this difficult task, it is recommended to follow the instructions below.

  1. Carefully check all the products in your supplies, from noodles and cereals to tea. It is better to throw away products containing weevils or use them as bird food. Those that are not infected, but have been around infected ones, should be disinfected. For example, you can place them in the freezer for two days or on the balcony in cold weather.
  2. Use the reverse frost method by placing the contaminated food in the oven for several hours at 60 degrees. Please note that in this case they may lose their beneficial properties.
  3. Clean the entire cabinet thoroughly using soap and wipe it down with a mixture of vinegar and water.

These simple steps can make a big difference in controlling weevils and other pests.

Chemical treatment

All chemicals developed to kill weevils must be safe for humans, given that these bugs are directly associated with food. Setting traps in closets is often ineffective.

It is also important to consider that weevils are omnivores and can damage not only food, but also ornamental plants. They chew through flower buds and lay eggs, which causes serious damage to plants and encourages their further reproduction.

To prevent this, it is recommended to first remove the affected parts of the plant, and then treat the leaves and soil in the pot with a solution of a chemical anti-weevil preparation, such as Fufanon or Inta-Vir. However, caution should be exercised, since the drugs themselves are also not without danger.

Inta-Vir is a highly toxic product, and its use requires strict safety measures. When treating plants with Inta-Vir, it is necessary to avoid other people in the room, and it is also strictly prohibited to treat food with this drug in order to avoid effects on the digestive organs and other body systems.

"Fufanon" is a universal drug used to combat not only weevils, but also other garden pests.

Folk remedies for fighting weevils

Getting rid of weevils in the kitchen is possible not only using chemicals, but also using more traditional methods. According to popular advice, aromatic plants should be placed in cabinets. An alternative is to use pieces of cotton wool soaked in lavender extract placed on the grocery shelf. Weevils dislike the smells of eucalyptus, mint, bay leaves, laundry detergent, citrus peel, chestnuts, powdered cloves, dried lavender and tansy.

An effective method is also to place garlic cloves directly into the jars where the food is stored. In addition, you can create a mixture of ammonia, turpentine, kerosene and liquid soap in equal proportions, which is applied to the shelves. Washing shelves with soapy water and then treating them with a mild vinegar solution can also be an effective method of controlling these insects.

A very effective method is to place metal objects in food jars, such as tin lids, wire or steel nails. Before use, it is recommended that these items be thoroughly cleaned, boiled and allowed to dry.

Weevils and houseplants

As mentioned earlier, elephant beetles have an interest in houseplants in addition to food. They not only lay eggs in nuts, cereals and seeds, but also attack flower buds, devouring the stalks and weakening them, which leads to various diseases.

Due to their high gluttony, these pests are capable of absorbing a hundred times more plant mass than each of them weighs. It’s easy for them to get on plants, for example, if you put the plants on the balcony in the summer, which is often practiced by many.

As mentioned earlier, the main method of controlling weevils on flowers is the use of chemicals. They should be applied by watering the soil and wiping the leaves of the plant, after removing beetle-infested flowers. When using chemicals, you must strictly follow the instructions and observe safety rules.

If you prefer to avoid chemicals, then a good solution against this pest is to spray with mustard powder diluted in water. To do this, dissolve 100 grams of powder in a 3-liter jar of clean water.

In addition, it is recommended to completely replace the soil along with the pot, since these beetles are often found in the soil.

How to prevent weevils from appearing?

We've already looked at ways to combat these harmful bugs in food, but the best solution would be to prevent them from appearing.

To achieve this, the following is recommended:

  1. Store cereals, pasta, nuts and other bulk foods in tightly sealed plastic, glass or stainless steel containers. Place them in dark and cool places, preferably on lower shelves.
  2. Avoid overstocking your home by purchasing food as needed.
  3. Regularly clean the surfaces of kitchen cabinet shelves with water and vinegar or soap.
  4. As a preventative measure, place dried citrus peels (such as oranges) or bay leaves in the bottom of containers with bulk products.
  5. Periodically check your supplies of foodstuffs such as cereals, flour, pasta, legumes and nuts. Also carefully inspect dried fruits, condiments and tea, as bugs may appear there.
  6. Before reusing the container, rinse it thoroughly with a solution of vinegar, salt, soda or mustard in proportions of 1 tsp. per glass.
  7. Avoid spilling cereals, rice and other products on shelves; If something accidentally spills, clean it up immediately.

Following these precautions and being attentive to the possible appearance of beetles in your apartment will help you avoid problems with weevils.

Weevil Woes? Learn How to Get Rid of Weevils Effectively | The Guardian's Choice

F.A.Q.

How to treat a cabinet for weevils?
There are many options for treating cabinets against weevils. Among them are various solutions, such as vinegar, mustard powder, soap, soda, salt and many others. You can learn more about these methods from our article. It is important to note that using chemicals on kitchen cabinets is not recommended as they can be toxic and it is best to keep them away from food.

How long do weevils live?
Typically, these harmful insects live up to two years and during this period they can give birth to 6 to 8 generations of offspring. Their lifespan depends on environmental conditions and the availability of sufficient nutrition.

How to get rid of weevils in the kitchen?
There are many methods for killing weevils, many of which are described in this article. For example, you can place brightly scented plants on shelves, add metal objects to cereal containers, or treat shelves with a mild vinegar solution.

How to save house plants from weevils?
There are several options for saving house plants from weevils. Specialized chemicals can be used, but be aware of the possible health hazards and follow appropriate guidelines. A safer option is to treat plants with a solution of mustard powder.

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