How to get rid of black bugs aka rice weevils

Black Bugs In Rice – How To Get Rid Of And Prevent Rice Weevils

Flour or rice bugs (also known as Weevils) are small insects that infest flour, rice, and other dry goods in your kitchen cupboard.

Weevils can multiply rapidly and spread through your kitchen and pantry quickly, so it’s important to take action immediately when you see one. 

Here’s what you should know about the different types weevils and how to prevent them from infesting your food.

Rice weevils originated in India but are now found throughout most parts of the world and considered some of the most common and destructive pantry pests in North America. Weevils are hard to control once they become an issue, so it’s important to keep up with their habits and know how to properly deal with them.

How Rice Weevils Get In Your Dried Goods

Weevils frequently enter your home in the product itself, some of which is imported from other countries in foods such as rice, sunflower seeds, and feed corn. The Weevils egg, larvae, and pupal stages all occur within the grain which makes detection difficult.

Weevil larvae are tiny enough to burrow into a single grain of rice. They're usually invisible to people and packaging machines. Unlike most pets, Weevils are not after the rice simply for a food source; weevils actually lay their eggs inside a grain of rice. Larvae then hatch from the grains of rice and begin the next round of breeding. A single adult female can lay up to 300 eggs during its lifespan, which ranges from 32 days to six months, and can be responsible for an entire pantry infestation.

.Weevils frequently enter your home in the product itself, some of which is imported from other countries in foods such as rice, sunflower seeds, and feed corn. The Weevils egg, larvae, and pupal stages all occur within the grain which makes detection difficult.

Weevils don’t stay exclusive to one product either. They have strong mandibles and are very adept at chewing through soft plastics and cardboard. They love nothing more than to escape the packaging they arrived in and make their way to other tasty products you have in your pantry, where they will continue to eat and breed.

Unopened, sealed bags of products that are already infested are usually like that due to a lack of quality control. If you purchase and then open such an item, throw it away immediately to an outdoor trash can.

Understanding The Life Stages Of A rice Weevil

Weevils undergo four distinct life stages. Two of those stages cause the most damage.

As most beetles do, rice weevil larvae pass through four different developmental stages before reaching maturity. These stages include the egg stage, the larval stage, the pupa stage, and then the adult stage.

As we mentioned briefly above, most people get these bugs in their rice and other pantry items by bringing in infested packages from local stores or markets.

Once inside a package, female rice weevils will go about burrowing tiny holes into the rice and lay one egg in each hole. Rice weevils take only about three days to develop from an egg to a fully grown larva.

Once the larvae is hatched, it spends roughly 18 days hiding in the grain it was born in and feasts before it is time to pupate. Six days after becoming a pupae, the adult rice weevil appears from the grain.

It is the larval and adult stages of insects that cause the most damage to grains and pantry items.

Identifying Rice Bugs – Common Signs Of Weevil Activity

Weevils (or rice bugs) are considered among the most troublesome grain infesting pests in southern states.

Weevils can be found eating just about anything in the home. They usually enjoy seeds of all kinds, including sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, almonds, cashews, walnuts, millet, barley and quinoa, But their tastes don’t end in the pantry.

Weevils will also happily feed on cotton fabric found in furniture and clothing. They enjoy dried flowers and plants, decorations and dried flower arrangements. They’re often found living inside or on Christmas ornament, dried flower collections, and stored clothing. Unlike other household pests, rice weevils prefer fruits like apples, pears, and grapes. Because they’re good fliers, it isn’t unusual for them to land inside homes attracted by the smell of fruits or grains.

Rodents and other wildlife may also bring seeds and nuts into a home that could become infested with weevils or other potential pantry pests.

Types Of Weevils

Rice Weevils
Very small, this weevil is just under an eighth of an inch long. The adult has a dull reddish brown body with four yellowish-orange spots on its back. The larvae are soft, white grubs with no legs. Pupae are similar to adults with long snouts, but they are white.

Maize Weevils
Long thought to be just a larger version of the rice weevil, the maize weevil looks very similar indeed. It is slightly larger, up to 1/8 inch long. And like the rice weevil, it is dull reddish brown to black with four red-yellow spots on its back. Its color is usually darker than that of the brown rice weevil.

Granary Weevils
The granary weevils are more cylindrical than rice or maize weevils and are about 1/5 inch (1 cm) long. Its coloring is similar to the rice and maize weevils: reddish brown to black. At about a quarter of its body length, the granary weevil’s long snout extends down from its head. Its larvae (soft, white grubs without legs) and white pupae are similar to those of the rice and maize weevil.

Common Signs You Have Weevils

The most common sign that there might be bugs in your rice is seeing an adult rice weevil. Even if you only see one or two weevils you should assume the worst and understand that there are likely many more hiding away.
Even if you go searching for them you are unlikely to see any weevil eggs or larvae even if they are there, as they are very small and typically hidden in the grains.

If you do find a rice weevil, your first step should be investigating the remainder of your pantry foods for any additional infestations. Check carefully for any small holes or tears or any other signs of adult rice weevil infestation.

An excellent indicator of a rice weevil problem is finding packages with bits of food or grain spilled out around them. If you see this, it may mean that weevil have gotten into the package or have made their escape to another package.

Even if you find the source of your weevil infestation you should still throw out any and all improperly stored grains or pantry foods that the weevils could have potentially infested, even if the signs of an infestation aren’t present.
If you do have food items that you’d rather save, inspect them carefully. If you don’t find any adult rice weevils in the packages, it’s important to still take steps to prevent another infestation from occurring.

If you want to ensure that no eggs or larvae remain in foods you plan to keep, it’s best to freeze these foods at least four days before bringing them back into your refrigerator.

How To Get Rid Of Weevils

Empty the infested area completely
Empty all cupboards, drawers, and storage spaces where they’ve been found or suspected to be. You should discard any food stuffs which contain them in sealed plastic bags before disposing of them. This will contain them until the garbage is picked up.

If you’re not sure whether an item has any weevil in them, put it into a plastic bag and keep checking it weekly. If there are any rice weevils in them they will try to escape from them within a few weeks. If some are found, throw it away immediately; if you don’t see any live activity after 3 weeks you can assume to safe to keep.
Vacuum the area

Vacuum all closets, shelves, cupboards, pantries and baseboards. Make sure to clean out even the tiniest cracks and crevices in your pantry, including underdrawer paper. This will help by removing eggs and some pupae. It will also remove hard to see food their young would eat.

Weevils love to lay their eggs with a glue like excretion which helps protect their brood by attaching them to surfaces where food is likely to be available. So even though vacuuming will help, it will likely not remove all of them without additional treatments

Wipe down the area thoroughly

The next steps is to give your pantry and very through wipe down with water or a water and vinegar solution. Avoid using bleach as this can make the pest products you’ll use to get rid of bugs in rice less effective.

Use an insecticide
You can spray down kitchen cabinets using insecticides specifically designed for use in kitchens. We suggest trying the following products if you’re not sure where to find one.

The Hit Shot Kitchen Big Killer
This aerosol spray kills listed bugs like weevils fast in kitchens, pantries, and food-preparation areas.

The formula contains botanical insecticides so it is safer to use in places where food is stored, like your pantry, and is an effective way to control roaches, ants, spiders, flies, gnats, and other common kitchen insects.

Getting rid of bugs in rice can be quite a process, and not everyone is a fan of using chemical insecticides in areas where food is prepared and stored. If you’re looking for some do it yourself pest control methods for how to get rid of rice weevils or would like to know how to get rid of these pests naturally, then this is the section for you.

Instead of using insecticides to get rid of bugs in rice, you can try the below home remedies and products.

Home Remedies And Natural Products To Control Rice Weevils

It’s not always easy to get rid of bugs in rice, and some people don’t like using chemicals in places where they are preparing and storing their food. If you’re looking for some DIY pest control methods for how you can get rid of rice weevil infestations or want to learn how to get rid of them naturally, then this next section should be of help.

Vinegar And Water Cleaning Solution

Many people don’t want to use commercial cleaners because they’re toxic and abrasive. White distilled vinegar, whether used alone or in various natural mixtures, can be effective at replacing most common cleaners in your house.

It’s perfectly safe to use white vinegar in your kitchen and pantry because it’s not toxic to humans and animals.

To make your own vinegar and water spray, you’ll need:

  • ½ cup of white vinegar
  • ½ cup of alcohol
  • 5 drops of eucalyptus oil
  • 1 spray bottle

Combine the above ingredients into your spray bottle and shake well to ensure they’re evenly distributed. Then use it to spray down cabinets, pantries, and kitchen surfaces. Not only will this method clean your kitchen, but it can also keep insects out of your rice.

They’re easy to get and they help prevent bugs from infesting your house. You can also add some clove oil to the disinfectant that is used to clean your cupboard shelves and pantry area.

Put lots of unpeeled garlic pods in the rice container and shuffle it well. After they have dried out in a few days then change the pods.

Soapy Water Cleaning Solution
If you’d rather use a simpler method for killing off bugs in rice, you could just add 2 cups of water to a small spray bottle and then put 5 to 10 drops of liquid detergent into it. Pour the water into a spray bottle, shake it until it’s foamy, then spray it inside the pantry and wipe it off with a damp rag.

Store Ginger or Turmeric With Grains
If you’ve experienced bugs in rice before, then you know just how frustrating they can be. To avoid having to deal with this pest problem again, we suggest keeping garlic, ginger, or turmeric inside containers with other foods these pests tend not to eat.

It may sound odd but there’s no harm in trying (just make sure that the item remains out of children or pet’s reach). Matchboxes contain sulfur and this substance is not appealing to weevils. You can open a matchbox near the food packages.

Freeze Your Grains
To get rid of the weevils, put anything that was near them into a container and freeze them. Freezing something for at least two days will destroy any weevils that may be present.

If any weevil larvae are present, they will be killed by the low temperature of the freezer. They won’t have a chance to grow into adults.

This technique has the potential to destroy the eggs and larvae of the beetles, keeping food safely stored.
Store foods such as flour, grains (including rice), dry pasta, and cereals in the freezer whenever you purchase them. After storing these items in the freezer, be sure to store them properly by placing them in airtight containers.

Use The Power Of The Sun To Get Rid Of Adult Rice Weevils
If you do find adult insects in your food and still want to save them, some sources suggest letting the grains sit out in the sunlight for several hours. Be cautious however because using this method can also cause other types of pests to infest your food, but it will clear out the rice weevils.

Adults rice weevils prefer darker spaces than light ones, so they will leave them immediately when exposed to direct sunlight. After the adults are gone, you can store the product in the refrigerator for four days to kill off any remaining eggs or larvae. Then you can put the product back into your kitchen cupboard.

Weevil Prevention

After you’ve successfully eliminated the rice weevil infestations from your kitchen, you’ll want to take steps to keep them away from returning to your pantry. To prevent rice weevil infestation, here are some measures to take:

  •  Before buying food items, check their packaging first. Look at the packaging for any signs of damage, including torn corners, holes, or punctured spots. Often these packages will already have weevils inside them. If you’re going to eat something, take it out of its original packaging and put it into a tightly fitting plastic container. If you follow these steps, you can prevent further infestations, and you can isolate any potential infestation to just one item.
  • You should also try to get into the habit of stocking up on just one week’s worth of groceries so that you don’t end up overstocking your pantries. If you store them properly, you won’t risk having any food products stored for months at a time, which could lead to an infestation. You can use Pro-Pantry traps throughout the year to monitor for adult rice weevils.
  • We also highly recommend applying Novacide every seven months for ongoing protection. Novacide is an insecticide aerosol spray and IGR (Insect Growth Regulator) designed to kill and disturb the life cycle of many common household pests.
  • Many people forget that rice weevils often feed on both pet food and birdseed. Store birdseed and petfood outside in a garage or shed. It’s also equally important to store pet food, birdseed, and insecticides in airtight containers to prevent pests from eating them.


Despite the fact that most individuals are unaware of this, most people have (unintentionally, of course) either eaten larva, eggs, or a nasty little weevil at some point in their lives. You might find this disgusting, but weevils are so common and unavoidable that you have probably ingested one.

Rice Weevils FAQ's

What are weevils attracted to?

Rice weevils are fond of cereals and grains beyond rice, such as barley, wheat, corn, oats, and rye. Weevils also prefer seeds and nuts. Because weevils thrive in warm to hot environments, their numbers may increase.

Can weevils get into sealed packages?

Weevils can infest food products early in the food chain, such as during harvesting or storage. Weevils also chew through paper and plastic packaging to reach their food.

Once they get inside a box, they can travel through additional layers of plastic or paper without being detected. When shopping at the supermarket, avoid buying packages with holes or other open spots to prevent bringing home the bugs with you.

What is the lifespan of a weevil?

An adult rice weevil can live for up to six months, and a weevil's lifetime from egg to adult can last up to 45 days. A female weevil can produce as many as 300 eggs in that time. A weevil perforates rice seeds or kernels, then seals them with a secretion. Her weevil larvae eat from the inside out, leaving only a husk.

The grain weevil (also known as a wheat weevil) has nearly as long a lifespan. In short, the weevil larvae can destroy grains as they grow, mate, and lay their own eggs while safely inside a sealed bag of grains.

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