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The Flour Weevil

Good habitation for the flour beetles.

Good habitation for the flour beetles.

  • Good habitation for the flour beetles.
  • The red flour beetle, close up.

By Brian Geiger, contributor

March 28th, 2010

Heather asks via Twitter:

"Flour weevils… Even tho they are uninvited, they still come for dinner. WHY?!?!?"

Hi, Heather. Generally, it goes something like this:

"Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Weevil…"

"Excuse me, we are not Weevils. It's a common misunderstanding, but we are Beetles."

"I am so sorry, yes of course. Are you Red Flour Beetles, or are you Confused Flour Beetles?"

"You don't know how to tell? Okay, we're in the South, so we are clearly Red Flour Beetles. Plus, look at how well I fly! Confused Beetles don't do that."

"My, that is amazing! So: I understand you're looking for a new home."

"Yes, our current home is not big enough for us. We're looking to have a family, you see."

"That's wonderful! Tell me about your current space."

"Well, we've been renting for a while, and it's just not working out. We've tried chocolate, dried beans, and dried fruits, but none of it is really satisfying. What we want is some flour."

"Would you be willing to go for any other dried grains, or just flour?"

"As long as it's milled, we're flexible. Unmilled grains just aren't that appealing to us at this stage of life."

"I see. Okay, Mr. and Mrs. Beetle, we have some options for you, depending on your budget. First, let's talk moving. If you don't want to spend money on moving, we can get you our most popular option, which is to go down to the flour distributor, find a nice pile or bag of flour, and get transported that way."

"Yes, that's how my parents met, at a flour mill. They laid their eggs into some flour, and a short time later, I hatched in someone's home. It's very romantic, but how do we know where we'll end up?"

"That's the downside: you can't really choose from there. It's inexpensive, but not very specific."

"No, no, let's try something else."

"Well, the next step up is to find a flour bag in the home of your choice. Those are very easy to get into, and you have plenty of options from there."

"That's pretty good. What about something more… modern?"

"Well, there are the plastic containers. Those are trickier. If the seals aren't maintained well, of if they don't put the lid on well, then you can squeeze in without too much trouble, otherwise it's trickier."

"See what you can find us on one of those. We'd love to check out our options."

"I do know of one, but, well, there's some… history there."

"What kind of history? You mean like a violent crime?"

"Yes. It's in a good neighborhood, but apparently the people in the house went a little crazy and baked their flour at 120° for an hour, or 130° for a half of an hour, I forget which."

"Why, that's terrible! That would kill all of the children and everything! My cousin's family was put into a freezer at 0°F for four days, and when they came out, nobody survived. It was devastating."

"I understand. How about I keep looking around for a new place."

"I think that would be best."

I may have taken a couple of liberties with the lives of the flour beetles, but that's the general idea. I recommend using good, tightly sealed containers. If that's not enough, try storing in the freezer or doing one of the sterilization methods. There are a few other options at the link above, some of which work well for people, and some of which don't, depending. Mainly, keep your pantry clean, tightly store anything the beetles will enjoy, and don't think that it's you. Beetles have to live, too, and they'll work really hard to find a way to get by.

posted in: Blogs, food geek, flour, red flour beetle, confused flour beetle, grain, Weevil, beetle
Comments (5)

jjcharris writes: I'm going out to pick some bay leaves from my bush. I have meal worms occasionally but see the moths flying. I try to keep the pantry clean but, it's obviously not enough. Mine like nut meats. Creepy!
Jeanette Posted: 12:17 am on April 8th

annemax writes: Bay leaves work wonders! Posted: 3:28 pm on April 7th

jthorp writes: We used to be very troubled with flour moths, until we read the advice that you can keep them at bay by putting a few bay leaves in the cupboards where your jars of flour and other grains are kept. It isn't an instant cure, but after a month or two there are really no moths to be seen. The site where I found this advice says that it works also against weevils.
Posted: 1:27 pm on April 7th

MicheleO writes: I had a nasty experience with these little critters 2 years running - and besides flour, they are very attracted to chili spice, so keep your spices tightly sealed. Posted: 12:47 pm on April 7th

dragonmoon writes: I'm hoping this works for Miller Moths as well. They're the bane of my kitchen. I've taken to storing my dry goods in canning jars as a means of keeping the moths (and mice) out of them. Posted: 11:59 pm on March 30th

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