Rice Weevil

Category:

Actual Size: ⅛”

Characteristics: Long snout; reddish-brown to black, four light spots on wings.

Habits:

  • Strong fliers, attracted to light.
  • Females deposit 300-400 eggs inside a seed or grain kernel.
  • When disturbed, will play dead by drawing legs close to their body.

The rice weevil is distributed worldwide and is a serious stored-grain pest, living, feeding, and breeding inside the food. More prominent in the southern United States, rice weevil adults and larvae feed on whole grains. Often called flour bugs, these snout-nosed beetles infest and feed on rice, flour, nuts, beans, seeds, cereals, and especially macaroni. Adults can fly and are attracted to light. The larval rice weevil must complete its development inside a seed kernel or a man-made equivalent, like macaroni products.

Rice Weevil Habitat

Rice weevils are sometimes found in homes infesting rice, beans, birdseed, sunflower seeds, dried corn, macaroni, and spaghetti. Weevils are internal feeders and are also found in grain storage facilities, food processing plants, and whole-food markets. Adults can live for 7 to 8 months and the egg, larva, and pupa stages occur in the grain kernels and are rarely seen. Females deposit 300-400 eggs inside a seed or grain kernel. Larvae hollow out kernels of grain and usually attack whole kernels. Holes in the side of the grain are made by adults and by the emerging adults.

Rice Weevil Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Rice weevils do not harm people, pets, or home furnishings, but they do damage grains and seeds, and large populations can destroy food. Weevils feed on almost every processed, grain-based food consumed by people and their small size makes it possible for them to hide in tiny cracks. They can also enter even the smallest opening in a package, making them a relatively common household pest. Since rice weevils feed inside food packaging, they can remain hidden in the pantry for a long time. Homeowners will often spot adult weevils crawling on pantry shelves and floors.

Rice Weevil Prevention

To deter a rice weevil infestation, inspect rice and grain products before purchasing. Buy rice in smaller quantities and consume in a realistic time frame. Store rice in sealed glass, metal, or plastic containers. Regularly clean and vacuum cracks and shelving in pantries. A natural method of deterring weevils is the placement of dried chilies, cloves or bay leaves on pantry shelves. Weevils are sensitive to smell and dislike the aroma of spices; the presence of these strong-smelling herbs will repel rice weevils and other household pests.