Rice weevils are some of the most common pantry pests in the United States. Though small, these beetles can be responsible for hundreds of dollars of food waste in a single household each year.
Furthermore, weevils are prolific reproducers and can quickly infiltrate other pantry foods if you’re not careful.
In today’s article, we are talking about how to get rid of rice weevils by using the best weevil spray available.
We will also discuss methods of prevention, home remedies, and other ways you can go about protecting your home from rice weevils in the future.
What Are Rice Weevils?
Rice Weevils are common pantry pests known to infest foods like grains and sugars.
Though you may not hear about them too often when it comes to problematic insects, rice weevils are considered some of the most prolific and important pantry pests not only in the United States but also in the world.
They can cost a single homeowner hundreds if not thousands of dollars in food waste each year. Worse, they are incredibly damaging to grains and can even shut down entire factories if that factory has been inundated with an infestation.
But what are these tiny pests, anyway?
Rice weevils, also sometimes simply called weevils, grain beetles, or flour weevils, are small beetles in the superfamily Curculionoidea. They are very small, growing to be less than 6 mm in length. Rice weevils can be seen by the naked eye, however, and are easily identifiable by their elongated snout, dark brown bodies with light brown spots, and six legs.
Although most people who deal with rice weevils deal with them in their adult stage, these pests are actually most damaging in their egg and larval stage.
Rice weevils have a lifespan of between four and five months. During that time, a female rice weevil can lay between 300 to 400 eggs.
Weevils lay these eggs in single grains, and the eggs and larvae then eat their way out of these grains before maturing.
While less than half of the rice weevil eggs laid will actually hatch, it is still possible for a single pregnant female to lead to an entire infestation of rice weevils in an unprotected pantry.
Unfortunately, many people discover they have rice weevils after they have used or consumed foods contaminated with the pests. Luckily, rice weevils are not known to be dangerous to people. They do not carry or transmit illnesses and are instead considered a nuisance pest.
Still, they can alter the taste of foods and lead to a higher rate of decay in pantry products. Furthermore, rice weevils, in spite of their name, do not only target rice. These pests feed on a variety of grains including cereals, dry pasta, and more.
The below video talks more about how to spot and control weevils.
But why do you have rice weevils, and what is the best weevil spray for pantries? Keep reading to find out!
How Do Weevils Get Into Pantry Foods And How To Spot Weevils
Weevils often infest grains and other pantry foods after getting into grains in the factory where they are manufactured.
When you consider that rice weevils are some of the most problematic pantry pests worldwide, it comes as no surprise to learn that cleaning and typical routine pest control regimens are not entirely effective when it comes to prevention.
In fact, the most likely way your home became infested with rice weevils is that you purchased a product from a local store that already had the pests inside.
It can be tricky to monitor foods before you purchase them to see if they are infested with weevils since rice weevil adults lay their eggs inside of grains. This means that even if you don’t see adult rice weevils, the eggs could still be in the foods ready to hatch.
Once these eggs hatch, the weevils will continue to eat the grains, mature, and reproduce. If you do not have proper storage options for your pantry foods, rice weevils can easily infiltrate other food products, which is what typically leads to food waste.
Since there are many other types of pantry pests you could be dealing with outside of rice weevils, it’s important to be sure you are dealing with these pests in particular. Identifying the pest properly can help to ensure you use the right products and methods when it comes to getting rid of them, saving you money and time down the road.
To identify a rice weevil, be sure to look for that long snout we discussed earlier. Remember, rice weevils are often smaller than the grains they are infesting, so you’ll need to look carefully through foods you suspect have been infested.
You can also identify rice weevils by cleaning out your pantries and using a flashlight to inspect the sides and corners of pantry cabinets. While you may find a few adult weevils lurking in pantries outside of food, it’s important to remember that these pests came from a single source.
In order to get rid of rice weevils, you should not only look for the best weevil spray, but you should also work to find the source of the infestation so you can get rid of it immediately.
Discovering rice weevils in some foods does not mean they are in all foods. However, if your food is not stored properly there is a chance you will want to treat everything you can.
Because rice weevils travel and spread quickly in pantries and kitchens, one of the best forms of prevention is to ensure you are keeping your food stored in airtight containers. This way, even if you do have a rice weevil infestation in one type of food, the pests will not be able to escape and infest other foods in your pantry.
Of course, we will talk more about rice weevil control and prevention further down. For now, let’s take a look at the best weevil spray and talk about how to best use it to control these pantry pests.
What Is Weevil Spray?
Weevil spray can help kill weevils and eggs in the pantry, although it’s still important to throw out or treat infested foods.
When it comes to finding a weevil spray that works effectively against these pests, the most common form of control is going to be utilizing a weevil spray that contains an insect growth regulator, or IGR.
Insect growth regulators help to target and kill pests in all their stages, and an IGR will also stop weevil eggs from hatching. Weevil sprays with IGR insecticides should also work to target adult weevils, killing them on contact.
We should note that many weevil spray products do contain insecticide ingredients, with the most common ingredients being permethrin, cyfluthrin, bifenthrin, and cyhalothrin.
Other weevil spray products may include insecticidal soaps, though some of these will not contain an insect growth regulator, which is important when it comes to not only stopping a current weevil infestation but stopping future weevil infestations as well.
When looking for the best weevil spray, we also suggest looking for a weevil spray that will provide long-term protection. Many types of weevil sprays can provide you with protection for several months and sometimes even up to one year when applied correctly.
Remember, because weevil sprays are most commonly used in kitchens or pantries and are designed to be used in places where food is stored or prepared, it’s important to use these products only as directed and to ensure you get quality products you trust.
The Best Weevil Spray For Pantries
Pantry spray should be safe enough to be used in areas where foods are stored and prepared.
You can find weevil spray products for pantries at nearly any pest control store, garden store, home goods store, or online, but not all of them will be made equally.
Remember, when it comes to finding the best weevil spray for pantries, you will want to look for weevil sprays that are safest to use in kitchens, and sprays that contain an insect growth regulator or IGR to help stop weevil larvae and eggs.
We also recommend looking for weevil spray products that provide long-term protection against the pests, which can help stop a future infestation from occurring.
If you’re not sure which weevil spray product would be best for you, we have listed several of our top products as recommended by experts below.
Hot Shot Kitchen Bug Killer
First on our list of best weevil spray for pantries is a Hot Shot Bug Killer for Kitchens. We like this product because it is specifically designed to be used in kitchens, pantries, and other areas where food is stored and prepared.
It is made with botanical ingredients as well as insecticides and is guaranteed to kill pantry pests like rice weevils, roaches, ants, and other insects on contact.
This product can also help to control flying insects like flies and wasps and is even effective against spiders.
While this weevil spray does contain insecticide ingredients, it is safe to use weekly or as needed to control pests.
Ortho Home Defense Insect Barrier
Ortho Home Defense is a popular pest control product designed to be used indoors that can help kill pantry pests like weevils, pantry moths, ants, roaches, and more. It is a spray product that comes in one gallon and includes a spray wand for easy application.
When using this product, be sure to clear out pantries completely. Spray down your pantries and allow the spray to sit so it has time to kill a variety of pests. Then be sure to clean your pantries thoroughly using a natural and safe disinfectant spray like vinegar or water and soap before replacing food.
This product can help to control pests for up to 12 months when applied correctly. With that being said, it does contain insecticide ingredients and chemicals that can be toxic to people and pets if not used as directed. Be sure to keep this product out of reach of children.
We did mention earlier that some of the best weevil spray products are going to be weevil sprays that included an insect growth regulator, or IGR.
Zoecon Gentrol contains an insect growth regulator, which not only stops adult pests but also insects in their egg and larval stage.
This is important when it comes to controlling pantry pests like rice weevils, especially if you’re not sure of the source of the pest. To use this spray effectively, it’s important to clear pantries completely of foods and products before using this insecticide spray, and then clean pantries accordingly after use.
Wondercide Natural Indoor Pest Control Spray
While natural weevil spray may not help to kill weevils in their larvae and egg stage, Wondercide Natural Indoor Pest Control spray can help to kill adult weevils on contact. This spray can also help to control ants, roaches, and other indoor pests that may be attracted to pantry foods.
Best of all, Wondercide is a completely natural spray that is made of plant-based ingredients and essential oils that will not harm people or pets.
Eco Defense Biobased Pest Control Spray
Eco Defense Biobased Pest Control Spray is another natural spray you can use to help control rice weevils that is safe to use around children and pets. This is an indoor weevil spray that also controls pests like ants, spiders, roaches, earwigs, stink bugs, mites, and more.
Not only will this weevil spray kill pests on contact, but it can also help control them in the future by acting as a natural repellent thanks to the essential oils used in the ingredients.
Other Products for Weevil Control
Many other products can help repel weevils and even prevent future problems.
Managing a weevil infestation using weevil spray is only half the battle when it comes to weevil control. Remember, if you buy grains like rice, cereals, or dry pasta, chances are that you will deal with weevils at some point if you haven’t already.
Preparation is key when it comes to weevil control, as is ensuring you are being proactive, storing food properly, and examining foods before you buy them from the grocery store.
When it comes to prevention, you can also invest in a few products for weevil control that can be used in conjunction with the best weevil spray as well as after you have used weevil spray to get rid of a weevil infestation.
Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth, also known as DE, is an all-natural product that is effective and safe to use in kitchens and other areas of your home. The product is made of fossilized algae and works by penetrating the rice weevil’s waxy exoskeleton, which then dehydrates and kills the pest.
This product is most effective when weevils walk through it and can be used as a form of control and prevention when it comes to weevils, ants, roaches, and other hard-bodied insects.
Best of all, Diatomaceous Earth is completely harmless to people and pets and is perfectly safe to use in areas where food is prepared and stored.
Pantry Moth And Beetle Trap
While sticky traps may not prevent weevils from becoming a problem, they can help to monitor pest control issues in your pantries. If you have found that you’ve encountered pantry pests more than once, a sticky trap like the Pantry Moth and Beetle Trap above can help you to monitor your pantries and keep pests under control.
While we do like pantry pest traps, we should note that they are not designed to control pests. They are best utilized in conjunction with other pest control regimens like a quality weevil spray or another form of insecticide or natural remedy.
Home Remedies For Weevil Spray And Weevil Control
It is possible to make your own weevil spray using household ingredients.
Weevils are certainly a serious problem for homeowners, but luckily there are several home remedies, methods, and tactics you can use to get rid of them. This is especially good news if you’re on a budget, as many household ingredients you already have in your pantry could help to control a weevil problem immediately.
Best of all, many of these methods for getting rid of weevils are natural and safe.
How To Make Your Own Weevil Spray
There are a few methods you can use when it comes to making your own weevil spray. As we will discuss in more detail further down, weevils can be deterred by a number of strong smells like the smell of essential oils. They are also not big fans of the smell of vinegar or certain herbs.
To make your own weevil spray to kill weevils on contact, you can use the following ingredients and instructions.
DIY WHITE VINEGAR WEEVIL SPRAY
- 2 Cups White Vinegar
- 1 Sponge
- 1 Paper Towel
- 1 Spray Bottle
- 5 Drops of Essential Oil (Optional)
- 5 Drops of Liquid Dishsoap (Optional)
This is perhaps one of the most simple forms of weevil control because it requires the use of one ingredient – white vinegar. White vinegar is not only a household culinary additive but it can also be used as a non-toxic disinfectant and cleaning agent. It also kills weevils on contact.
To use this method, simply pour white vinegar into a spray bottle. You can add a few drops of liquid dish soap as well, as soap will coat and suffocate the pests on contact.
Clean out your pantries, remove all foods and debris, then spray them down thoroughly with the vinegar spray.
Not only does white vinegar kill weevils on contact, but it can also kill sugar ants and other pesky pantry pests. The strong smell of vinegar can also work to wipe out the scent trail left behind by scout ants when they get into your home.
Use Essential Oils Or Herb Repellents
Like many insects, weevils rely on their sense of smell to navigate their surroundings, find food, and even communicate with one another.
You can help repel weevils by using essential oils or herbs to deter them. Some of the best essential oils to help keep weevils at bay include oils like:
- Orange Oil
- Citrus Oil
- Peppermint Oil
- Eucalyptus Oil
- Tea Tree Oil
- And Lavender Oil
Some of the best herbs and spices you can use to keep weevils under control include:
- Bay Leaves
- Black Pepper
- And Mint
To use herbs or essential oils to repel pantry pests, you can simply invest in an essential oil diffuser for your kitchen, or leave bags of the dried herbs in your pantries. You can also saturate cotton balls with the essential oils of your choice and leave them in your cabinets and pantries, replacing them once every three days.
Freeze Or Heat Your Pantry Foods To Kill Eggs and Larvae
If you do discover weevils in your pantry, don’t panic. A weevil infestation does not always mean that you must throw out all of your foods.
You can easily kill any eggs or larvae in your pantry by freezing pantry foods like flour, cereal, and other grains for at least three days while you go about cleaning your pantries and using the best weevil spray to control weevils and kill any lingering adults on contact.
You may also use heat to kill these pests, though this method does not work for all types of foods. Heat works best when used to kill weevils in grains like flour, as it will not disrupt the flours makeup.
To kill weevils in flour, heat your oven to 140 degrees F and heat grains for at least 15 minutes to effectively kill pests.
With that being said, some infestations are too intensive, and some foods have already been severely degraded by weevils. Be sure to inspect foods before you opt to freeze them just in case.
If you discover adult weevils crawling around pantry foods, it is best to toss that specific food. However, if you inspect your foods and do not see evidence of pantry pests but want to be extra cautious, you may use the freezer method to kill any potentially unhatched eggs or hiding larvae.
How To Keep Your Pantry Weevil FreeIn The Future
The best way to control pantry pests is to ensure you are storing foods properly.
Being proactive when it comes to pest control is key to ensuring a pest problem doesn’t get out of control, and the same is true when it comes to managing rice weevils.
While it can be tricky to keep rice weevils out of your home, there are a few steps you can take to help keep these pests from getting out of hand.
Inspect Grains At The Store Before You Bring Them Home
When you’re at the supermarket, be sure to inspect grains and packaging. Look for any signs of adult weevils in clear packaging.
If the packages are not clear, look for signs of openings like very small holes in the packaging that could allow for weevils to have chewed their way inside.
Store Pantry Foods Properly
Once you bring pantry grains home, be sure to remove them from their plastic or cardboard packaging and store them in airtight containers made of plastic or glass.
Doing this can help contain any infestation should one occur, and it can help stop weevils from spreading to other foods.
Consider Freezing Grains You Bring Home Before Storing Them In The Pantry
If you find that you have wound up with weevils more than a few times, you may consider freezing your pantry foods before storing them in cupboards or pantries. If you choose this option, be sure to freeze these grains for at least three days before storing them in your pantry.
Even though you have likely killed any potential pest in the grains after those three days of freezing the grains, it is still wise to store pantry foods in airtight containers, as specified above.
Routinely Clean Your Pantry And Cupboards Using A Vinegar Spray
Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and it can also help to repel pantry pests. It is also inexpensive, easy to find, and simple to use.
Use Repellents Year-Round
If you do happen to bring home rice weevils, you’ll want to do your best to make your pantry the least inviting pantry possible for the pests.
You can do this by ensuring you use weevil and pantry pest repellents year-round. The good news is that many repellents used in pantries are natural and safe, and include the use of scent pouches filled with herbs or spices.
Keep Up With Year-Round Pest Control
Last but not least, be sure you keep up with year-round pest control regimens inside your home. This could include routine cleaning in pantries and routine inspection of grains and other foods pests like weevils might be attracted to.
And remember, if you do happen to consume foods with rice weevils, don’t worry – these pests are not dangerous to your health.
Best of luck, and thanks for reading!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.