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Thread: Little bugs in my rice?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Houston, TX

    Little bugs in my rice?

    Okay, sorry to gross anyone out, but there are little bugs in my rice? How'd they get there, how do I prevent it in the future and do I need to throw out everything in my pantry? They look tan and maybe winged? Any help here is appreciated...I'm in unchartered territory.

    Terri _A
    I'm anal retentive. I'm a workaholic. I have insomnia. And I'm a control freak. That's why I'm not married. Who could stand me?” -Madonna

    Read my ramblings about food and my nutty life on A Girl in the South!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    I've had the same problem recently. Store rice in a sealed container after it has been opened. You should look at every unsealed container in your pantry for bugs. The likely places to look are bags of chips, flour, and cereal. I had to throw away a lot of boxes of this stuff away.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Out looking for a sous chef
    OK; if you're eating, put down your fork.

    Ready? I think the eggs were there in the rice when you bought it. When you come home with grains (I do this with flour, but admittedly haven't yet with rice), store them in the freezer until you open them, & then keep them in Tupperware in your pantry. They're probably weevils--betcha they won't hurt you, but you sure don't want to eat that rice now, so toss it. Blech. Don't throw out everything in your pantry--you probably just bought rice that had weevil eggs. Until that lot is gone from the grocer's shelves, I'd switch brands for awhile too. I've had weevils in my starchy food before; you're not alone.
    If you're afraid of butter, use cream. ~~ Julia Child

    As you cook, you enjoy omniscience about food that no amount of label reading can match. Having retaken control of the meal from the food scientists, you know exactly what is in it. (Unless you start w/cream of mushroom soup, in which case all bets are off.) To reclaim control over one's food, to take it back from industry & science, is no small thing; indeed, in our time, cooking from scratch qualifies as subversive. ~~ Michael Pollan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Metrowest MA
    They look tan and maybe winged?
    Sounds like you have pantry moths. My DD is dealing with an visit from them right now. We think they came in with some birdseed which she stores in her basement. She NOW stores the birdseed in a covered metal container...

    Anyway, they can be persistant little buggers and you more than likely are harboring them in other grains and foodstuffs as well if they have already matured to moth stage. Here are some tips I got from various web pages:

    Pantry pests ( Indian meal moths, Mediterreanean flour moths, almond moths and raisin moths) are found in flour, rice, crackers, dog food, bird seed and cereals.
    Step One
    Check for infestation. Examine all food packages for telltale signs of moth or weevil infestation: webbing in corners, grains clumped together with sticky secretions, or small holes in containers. Also look for small bugs in the food or little moths flying around the kitchen. If you find them, read on.
    Step Two
    Clean infested areas. Vacuum cupboards, then thoroughly scrub all shelves with soapy water, paying close attention to cracks and corners. Dry the cleaned area thoroughly. Keep cupboard and food-storage areas dry.
    Step Three
    Discard infested food.
    Step Four
    Store food properly. Clean containers with hot, soapy water, then rinse and dry them thoroughly before refilling. Use tightly sealed metal, glass or hard plastic containers to store food; plastic bags are inadequate, as insects can get through them. Keep old and new food separate, and keep infrequently used items in the freezer.
    Step Five
    Eliminate the pests' food sources (such as improperly stored food) and breeding grounds.
    Tips & Warnings
    Pantry moth larvae eat a wide assortment of foods, ranging from flour to dried chiles and candy.
    It takes six to eight weeks for the pantry moth to complete its life cycle.
    Do not use pesticides in or around any area where food is prepared or on food itself.

    If you google pantry moths or pantry pests you'll find lots of info and products to help trap the flying stage.

    Good luck! It takes a while to get rid of them completely, and most of us have been there...
    ~ ~ Leslie ~ ~

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    I've had this problem before, too. I now store flour and cornmeal in the fridge. Rice I keep in a sealed container. We had an infestation of these from birdseed we kept in the garage. It was pretty gross!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    North Texas
    Yep, been there done that and it was gross! We pretty much tossed everything in the pantry. I was told that whenever I buy dried pasta and rice, etc. to put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes or so before storing in the cupboard to ensure nothing can grow.
    Everyone needs to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. . .

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Columbus, Ohio
    all grain/non-canned items (like dried chiles, etc.) go in the chest freezer over night before i store them in my pantry.
    good luck
    - Josie

  8. #8
    I've had rice weevils (pictured here and pantry moths (here The rice weevils had to come in the rice I bought since I saw them hatched in the un-opened bag. The moths did come out of the birdseed, and it took me almost a month to get rid of them completely. Thanks for the tip about putting things in the freezer...I will do that with everything (even the birdseed) from now on.

    Hopefully yours haven't made it out of the rice yet, Terri!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Orlando, FL
    Quote Originally Posted by krhm View Post
    <snip>The rice weevils had to come in the rice I bought since I saw them hatched in the un-opened bag.<snip>
    The same thing happened to me, only it was a bag of barley! I threw out most of my grains that were in that same drawer and I am sure to store all grains in sealed containers now.
    Last edited by 1MegMeg; 05-30-2007 at 03:30 PM.
    Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible. Cadet Maxim

    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Houston, TX
    I think they're the pantry moths that krhm posted...not weevils. The fly, that's for sure! I'll be cleaning out the pantry this weekend...dumping out lots of things and getting some containers to store things in in the future!
    Terri _A
    I'm anal retentive. I'm a workaholic. I have insomnia. And I'm a control freak. That's why I'm not married. Who could stand me?” -Madonna

    Read my ramblings about food and my nutty life on A Girl in the South!

  11. #11
    Thanks for the fridge/freezer tips. Since moving to Texas we've had just about "everything" crawl in our pantry. Sealed containers now line the shelves. Last year I had "bugs" in the rice package when I opened it - just home from the store. Called the 800 number and received a coupon for a new bag. (Have purchased same brand for 20 years with no problem.)
    Oh, and watch out for Italian bread crumbs. Those little dots might not be only dried herbs.....
    We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made.
    -M. Acklam

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Columbia, MD
    I had pantry moths, so i took everything out and had the exterminator come and spray the shelves. Everything that went back inis in glass or heavy plastic containers.

    I freeze my flour when I bring it home. My buggers never did fly, but they were all over the shelves and into the food. Everything infected was tossed.

    Don't give up, Moses was once a basket case.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Corona, CA
    So I once had little black bugs. they looked like just a black mark . . . until they moved. What were they?

    I ended up throwing out all my dry goods. And haven't had them since.
    Theresa & Gigi & Anisette & Enchante & Le Beau Ouiseaux Rouge

  14. #14

    Smile Bread baskets vs. pantry moths?

    I battled pantry moths for a few years. Mine came from some birdseed on a breezeway between the kitchen and the garage. I now understand that you need to keep birdseed in a metal container, not only to ward off pesky squirrels (who actually ate the bottom of my garage door to get to some!), but to keep pantry moths from getting into anything else.

    I finally beat them by using pantry moth traps. So far, so good. But here is my question--I want to upgrade my old bread basket but I am wondering if a bread basket is airtight enough to trust packages of crackers, English muffins, bread, etc., without triggering another pantry moth attack?

    Does anyone know, or have any recommendations for a good, fairly inexpensive bread basket that will protect this kind of food? thanks...

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Houston, TX
    I ended up investing in about a dozen food storage containers from The Container Store. They were relatively inexpensive, but keep things out the food fresh.
    Terri _A
    I'm anal retentive. I'm a workaholic. I have insomnia. And I'm a control freak. That's why I'm not married. Who could stand me?” -Madonna

    Read my ramblings about food and my nutty life on A Girl in the South!

  16. #16
    I had some coming in my pantry via birdseed (I suspect).

    One year I made about 20 1# boxes of hand dipped chocolates [Robert Linxe style] for X-mas gifts. Left them in my cool pantry while organizing other gifts in preparation for shipping - they had infested every chocolate!! Everything had to be discarded. The mealy moths made little holes right through plastic storage bags! Took me about 3-4 months to get rid of them.

    I ended up putting several sticky fly tapes in pantry, killing other strays with a flyswatter and discarding any bag that had little cottony balls indicating larvae. I eventually won the battle but had to be persistent.

    (No disrespect intended but exterminatinon with chemicals in food areas has me concerned. I'd rather eat bugs than carcinogins. Mealy moths are gross but they won't harm you -- chemicals are worse.)

    "we can't go 'round measuring our goodness by what we don't do, by what we deny ourselves, what we resist and who we exclude...
    we've got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create, and who we include."
    Pierre Henri in Chocolat

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
    This thread is timely, as I just had an infestation, but of weevils. I first found them in my flour (which was in an ice cream container--so the eggs were in the flour). Then I found a bug in my cracker box....the whole cupboard was infested. I had to throw out almost everything that was open...grains, pasta, crackers, cookies, cereal. Little buggers. They were everywhere. It was pretty gross. Now everything is in Tupperware or glass containers.

  18. #18

    Bugs in closed container

    I found the black bugs in my rice which I had in a Tupperware canister. The bugs had to have been in my rice because nothing could have gotten in the container.

    I am grossed out to say the least.

    I see that putting it in the freezer may help them not to hatch but just the thought of the eggs being there really freaks me out.
    Not sure if I can eat rice or flour products for a while. YUCK!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Great Pacific N.W.
    Many of the posts refer to "pantry moths". I had an infestatin of Flour Moths (the same thing?). The flour moths came into my house samne way as others said-- in birdseed!

    They are small flying insects, and can flatten themselves to get into even tight spaces or into tight fitting lids. When the eggs hatch, they form into little white "maggot-like" worms, and they crawl on to the ceiling. Then they hatch into the flying moth. YEEEECH!

    I first found I had them when my son was 8 and eating a bowl of cereal. He was almost done, when he said "Mommy why are there white wormy things in my cereal?"

    I also do not want poisons in my kitchen. So I threw everything out, cleaned. Now I put all items such as rice, flour, etc. into double plastic bags, use a twist tie to seal shut, then put into a tupperware or glass container. No problems since.

    I also made traps-- they apparently love barley. I put some pearl barley in little cups, and they seemed to gravitate to the barley, then I bagged it up and threw it out. Did that several times during my purging and cleaning.

    CAUTION: I have seen flour moths near bulk bins of grains, etc. at several stores. So you can bring products home that are infected with eggs. Sealing in a double plastic bag, sealing shut, and putting that inside a tupperware container seems to keep them isolated.
    Keep Calm & Eat More Bacon !!

  20. #20
    I just brought home a 20 lb. bag of birdseed, now I'm scared! It's all on a separate level than the kitchen. Should I be concerned? I can't store it outside. It's a dig box for my daughter's ferrets.

    This has been posted on Foodsaver threads but in case it helps anyone-- There's a Foodsaver attachment you can buy that lets you seal mason jars without air in them. This is a great, cheap way to store dry goods airtight and bug-free.

  21. #21

    Lock 'n Lock

    I swear by Lock 'n Lock containers in my pantry. If I do bring home something with bugs, at least they don't get out of the container!

  22. #22
    Fifteen minutes in the freezer might slow them up a little, but to kill the bug eggs, you need 48 hours in the freezer.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Richmond, VA

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  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    NJ USA
    I've also had infestations of nasty little critters. I think they may have been sawtooth beetles. Like everyone else, I threw out anything infected, quaranteened other foods in Tupperware to inspect for infestion and to prevent infestation, and carefully cleaned all the cabinets. Yuck.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    T's House
    OK so I have this problem of the little black bugs in my rice and pasta. I brought home a new box of rice used some and stored the rest in a glass container with a screw on top. When I went to use the rice again those darn bugs were in there.

    So my question is were the bugs already in there and just not hatched yet when I first used it or are they getting through the screw on lid? Do I need to get a different type of storage container?

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    San Francisco
    I would assume the latter and toss the grain; wash the jar and start anew.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  27. #27
    Eek. No clue what they are but what everyone else is saying seems to make sense. Note to self: make sure all grains are in proper containers.

    I come from a Filipino background which involves buying the huge bags of rice and I've never dealt/heard of anything like this.

    It is more likely to happen in certain areas of the country? I live in Ohio.

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Kenmore NY, near Buffalo
    No-- it's more likely to happen where grains and other dry goods are less fresh and stay on shelves or storage for months before being sold, after being shipped across the country.

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