There are many pantry pests which can infest homes and businesses. Though Meal Moths, Grain Beetles and Flour Beetles are very common, Rice Weevils are just as likely to be the unwanted insect in such areas. Rice Weevils are small and easy to kill, but they can complete their life cycle quickly. Adult females will start laying eggs almost immediately so once you have some activity in a structure, it is sure to blossom into a problem which will need attention. Found throughout the world, Rice Weevils are a pest which can be controlled like many other pantry pests. Find the route of entry, discard infested food or belongings and treat with both residual insecticides and traps. The article below will cover this process in detail but if there is anything we don’t cover, give us a call or email with your questions and we’ll try to further assist.
Other pantry pests: ANTS BLACK LARDER BEETLES CABINET BEETLES CIGARETTE BEETLES CONFUSED FLOUR BEETLES DRUGSTORE BEETLES GRAIN BORERS HIDE BEETLES INDIAN MEAL MOTHS RED FLOUR BEETLES SAWTOOTH GRAIN BEETLES
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RICE WEEVIL BIOLOGY ^
Rice weevils are a small insect, about 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch long. They are mostly brown to black in color and can have spots on their thorax and abdomen. As the name implies, they like rice. However, Rice weevils can be found eating just about anything in the home. They typically like seeds of all types, dried beans, cotton, nuts, cereal, any wheat product, corn, flour, pasta, bread and other grain products found in most any home. But their tastes don’t end in the pantry.
Rice Weevils will readily feed on cotton fabric found in furniture and clothing. They love dried flowers and plants, decorative ornaments and dried flower arrangements as well. In fact its not uncommon to find them living in or on Christmas ornaments, dried flower collections and stored clothing. And unlike other pantry pests, rice weevil adults love apples, pears, grapes and other fruit. Since they fly well, it is not uncommon for them to enter a home attracted by the scent of some fruit or grain.
RICE WEEVIL LARVAE ^
Rice weevils start their life as a small caterpillar (larvae) which typically hatches on a food like wheat grain, seeds or nuts. Eggs will hatch within a couple of days of being laid and feed immediately. Feeding will occur for 1-3 weeks and then larvae will spin a cocoon in which they will pupate to an adult.
RICE WEEVIL PUPAE ^
Pupation takes about 1-2 weeks and when complete, adults will emerge. Rice weevils present more of a nuisance compared to other pantry pests because adults feed just as much as their larva preferring a wide range of things they’ll eat. Since they fly well and are small, rice weevils can move throughout the home easily finding all kinds of food. Adult females can start laying eggs within 3 days of emerging from their pupa cocoons. Most will lay 300-600 eggs during their 3-6 month life span so just one female can cause a huge problem. Since rice weevils can grow from egg to reproducing adults in less than one month, they can be a formidable foe in and around the home. If you suspect you have rice weevil activity, there are several things needed to knock out current activity and get them under control.
HOW TO CONTROL A RICE WEEVIL INFESTATION ^
Here are guidelines and treatments needed to control a local rice weevil problem.
First, empty all cabinets, shelves and closets where they’ve been seen or thought to exist. Any food stuff which has them active must be discarded in sealed plastic bags before throwing them out. This will contain them until the garbage is picked up.
If you are unsure something has activity, store it in a plastic bag and check it every week. If there are rice weevils in it they will try to get out 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.
Since this pest is temperature tolerant, don’t waste your time trying to freeze adults, eggs or larva. Though you can certainly kill some by freezing, eggs and pupae will only go dormant until it gets warm enough for them to continue developing. So even if you store something for months in the freezer, once you take it out any eggs or pupae would just continue on as if nothing ever delay ed them. In the end, you could end up getting a whole new problem by saving something heavily infested which was hard to notice because you froze its contents.
RICE WEEVIL TREATMENTS ^
Once the infested product is discarded, you’re just about ready to treat. We always suggest to first vacuum all closets, shelves, cupboards, pantries and baseboards about to be sprayed. This will help by removing eggs and some pupae. It will also remove hard to see food their young would eat. Rice Weevils lay 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 not be a solve all.
AEROSOL SPRAY FOR RICE WEEVILS ^
Once everything has been removed and you’ve done a good vacuuming of the areas with activity, you’ll be ready to spray. We have several products that work well for cabinets, pantries and areas with lots of cracks and crevices.
The first option is FS MP AEROSOL. This product is odorless and fast acting. If you know where they’re focused, FS MP will work well. Use it in pantries, cabinets, under the sink and even in baseboards. The can comes with a straw attachment making it ideal for cracks and crevices where adults and larva like to hide. Be sure to treat all your cabinets too – not just where you think the weeviles may be hiding.
Remember, rice weevils are small, fast and quick to hide when ever people are around disturbing them. And since they fly, its easy to miss where they might be active so its important to treat every cabinet.. Let the treatment dry for 1 hour and after that, all dishes and food stuff go back without hazard to people or pets. Expect to treat every 2 weeks if you see continued activity at that time. If not, treat every 2-3 months to insure they don’t come back.
BEST RICE WEEVIL LIQUID SPRAY ^
For most problems limited to a cabinet or two, FS MP Aerosol will solve the issue. But if you’re finding weevils throughout the house, aerosols are not practical to apply. And they won’t get the random travelers unless you spray every surface which isn’t practical.
Since rice weevils fly, they can get in laundry rooms, garages, basements and other areas where pet food and grain products like grass seed are stored. If this is happening in your home, go with BITHOR.
Bithor is very unique in that it combines two actives. One lasts a few days and effectively kills and agitates all stages anywhere close to where you spray. This forces them out into the open and onto the treatment. As the one active wears off, the second active takes over. This second active is very stealthy. Weevils (and other insects) won’t know its there. They’ll walk over it, pick some up and die in 1-2 days. Before they die they can even share the active with other weevils so the net effect is being able to kill off hidden nests.
The second active will translocate meaning it will move around the home, covering 50-100% of the walls and even ceiling where this pest might forage. The amount of movement is minimal but enough to affect them. And since the active is not hazardous to people (its actually used as a systemic to protect vegetable and fruit plants), you can get amazing results throughout the home with no risk to people or pets.
Mix 1 oz per gallon of water and apply the mixed solution to baseboards, carpeting and any room suspected of harboring this pest. Bithor can be spot sprayed and even broadcast over large areas so its safe enough for use throughout the home. 1 gallon of mixed solution will cover up to 800 sq/ft and you would expect to treat monthly for normal problems. But if they come back quickly within 1-2 weeks, spray more frequently until they subside. In most cases, 1 treatment solves the problem using 1-2 gallons but following up within a month is advised.
RICE WEEVIL EGG KILLER ^
For extra protection, add NYGUARD GROWTH REGULATOR with the Bithor. Its designed to be used at the same time as the Bithor, in the same sprayer, so it won’t take extra time to apply it.
Now its important to understand what Nyguard does. Basically it won’t affect adult weevils but it works specifically on eggs and larvae. Nothing can technically “kill” weevil eggs but Nyguard will prevent the hatching larvae from developing normally. Basically Nyguard mimics a very important protein the young weevils need during their growth. And when over exposed to this protein, they won’t grow right. This interruption causes them to stall during their development, mutate and then die. This in turn will help end the infestation.
Adding Nyguard will enable treatments to last for several months compared to using just Bithor alone. So if you have a warehouse or bad infestation to treat, using Nyguard with Bithor would be the smart way to proceed – especially if the problem is in a restaurant or food processing plant. Add 4-12 ml along with the 1 oz of Bithor per gallon of water.
For small needs, we have it in a 1 oz and 4 oz bottle too. This is less concentrated but works just as well. Use 1 oz of this concentrate per gallon of water along with the 1 of Bithor.
To apply the Bithor and/or Nylar, you’ll need a good PUMP SPRAYER. Our sprayer is made to our specifications and can produce a fine fan pattern ideal for a controlled application that’s neat, tidy, not over sprayed but consistent with its coverage.
RICE WEEVIL TRAPS ^
Lastly, install RICE WEEVIL PHEROMONE TRAPS in any area where you have or suspect activity. These traps use strong pheromones or sex attractants to lure adults. Once they crawl or fly into the holding tray, the thick catching oil will hold them for good. These traps should be installed a day after you treat. And they should be used as a way to monitor the problem. In most cases, they may only capture a few if you’ve sprayed well. But if you continue to trap weevils for weeks after a treatment, its a sure sign you missed an important area and will have to spray again.
Set these triangular traps in the back of any shelf or cabinet area. They are quite discreet and easy to conceal. Use at least one trap per cabinet. The expected life of these are 1-2 months. But if they fill up sooner, replace them immediately.
For open floors and areas with a lot of activity, the XLURE TRAP will be better suited for the job. The Xlure trap has a protective, hard plastic body with a “catching gel” and pheromone bait located deep inside and out of sight. Rice weevils will readily find these traps and once they enter, they’ll get caught but because of it’s design.
INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT TREATMENTS FOR RICE WEEVILS WILL WORK ^
Rice Weevils can be a persistent pest once established in the home. To break their cycle, you’ll need to remove all infested food. Next, you need to clean and vacuum all cabinets or closets where they’ve been found or seen. Treat with FS MP or Phantom Aerosol to kill off hatching larva and migrating adults. If you have them throughout the home, treat with Bithor to get better coverage. Finally, set some Pheromone based traps out in cabinets and pantries where activity has been seen. Be sure to keep the traps fresh so they are always helping by catching adults before they mate and reproduce. This program will help break the cycle in 3-6 weeks under normal conditions. After they’re gone, treat every 2-3 months to insure they don’t reinfest the structure.
CONTACT US ^
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kimberly bell says
Rice weevils have infested my home. I never knew they existed. Thanks to your webpage I’m going to try your suggestions to get rid of them.