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In this post, I’ll show you how to get rid of flour mites and weevils and I’ll show you what to do to prevent them in the first place and how to how to spot them in your flour.
Flour mites and or weevils are a common problem for bakers or anyone who stores flour and grains in their kitchen cupboards or pantry.
They come into our homes via contaminated packages etc and will quickly multiply where food is readily available.
What are the differences between flour mites and weevils?
Flour mites and weevils are two different creatures and generally, if you can see a small brown insect in your flour these will be weevils rather than flour mites.
Flour mites are more difficult to spot because they’re so tiny and their bodies are almost white, there are some signs to help you know if you have an infestation. Use the table below to help to identify the pest type:
|Pest type||Flour Mite||Weevil|
|Itchy hands when|
Tiny grey grains
|Very small but|
How do I know if my flour has mites or weevils?
If you have an infestation of weevils in your flour or in and around other dried foods in your cupboard or pantry you will be able to see the small bugs moving around in your flour.
They are usually around the top of the flour when in the packet and you may also be able to see them crawling on the inside of the packet.
Flour mites are much harder to spot, so you may not realise that you have a flour mite infestation unless you notice any of the signs in the table above.
If you’re lucky enough to have a microscope (or even a kids microscope) in the house then you could always have a look at a few small samples of flour to see if you can spot anything.
What to do if you find weevils or mites in your flour
Firstly, don’t worry if you find flour mites or weevils in your food cupboards, it doesn’t mean your cupboards are dirty or that you’re in any danger of getting sick.
These bugs are often brought in via contaminated packaging and it’s really common to get them if you store flour and other dried foods in packets.
It’s easy to get rid of mites and weevils without the need for any harmful pesticides and a few simple practices can help prevent them from coming back in the future.
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How to get rid of flour mites and weevils naturally
Once you have identified that you have an infestation of flour mites and or weevils, take the following steps to remove them from the infected area:
- Pull everything out of the infested cupboard or area and identify any packets which appear to be infested.
- Throw away any infested packets in a sealed bin bag.
- Wipe any unaffected containers using a clean cloth and soapy water.
- Use a vacuum attachment to remove any debris and dust from inside the cupboard and wipe it down all over with the cloth and soapy water.
- Don’t use any cleaning products or pesticides which could contaminate your food such as bleach or insect sprays.
- Dry down the area with some kitchen towel or dry microfiber cloth and then put back the remaining uncontaminated items.
How to prevent flour mites and weevils infesting your cupboards
Once any affected areas have been cleaned down, it’s a good idea to follow the steps below to prevent the mites or weevils from coming back.
If you don’t clean the area then chances are they’ll be back and multiplying in a very short time.
These are also just general good practices to follow even if you’ve never had an infestation before:
- Store flour and other grains in a sealed container – for best results do this as soon as you buy the product because paper packaging can be contaminated when sealed (don’t worry if the packaging is sealed plastic).
- Vacuum and wipe down the insides of the cupboard where you store flour every three months or so.
- Regularly check your flours for any sign of contamination.
Is it ok to use flour containing mites or weevils?
If you’ve baked or cooked with flour which you’ve found out to contain flour mites or weevils, don’t worry because they won’t make you ill.
Because flour isn’t eaten raw, the cooking process will have killed the bugs and any bacteria.
As a best practice, once you know the flour is contaminated it should be thrown away and the area cleaned out to prevent the bugs from coming back.
Can weevils and mites get into sealed food packages?
Yes, they can, if the packet is paper and I’ve seen this happen in unopened bags of flour where they have got in through the folds in the top of the bag.
If you’ve had an infestation in open bags of flour, it’s also a good idea to check the unopened ones too, just in case.
If they’re not affected, then transfer the flour into an air tight container or jar.
The best containers for flour to prevent mites and weevils
The best type of storage for keeping mites and weevils out of your flour is an airtight container or jar.
Mites and weevils are so tiny that they can get in the smallest of holes or gaps, so by using something which is designed to be airtight you can stop them getting to the flour.
I like to use Kilner jars to store flour, they look nice and the seal at the top ensures nothing gets in – they’re also good for sourdough starters.
Airtight food storage containers and jars are widely available in shops and online. I bought 1,5-litre Kilner storage jars from Amazon – you can check the prices here.
I hope this post has helped you to deal with your unwanted visitors! You may also like to read: