Imagine the scenario… Special guests are coming to dinner or a weekend get together, and you’re planning to make cookies, cake, or another baked good from scratch. You grab the ingredients, some eggs, butter and sugar whipped together. Then you dig down into the bag of flour with the 2-cup scoop, fold it in with the baking powder and salt, and… wait.
Is something moving in there?
That’s not a question you want to consider when you’re making warm, sugary treats. But it’s a very real problem – flour bugs.
The Ones You See
The most obvious flour bugs, and the ones most people think of, are actually Wheat Weevils. Sitophilus granarius are not generally that populous in nature, but can rapidly infest human stores of grain. One pair of weevils can lay up to 6000 eggs in kernels of grain per year. The larvae eat their way out of the kernel and live for up to 8 months.
Adult wheat weevils grow to a little less than a quarter inch long, with elongated snouts and chewing mouth parts. Once you discover cereal, flour or other grains infected, you’ll need to throw it all out.
The only defense against the weevils is to use tight-lidded, preferably metal, containers, stored in the fridge or freezer.
And the Ones You Don’t
Flour mites are a whole different problem. Because of their size and white coloring, Acarus siro are almost invisible to the naked eye. Their major distinguishing factor is their brown or pink shaded tiny legs. Unless you have a large infestation, you might not even notice flour mites for a while.
You might notice a sandy brown tinge to your flour. Unless, of course, you use unbleached organic flour – it all looks that way. Another tell-tale sign is a minty odor. If you suspect you have flour mites, rub some flour between your fingers or on a counter top and sniff for the fresh scent.
These mites also will linger on the edges of boxes, munching on the glue until you open the box and let them in to get at the prize. Some folks will have an allergic reaction to the mites, also called “grocer’s itch.”
What to Do?
As much as you might hate wasting good food – this isn’t “good” any more. Throw it all out. Check boxes for bugs on the seams. Tiny holes in the wrapping of flours and sugars is another sign. The paper is easy enough for the mites and weevils to eat through. If you’ve found one, there are likely several hundred you aren’t seeing.
And whatever you do – don’t spray pesticides. The thought of accidentally eating flour bugs may gross you out, but it’s still safer than harsh chemical pesticides on your food.
While flour bugs aren’t our main focus here at Good News Pest Solutions, the good news is that our popular Green Perimeter Plus treatments keeps all manner of creepy crawlies out of your house. And we use the most effective, safest treatments for your whole family. For more information, or to schedule your first in home visit, with our accelerated COVID-19 safety protocols, just give us a call!