Can you eat weevils in flour?
In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat weevils in flour?” and discuss how can you get rid of flour bugs?
Can you eat weevils in flour?
Yes, you can eat weevils in flour. Because they don’t sting or bite and carry no illnesses, weevils are safe to handle. They can, in fact, be eaten, although they don’t seem especially appetizing to me.
Weevils and their flour are safe to consume, but the next time you buy flour, be sure to choose a container that won’t enable weevils to get in. Weevil-infected flour isn’t exactly fun to eat, but you may rest easy knowing that it won’t kill you. They’re safe to handle!
Insects are not only safe to eat, but are studied as a source of nutrients and especially proteins. Insects are characterized by their high protein content (13–77%) containing essential amino acids in the recommended percentages, and in terms of fat, insects present polyunsaturated fatty acids such as ω-3 (α-linolenic acid), ω-6 (linoleic acid), and ω-9 (oleic acid). The dietary fiber present in insects mainly corresponds to chitin, a non-digestible polysaccharide-repeating N-acetylglucosamine (N-acetyl-D-glucose-2- amine). Additionally, insects also contain minerals such as iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, and different types of vitamins (B group and C, and vitamins A and D) (2).
Try not to freak out if you discover weevils in your flour after you’ve already used it. It’s unlikely that you’ve been eating live flour bugs since baking destroys eggs and newly born weevils before they reach your mouth. However, infested flours lose their dough properties due to changes in the chemical composition of the gluten and the results of baking are not positive, leading to a poor network of the dough. Studies show that the nutritional losses of wheat attacked by flour bugs were significant and changed the protein, fat, fiber, ash and carbohydrate contents of the grains (1).
Cereal grains, wheat in particular, are among the most important crops globally. Cereal grain losses during storage can reach 50% of total harvest in some countries; a worldwide loss in quality of grain is caused by insects (1).
A common question is, “How did the flour bugs get into my house?”
It’s possible for these men to get into your house in a variety of ways. It’s possible that some of the egg-laying female weevil eggs laid in the field have survived milling and ended up in the bag of flour you purchased from the shop. As soon as the eggs hatch, the larvae begin their pre-coital feeding frenzy. Adult stored grain insects choose a wet place and begin their life cycle with the eggs which are deposited on food grains and flours and on the walls of the store house by the female parent. Mainly infesting stages are adults and larvae which inhabit inside grains and combinedly resurge in a geometrical ratio if no control is being made (3).
Cracks, gaps, and holes in the walls and windows of your house provide a second method of entry for deadly weevils.
Do you have weevils in your home?
The eggs of weevils are so little that you can’t tell whether there are any in your flour. But after they’ve hatched, it’s a lot easy to identify them. Pests might be found in your cupboards by following these tips.
Flour bugs: how can you get rid of them?
If you’re currently dealing with flour bugs or want to avoid them in the future, here are six quick ways to help you stay on top of the problem. Hygienic practices which are essential and include: avoidance of mixing infested flour with healthy ones and storage of food grains in a clean and uncontaminated place (3). Flour Bugs may be kept at bay with the help of these six natural methods:
1. Thoroughly clean
Everything in your pantry should be thrown out, including any open containers or contaminated foods. After vacuuming the shelves, use white vinegar, hot soapy water, or a natural cleaning spray to thoroughly clean them.
2. Make use of the appropriate packaging.
The flour bugs may be kept at bay by storing your grains such as flour, sugar, cereal, and other inappropriate storage containers. In order to get the greatest results, use airtight jars and containers. Humidity and light contribute for the proliferation of insects in stored food (3).
3. Put a freeze on it.
In order to ensure that your flour does not include fully-grown bugs, you should freeze it for four days. Insect eggs and larvae are killed by freezing, which prevents them from developing into a full-fledged army. Putting dry items in the freezer as soon as you get them home from the store is an excellent preventive precaution. Temperature treatment of stored grains is a best physical method which successfully kills several life stages of insects at a time. Most of the stored product insects can not tolerate extreme temperature, heating and cooling and show heave mortality (3).
4. Insecticides may also be used.
Pantry bugs may be treated using non-toxic pesticides. Children and dogs should be kept away from the area until the smell has dissipated since they do produce fumes. It is recommended to use bioinsecticides, due to safety issues. Many botanicals such as plant essential oils and their chemical constituents are reported for their developmental inhibitory activities against insect pests (3).
5. Deterrents found in nature
To keep the weevils away, use garlic cloves and rosemary. Garlic and rosemary may be used to stop these pests from infesting your newly cleaned shelves. The essential oils of many plant species are known to have repellent and insecticidal activities. Besides crude oils, toxic effect of oil constituents like d-limonene, linalool and terpenols was also observed on many insect pests (3).
6. Professionals should be called in for this.
Call a pest management expert if your flour bug infestation is severe or if you’re unsure whether it’s weevils that you’re dealing with.
The Flour Mites and Weevils: How Do They Look?
Flour mites and weevils are two distinct pests, despite their resemblance in behavior. Flour mites are microscopic insects that are almost impossible to see with the naked eye. They have white bodies and brown legs, and they like to reside in flours, grains, and cereals, where they may be found (5).
It’s simpler to see weevils than flour mites since they’re bigger. They are brown in color and have a darker body. Scales or lustrous hairs cover their bodies since they are beetle, and they are thin and oval-shaped. Adult weevils range in size from 3 mm to 10 mm and have a unique snout-shaped nose (4).
The Question: How Do Weevils and Mites Make Their Way into Your Flour and Kitchen?
If you use flour or wheat products in your kitchen, flour mites and weevils will have entered your home. If your items are kept for an extended period of time, a small number of flour bugs may lay a large number of eggs, leading to an infestation. Kitchen mites and weevils may reproduce significantly more quickly in hot conditions, making the situation much worse.
Infestations of this type are not necessarily the fault of the homemaker; the insects may gain entrance into the house as a result of buying some cereal product that already has become infested. Commercially prepared dry pet food is one of the primary sources of insect infestation in many households (4).
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In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat weevils in flour?” and we discussed how can you get rid of flour bugs?
- Mohammad, Osama Saeed, Wand Khalis Ali, and Abdul-minom Tais Al-Hulitan. The effect of infestation by the confused flour beetle (Tribolium confusum Duv.) on specifications of wheat flour. J Agric Sci Technol, 2012, 5, 696.
- Aguilera, Yolanda, et al. Investigating edible insects as a sustainable food source: nutritional value and techno-functional and physiological properties. Food Funct, 2021, 12, 6309-6322.
- Upadhyay, Ravi Kant, and Shoeb Ahmad. Management strategies for control of stored grain insect pests in farmer stores and public ware houses. World J Agric Sci, 2011, 7, 527-549.
- Glogoza, Phillip. Bugs in Your Cupboards. 2005. North Dakota State University.
- Mason, Linda. Insects and mites. Food plant sanitation. CRC Press, 2002. 343-368.