Can you get sick from eating weevils?

In this brief article, we will answer the question “Can you get sick from eating weevils?”. In addition to this, we will also discuss its classification briefly, types of weevils and the ways which can help to control the population of weevils in food.

Can you get sick from eating weevils?

No, you cannot get sick from eating weevils. Weevils at any stage of their lives either at the larval stage or as a complete insect is not harmful and one cannot get sick if they accidentally eat weevil. 

Unlike other household insects, for example, mosquitoes which can cause dengue fever, malaria, yellow fever, or cockroaches which can cause food poisoning, asthma, cholera or mice which can cause rat-bite fever, weevils are non-toxic and has no side effects if being eaten.

It is safe to eat weevils, but it is recommended that they should be consumed when they are cooked. Consuming them in a well-cooked form will help to prevent any infection caused by bacteria that are present in their body. Interestingly, weevils are present in the food items which cannot be consumed in raw form and need to cook before eating. 

Although weevils have no side effects when eaten, they are still considered unacceptable in many countries of the world especially in Western countries. 

Weevils are small insects or pests which are present in wheat grains, flour, rice, nuts and other dried foods. The presence of weevils is proof that there is no pesticide present in that food item. 

Classification of Weevils: 

Weevils are small beetles that belong to kingdom Animalia, phylum Arthropoda and superfamily Curculionidae. They are small-sized, dark-coloured insects that have long sized snouts. The large-sized mouth is used to create holes in the grains, pasta, cereal, flour and other food items which can be the habitat of these weevils. The mouth of these tiny insects is at the end of their snout. 

In addition to being present in food items, they are also present in large numbers at different sites in homes. As they are very small creatures, so they can easily pass through different holes in the house or the cracks present anywhere or in anything present in the home. 

Types of weevils: 

Weevils are of different types which can be distinguished based on location or the food they are present in. The different types of weevils are described below:

Flour weevil:

Flour weevils are not considered as the real kind of weevils and are mostly identified as the red flour beetle. They are said to be flour weevils because they are mostly present near the places where flour is present. They are 3-4 mm long and are metallic in appearance. The shape of these weevils is oval, and they have two wings. 

These weevils can attack any place such as the grocery items present in homes as they feed on nuts or in the mills that produce dry fruits. These flour weevils also play their part in the production of moulds but when they die they produce a bad smell which can also damage food items.

Rice weevil:

They are said to be the rice weevils because they are present in rice in addition to some other food items as well. Their colour varies from reddish-brown to black. To check if they are present inside the rice grain, pour hot water in the rice and they appear floating on top of the water. From there one can remove them from rice before cooking rice.

Boll weevil:

They have the size of 6 mm with a long snout and are grey in colour. These types of weevils feed on buds and plants of cotton balls. The name boll weevil comes from their habitual liking to lay their eggs in the boll of the cotton plant. Because of this habit of laying eggs, these weevils can cause severe damage to the cotton crops. 

These weevils originated from Mexico and then in the 19th century, they reached the United States where they destroyed all the cotton in the early 20th century. The fact is that they only present on cotton, so if there is no cotton then you are safe.

Wheat weevil:

They are also known as grain weevils. Their length ranges from 3mm to 5mm. They have a large snout with a chewing mouth. These weevils do not have proper wings and they can eat food that is stored in a container or in anything.

Control of weevils:

To control weevils and remove them from food products, the following measures can be taken.

  1. By spreading the grains in the sunlight and stirring them after some time so that all areas can be exposed properly. This will make food free of weevils as they will leave because they do not like sunlight.
  2. By putting grains or another dry grocery in the freezer will also help in removing weevils as it will kill them.
  3. By sealing off the cracks and other small holes in the house will also help in controlling weevils.
  4. Store dry foods such as grains, flours, cereals etc in the dry, sealed container so that they do not find a way to enter and feed.

This way they can be prevented from being ingested accidentally by a person, which may give a bad taste during eating.

Conclusion:

In this article, we have answered the question “Can you get sick from eating weevils?”, its classification, types of weevils and how can they be controlled.

References:

https://www.go-forth.com/blog/post/are-weevils-dangerous

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.