How to keep bugs out of rice? (5 Ways how)

In this article, we will answer the question “How to keep bugs out of rice?”, and how to eliminate the existing bugs in rice?

How to keep bugs out of rice?

Weevils commonly infect rice and other grains. They feed on the rice pectin for nourishment and lay their eggs inside the rice grains. Each bug can lay up to 254 eggs. The egg utilizes the rice grain nutrients and hatches. Then it mates again, lays eggs infesting other rice grains.

Inspection before buying

Before buying, inspect the rice for any bugs. Do not buy even if you see one bug.


After buying, freeze-store the eggs for at least a week before use. This practice kills the eggs. For best results, keep them in the fridge until use.

Discard infested grains

Once you start noticing the sign of insect infestation, discard the rice or any other grain that has been stored incorrectly.

Store in glass or metal container

Use glass or metal containers to store rice or any other grains because the weevils can easily bore into cardboard boxes or low-quality plastic.

Maintain cleanliness

Keep the storage area clean. Do not let any dust or dirt settle in the corners or crevices of the pantry shelves. Preferably use vinegar to wipe the shelves. Acetic acid acts as an insect repellant.

How to eliminate existing bugs from rice?

If you have found bugs in your rice, discard them immediately. It is highly likely that the grains or nuts stored beside them will have been infested as well. Check the seeds, nuts, dried beans, cereals, and dried corn that you have stored in the same area as the infected rice. If you find signs of infestation, your best bet is to discard them immediately.

If you do not want to waste food, you can kill the adult, larvae, and pupae of the insect by another method. Freeze the infected food product at a steady temperature of 0 ℉ for at least three days. Alternatively, heat the infected food product to 140 ℉ for 1-2 hours. Do not heat if the product like certain seeds and nuts, cant withstand high temperatures.

What is a rice weevil?

A rice weevil looks like a beetle. It is a small and dark pest that often contaminates rice, barley, buckwheat, pasta, cereals, oats, flour, and powder.  The scientific name of a rice weevil is Sitophilus oryzae and it belongs to the Curculionidae family. They can fly but won’t harm humans by biting.  Rice weevils are also known as rice bugs, rice beetles, corn weevils, wheat weevils, Sitophilus, or tiny black rice bugs.

Rice weevils are common in storage and processing areas where they can even infest bird seeds, dried fruits, sunflower seeds, nuts, spaghetti, macaroni, and dog food. Rice weevils can grow to 2-3mm in length, have 6 visible legs, shaped pits on the thorax, and are attracted to faint lights.

Other FAQs about Rice which you may be interested in.

How much water to add to the rice cooker?

Can you eat brown rice on a low-carb diet?

Can you use arborio rice for sushi?

How to get rid of rice weevils naturally?

Use bay leaves

The aroma of the bay leaves acts as a repellant against rice weevils. Place some bay leaves in the pantry where rice and other grains, nuts, or seeds are stored. Alternatively, stuff thistle socks with some bay leaves and place the sock in the rice container. These leaves are often used in recipes along with whole spice.

Use strong herbs

Herbs like cloves, rosemary, onion, and peppercorn that have a strong aroma can be stuffed in thistle socks and kept in the pantry to repel rice weevils. The strong aroma of these herbs might penetrate the rice grains if you keep them in the container with the grains.

Soap water

Apart from vinegar, soap water can also be used to keep the rice weevils at bay. Mix cup of water with 8-10 drops of dish soaps and clean the area around the storage to kill insect larvae, eggs, and adults.

Garlic cloves

Mince or dice some garlic or use whole garlic cloves, stuffed in a thistle sock, to repel rice weevils. The strong aroma of garlic also repels spiders, thrips, and centipedes.

Neem leaves

Like bay leaves, neem leaves can be used to keep the rice weevils out from the pantry due to its pungent smell. Stuff a thistle sock with neem leaves or keep them in a bowl near the storage area.


Like garlic, the pungent smell of garlic can be utilized for its insect-repellant properties.


Use a matchbox or a bundle of used match sticks to deter rice weevils. The sulfur in the matchsticks keeps the bugs out.


In this article, we answered the question “How to keep bugs out of rice?”, and how to eliminate the existing bugs in rice?