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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How to get rid of Pantry pests - Especially the Flour bugs - Weevils (Tamil - Vandu or Chakkan)?

There are a variety of pantry pests. Most of them arrive in either flour or seeds and they multiply in no time to a large number. 

Here is a picture of a small weevil from my kitchen. I got them all over few shelves from a single box of rice flour. I realized I didn’t use the flour for a long time and I should have trashed it in time. Now I had to clear off the entire kitchen to make sure that these weevils do not multiply and spread to other groceries. [Click on the image to enlarge]







How to they arrive in your kitchen?
  • Most of the times these bugs are already present in the packed seeds or flour in grocery stores. The packages would have had small tiny eggs of the bugs which develop to a bug over a period of time.
  •  The grocery store/your kitchen may carry infested items. It may then catch on to other items nearby. Remember all it needs is a few eggs. They multiply very quickly.
  • There may be cracks in your kitchen through which the bugs may enter the apartment/home.
  •  If the near by apartment/home in the same complex is affected, there are chances that your kitchen get them.
  • And most importantly, if your flour or seeds are kept for a long period of time, they get infected by flour bugs.

How to avoid Weevils (Vandu or Chakkan)?
  • Inspect your kitchen and unused groceries often. Make sure you immediately throw away the infested groceries and clean the place with a good kitchen cleaner.
  •  After you buy the flour/seeds, refrigerate them in the freezer for about 3-4 days. This ensures that all the hidden eggs in the packed content die.
  • Make sure to throw away unused flour every few months. Even if you do not see any bugs developing in them, they are more likely to get new ones any time soon
  • If you live in hot climatic conditions, it is more likely that your bugs will multiply sooner. You need to be more cautious.
  • Make sure the containers you store your groceries are in good shape. Make sure to wash them in hot water with a good cleaner every time you restore or refill the container. Also make sure that the seals are intact and there is no gap anywhere on the lid.

What to do if your groceries get them?
  • If you get them in your kitchen, make sure you immediately clear the source and all infested items. Throw away the infested groceries. Make sure all of the non-infested items are sealed and covered properly.
  • Empty the space and clean with a good food safe bleach and water. You could also use sprays available in the market for weevils/flour bugs.
  • Let the shelves remain empty for few hours and frequently check to see if you see any other weevils/bugs around. It is advisable that you leave the pantry door open over night.
  • Once you load the groceries, for the next few days, keep checking to see any development of bugs. Repeat the above process if necessary.

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