Eliminate ‘weevil’ from your pantry

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

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My friend Krista is a big-time animal lover. Not only has she adopted her dogs, but she has also fostered others and advocated for animals of all types. She even carries her love for animals into her diet by living a vegetarian lifestyle.

Unfortunately, she recently ate some living creatures by mistake. She sprinkled some nutritional yeast on her roasted broccoli and cauliflower for dinner. After eating, while putting things away, she noticed the jar of yeast was full of weevils. Although she couldn’t go back in time and stop herself from consuming the weevils by mistake, it was not too late to take action on the rest of her pantry.

A weevil is a beetle with a long, down-curving snout. There are thousands of species of weevils, and they cause millions of dollars of agricultural damage. Some go after plants, while others will go after wheat, grain or roots.

The problem with weevils is that even if you purchase a sealed package of food from the store, they can still lurk inside. They hatch in the package, and eat their way out. They lay eggs and multiply as they go, and they can spread to other items in your pantry if you don’t catch them early on.

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If you spot weevils in your packaged food item, throw the whole thing away. Then, empty the rest of your pantry — not just items on the same shelf. Take every item out, and inspect for infestation. Try to find the source, which may be tricky. Look for damaged packaging or anything with holes. Throw anything away that is suspect.

Vacuum the pantry thoroughly. Pay special attention to corners and cracks. Then, take your vacuum outside and empty it. If it has a bag, throw it away. If it is bagless, make sure to clean the container very well.

Work on prevention as well. If you purchase bulk grains, flour or other items that weevils can thrive, place them in sealed containers when you get home. Then, put them the freezer for a week. Better yet, store them there. This will kill any eggs in the food before they have time to hatch.

Store items in tightly sealed containers that weevils cannot chew through. Think glass, metal or other hard surface. Inspect your pantry regularly, and keep it clean. Purchase items in smaller quantities and use them up in shorter amounts of time. You can also install pantry traps, which will help to guard against pantry moths as well. Look for traps that use pheromones, which are non-toxic.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.