Does Rice Turn into Maggots? [The Complete Answer]


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Last Updated: January 7, 2022

Did you open up a bag of rice and find maggot-like creatures inside? Here’s what you need to know about what those are, how they got there and how to get rid of them.

Does Rice Turn into Maggots?

No, rice does not turn into maggots.  Because rice and maggots are similar in size and color, a lot of people incorrectly assume this when they see maggots in their rice. Really, those maggots are insect larvae which hatched in the rice.

How Do the Maggots Get into Rice?

Many insects feed on grains like rice. To ensure their babies have a food source when they hatch, the insects will lay eggs on grains.

It is common for insects to go to grain silos or warehouses and lay their eggs on the rice.  Thus, it is almost inevitable that there are some insect eggs in the rice you buy.

These insect eggs are not dangerous to eat.  However, if the rice sits long enough or you do not store your rice properly, the eggs will eventually hatch.  This is why you find maggots in your rice.

They Aren’t Actually Maggots

A maggot is the larva of a fly.  Flies usually eat decaying things and not dry rice.  Thus, it is highly unlikely that you have actual maggots in your rice. It’s most likely that those creatures are the larvae of Indianmeal moths or weevils.

These are very common pantry pests that have an insane ability to get into food, even through packaging. However, there are also many other types of pantry pests which can lay eggs in rice and dry staples.

Weevil on white rice
Khapra beetle larvae on rice
Almond moth (Cadra cautella Pyrali) on rice

How to Get Rid of Maggots in Rice

Because most grains have some insect eggs in them, it’s almost inevitable that the eggs will eventually hatch into their larvae form.  Once the larvae turn into adults, the adults will lay more eggs and usually on the grains in your pantry.

A single adult can lay hundreds of eggs in their short lifespan.  These eggs then hatch into new larvae, which is why it is so difficult to get rid of pantry pests once you have them.

To completely get rid of maggots in rice, you will need to:

  1. Use the rice before the eggs can hatch
  2. Kill the eggs in the rice before you put it in your pantry

You can read how to kill insect eggs in rice here.

What Happens If You Eat Rice with Maggots?

It is generally safe to eat rice that has larvae in it.  In fact, many types of insect larvae are very nutritious and considered delicacies in some parts of the world.  If you find it too gross to eat the larvae, there are also ways to get the maggots out before eating.

For more, read: What Happens If You Eat Food with Insects In It?

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