If you don’t store dry staples properly, you can easily end up with a weevil infestation. You might be wondering whether it’s safe to eat weevils in food.
Yes, it is completely safe to eat weevils, including the eggs, larvae, and adult weevils. However, just as you would with meat, it’s recommended that you cook them first. Cooking kills any bacteria or parasites which may be in the weevils.
Luckily, weevils tend to infest foods which require cooking anyway, such as dry beans or whole grains.
What About the “Yuck” Factor of Eating Weevils?
Even though insects are eaten in many parts of the world, it’s still considered “gross” in many Western cultures. So, it’s understandable if you feel squeamish about eating weevils. A lot of people throw out perfectly-good food because of this.
If you want to save the food without eating visible weevils, here are some things you can do:
1. Remove the Weevils
Trying to pick out each of the weevils individually takes a lot of time. Instead, soak infested beans or grains in water. Adult weevil bodies will float to the top, making them easier to remove them. Obviously this doesn’t work with infested flour.
2. Prepare Food So You Can’t See the Weevils
If you can’t see the weevil bodies in the food, it isn’t as gross to eat. After cooking the grains or beans, you can blend them so the weevils aren’t visible. Or make cakes out of infested flour or grains; it’s a lot harder to see the weevils once cooked with other ingredients.
3. Use the Infested Food for Non-Food Purposes
If you really can’t stomach the idea of eating weevils, you don’t have to throw the food away. Instead:
- Grains can be used as bird feed
- Flour can be used to make play-dough or a natural ant-repellent
- Make DIY hot packs, beanbags, or play things
*If you want to make anything out of food infested with weevils, you’ll need to kill the weevils and their eggs first. Otherwise the weevils will just continue to feed, lay eggs, and make a worse infestation.
Avoiding Weevils in the Future
- How to Store Flour
- How to Store Rice
- How to Store Dry Beans
- Oxygen Absorbers for Food Storage
- Mylar Bag Food Storage
Also see does rice turn into maggots?
What do you do with weevil-infested food? Let us know in the comments.
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Back during the Civil war; Soldiers sometimes received hardtack that had weevils in it. The soldiers did not mind them being there. The bugs added PROTEIN to their meal.
My Navy family tells stories about eating ROACHES in their food on the ship. I’ve gotten used to eating weevils but don’t know if I could stomach roaches. Just shows how much culture has conditioned us to thinking bugs are gross. 🙂
You can freeze flour to kill the weevils and then sift the flour before using it.
Bugs are still gross, but some bugs carry diseases or are poisonous. Which bugs would not be safe to eat?
There are some poisonous insects. However, in general, the bugs which are not safe to eat don’t get into your food supply. Further, it’s the larvae which get into the food (the adults fly away or are easy to scare away) and larvae are safe and nutritious to eat. Bear in mind though that I’m talking about the USA. I’m sure there are some poisonous larvae in places like Australia or, as talked about in this article about making poison arrows from beetle larvae, South Africa https://www.biodiversityexplorer.info/beetles/chrysomelidae/alticinae/arrows.htm
Like Diana, I sift my flour with a metal sifter if I am concerned about pantry moth larva. I also rinse rice thoroughly before I cook it. If water were scarce I might not rinse the rice, but I would pick out any visible bit that didn’t look like rice before I cooked it! Thanks for bringing up this topic. It’s nice to read other perspectives.
If possible, ALWAYS rinse rice. Consumer’s Reports says there is more arsenic in rice than is healthy and that this situation is very concerning. I always rinse any rice.
I just consumed a whole lot of bugs infested in my beans; just a little bit crunchy.
I usually blend up the infested food so I can’t detect the crunch. Good for you for being able to get over the societal conditioning that says bugs are “gross” 😀
I have that in front of me right now and am really not cool with eating it
Infected but sweet beans
lol..love these comments…Now, we are true preppers;)
I just came to read and know if I’m gonna die cos I just ate a cooked weevil infested beans.
Thanks for giving me hope
well, I’m definitely not dead yet and I eat them all the time 😀
Can my dog eat weevil infested treats?
Considering that my family and I all have eaten weevil-infested food and been fine, I’m sure your dog would be too. 🙂
Thanks so much for this! I poured a load of hot water over some chickpeas and a ton of dead adult insect bodies floated to the top. I got out all that I could see, and cooked the chickpeas in my pressure cooker. Now though, I can see several have adult bodies inside and it panicked me that I had wasted all this food. Your article has comforted me that it might seem icky (and I’ll definitely store beans more carefully in future) but I can safely eat them without concern. Thank you!
Knowledge suspiciously speaking- Now just to clear the smoke or like some of us might say the air, just today, I was crushing up some crackers to put into my soup by surprise having to look down saw a few weevils I am almost certain I Musta digested a few right before realize it must’ve came from the wheat crackers, dammit I did a complete body flush first, as well as using vinegar in the canal area, I’m still standing feeling a little itchy, but crunch crunch down the hatch they went I even make myself throw up before realizing it’s all good our system is made digesting food for thought.
Dammit, I forgot the onions It’s almost like gravy I’m just saying, still standing alive weevils weevils down the hatch they went didn’t realize till afterwards
Eat up there goes the weevils down the hatch they went that’s my protein for today food for thought damnit I almost forgot my shake blender action crunchy moment, Lol!!!
Oh thank you for posting this and for everyone’s opinions in the comments! I have stored bags of rice and found weevils, but I’m a single mama and can’t afford to waste food. Thank you for letting me know I don’t have to throw these out! I’ll freeze all new bags immediately from now on.
Thank you so much for these posts. I have learned a lot. Now know how to store Flour, Rice and beans and how to get the weevils out of food before cooking. Thank you again for your wealth of information, for those of us that were clueless.
OK, freeze the packages, got it. Wouldn’t the content absorb moisture from freezing process? How do you efficiently and effectively dry the bags after you freeze them? I buy 25lbs bags of rice. Do you have to open the bags, take the contents out, dry them in the sun and repackage the content? TIA!
Yes, you should let it dry out a bit. But you don’t have to spread it all out in the sun. Just let the open bag “breath” a bit. For 25lbs of rice though, I’d just repackage it in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Bugs and their eggs can’t survive without oxygen, so it solves the problem — and is a lot easier than trying to freeze that much food.
I LOVE this thread and blog…I just discovered 1,000’s of little weevles in my huge bags of grain and thought, if I were really hungry, would I mind a little crunchiness in my grain. Nope…so I’m just going to pour the grain and little critters, live and all, right into the glass jars I’ve been saving, with a little Diatomaceous Earth. They’re actually doing me a favor by turning the wheat berries into flour! Thank you for this blog….I would have wasted $100’s of dollars worth of perfectly good food. Now, my bread will just have a little more protein! LOL