No matter where you live, assuming it isn’t one of the poles, insect pests are just going to be a fact of life. And insects are especially pesky if you live on a homestead.
Whether you’re trying to bring in crops or just store a large quantity of food for the long haul, there are always going to be little creepy crawlies ready to ruin your hard work.
And without question one of the most numerous, most destructive, and most persistent pests out there when it comes to food are weevils.
There are dozens of thousands of species of weevils found worldwide, but all of them will destroy plants and, especially, stored grains and other foods. A major infestation can ruin all of the food in your house, but you don’t have to let it go that far.
Today I’m bringing you 12 proven methods for getting rid of weevils no matter where you find them. Keep reading and I’ll tell you all about it.
Getting Rid of Weevils in the House
Before weevils get to your food supplies, they’ve got to get into your house. Accordingly, it is hardly uncommon to find them investing in other areas besides the pantry. Whatever the case, if you can keep them out of your house you won’t have any problems. Try the following…
Don’t Let Them In in the First Place
I know the old saying is a cliché by now but it is absolutely true: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Nowhere is this more true than when you are dealing with weevils.
Weevils can turn a tiny foothold in your home into a full-blown beachhead for repeated, future invasions, with multiple generations being born and dying entirely inside your home.
We cannot let that happen, so the best thing you can do is to keep weevils out in the first place.
For starters, you need to be especially alert when fall creeps around and closes in on winter because that is when weevils are most likely to start moving indoors looking for a warm place to live and for food to eat.
And that’s why you’ve got to be absolutely fanatical about sealing up your home. Weevils can slip into the tiniest cracks and crevices, and of course right through open doors and windows. So you need to bust out the caulking gun and get yourself a roll of fine mesh to stop weevils from getting inside.
Check every door, every window, vents on your soffits and roofline, and flashing around all stacks, pipes, exhausts, and appliances that are going through the exterior wall or roof of your home.
Also pay close attention to any wiring that’s entering your home, no matter how small it is: Weevils are tiny and can go places that even other bugs cannot.
It’s a lot of work, but if you stay on task it’s possible to keep weevils from getting in the first place.
Don’t Hoard Food
I know this is bound to raise the ire of some readers, but let me explain myself…
Yes, you always want to be prepared for tough times, or at the very least, you don’t want to lose or waste the food you work so hard for. But you also shouldn’t hoard food in a way that is basically an open banquet for weevils.
Any food that is unsecured or, especially, sitting around in flimsy paper factory packaging or coarse cloth bags might as well be rolling out the red carpet for weevils.
I can’t tell you how many of my friends and neighbors have had to throw out tons of old food that was completely infested with weevils! It got that way because it sat for so long unattended and unchecked!
That’s no good, and if you do the same, you’re setting yourself up for major frustration and financial losses.
You need to have a plan for all of the food that you keep in your home. If you’re storing large quantities, you need to rotate it and store it in such a way that it is protected. More on that in the next section.
Use Insecticide Perimeter Treatments
I try not to resort to broad-spectrum insecticides if I can avoid it, but sometimes an intense weevil season means I’ve got no other choice.
Treat all of the services around your home, and the entry points on the inside, with long-lasting perimeter sprays or powders that contain pyrethroids or imidacloprid, both of which are highly effective against weevils. Any of the bugs that come into contact with the stuff will surely die.
Sometimes if you’re under sustained assault from weevils trying to break in, this is the only thing that can stem the tide.
It’s unfortunate that other, non-harmful, and even beneficial insects might die in this campaign, but that’s something you’ll have to put up with if you want to eliminate the weevil menace.
Place Weevil Traps
There are specialized weevil traps on the market that you can buy, and these ingenious traps rely on special pheromones that will attract weevils, contain them, and then kill them.
Some of them aren’t even toxic, relying upon the pheromone attractant and glue boards to hold weevils fast until they die. These can be a great option if you are worried about potentially harmful chemicals in the home, especially if you have kids or pets.
These traps are undoubtedly effective assuming you don’t already have a full-blown infestation in your pantry, but you will have to stay on top of changing them out periodically because they don’t work forever.
Glue boards, particularly, can get so overloaded with the corpses of insects and other critters that new arrivals can just walk across them!
Getting Rid of Weevils in the Pantry
The most common place you’ll find weevils when they do get in your home, is in your pantry. All sorts of different weevils will be more than happy to chow down on grains and cereals, but also things like crackers, dried pasta, spices, nuts, and even stuff like chocolate and candy.
It’s a gross problem, but one that you can deal with. The following techniques will show you how.
Vacuum and Clean Everything
The very first thing you’ve got to do if you notice weevil infestation in your pantry, either in the form of live adults crawling around in or on your food, or strange stains, mold, musty odors and warmth is to clean absolutely everything out of the pantry.
Any severely infested foods must be thrown away. Foods that aren’t seriously infested or just suspect can be treated (see the following sections). Then, you need to bust out your vacuum cleaner and vacuum every nook and cranny, every square centimeter, of your pantry.
Once that is done, clean all of the surfaces with a strong antibacterial and antiseptic wash. This will eliminate germs and also kill off any lurking eggs that might be waiting to hatch and start the whole process over again just when you think you’ve gotten the problem under control.
Also, don’t forget that you have to dump the contents of your vacuum canister or bag well away from your house, otherwise surviving creatures and their eggs might persist. I like to take it outside and empty it into a separate bag before tying it off and then putting that in the trash can.
Protect Vulnerable Foods
Understand that weevils will invariably home in on attractive food sources like the ones I mentioned above. Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, weevils are going to get inside and head for that food. Assume it’s going to happen, and act accordingly.
And “act accordingly”, in this case, means putting vulnerable food in weevil-proof containers. These are metal or hard plastics that weevils can’t chew through. Make no mistake: weevils can easily get through cardboard, paper, and even some softer plastics.
Whatever container you choose for your food, it must seal up tightly to not only keep air out but also to keep weevils from getting in. Assume that, if the container is not airtight, your smaller weevil species will be able to slip in the gaps.
Properly protecting your vulnerable food with the right containers can keep it safe even if weevils do make it to the proverbial end zone.
Treat Suspect Grains and Foods
If you suspect that any of your food might have been exposed to or infested by weevils, but it isn’t showing huge signs of contamination, it’s possible to treat it in order to kill any lurking adults and eggs.
You can use freezing or heating to do this. To freeze treat the foods, pop them into the freezer for between 5 and 7 days. This will be sufficient to completely kill off adults and eggs.
If you want to heat the foods to do the same thing, preheat your oven to 140 °F (60 °C), or use a food dehydrator for the same purpose, and heat the food for about 20 minutes.
Be sure to repackage any affected foods in completely clean and sterilized containers.
Last but not least, don’t forget to inspect your pantry often. If you notice mystery stains and spots, droppings, or even one or two adults moving around in your pantry that is a sign that you need to act and do so right away.
Eliminating an infestation early will save you a ton of grief and money.
How to Get Rid of Weevils Naturally
If you’ve got weevils in your pantry or elsewhere in your home, and you want to get rid of them naturally without harsh chemicals or involved treatment plans, you can do that with the following.
Vinegar makes a great cleaner to kill weevil eggs, and it can also repel adult weevils. Using white wine or apple cider vinegar as a cleaning agent can help you kill two birds with one stone by eliminating the next generation and driving out adults.
Even better, it is of course completely safe for people and for pets.
Use Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil is another known and proven weevil repellent and one that happens to smell great. Well, it smells great to some people! You have another way to use eucalyptus oil besides wiping it on.
Soak cotton balls with it and then put them in a sachet or wrap them in a coarse cloth and leave it anywhere that you need some weevil repellent.
Bay Leaf Repels Weevils
Another curious weevil repellent, considering that many kinds of weevils love to eat dried spices, bay leaves will repel these nasty little bugs as well as anything.
You can leave dried bay leaves in containers with other foods or leave stalks or bundles of them tied in your pantry on shelves and at ground level to keep weevils away.
Diatomaceous Earth Kills Weevils
One of my favorite insect killers, diatomaceous earth has long been used as an effective, persistent insecticide. This stuff comes in powder form, and it is actually the incredibly tiny, ground shells of ancient crustaceans.
The individual particles are extremely hard and rough, and they lacerate the exoskeletons of insects, including weevils.
After suffering these injuries, the insects will lose the protection of their carapace and slowly die from dehydration. It isn’t as fast or effective as genuine chemical insecticide, but it’s completely natural and basically harmless to people and other animals (unless you are inhaling tons of the stuff).
You can use it to set up a perimeter of sorts outside and under windows and doors for comprehensive protection against weevil infiltration.
Does Bleach Kill Weevils?
Potentially, but it’s not very effective. Bleach is sometimes recommended as a dual-purpose weevil killer and disinfecting agent for cleaning up after an infestation, but it is only good at the latter.
There’s not much evidence to suggest that bleach is particularly effective at eradicating weevils, including their eggs, compared to vinegar and other common household cleaners.
You definitely shouldn’t waste your time or money trying to use bleach as a weevil killer when you’ve got better options outlined above.
Tom has built and remodeled homes, generated his own electricity, grown his own food and more, all in quest of remaining as independent of society as possible. Now he shares his experiences and hard-earned lessons with readers around the country.
Find out more about the team here.