What Do Weevils Look Like?
Scientists have identified over 60,000 species of weevils across the globe, and they know that many more unidentified species exist. Despite so many variations of the weevil, there are some characteristics that many species share.
For starters, weevils are small beetles. Adult weevils grow up to 0.25 inches, and their body color ranges from black to a deep red or brown color. Depending on the species, they may have a round or pear shape.
Some of the many species of weevils you may encounter include:
- Rice weevil
- Granary weevil
- Vine weevil
- Root weevil
- Granary weevils
- Black vine weevil
- Cowpea weevil
- Boll weevil
- Flour weevil
- Poplar weevil
- Grain weevils
In terms of their facial characteristics, you’ll notice a long snout relative to their body size. They also have antennae, with some species having extra-long ones.
How Can You Tell a Weevil From a Tick?
One of the best ways to tell a weevil from a tick is by giving it a prod—unlike weevils, ticks can’t fly.
Furthermore, weevils have a triangular face with a snout protruding from the frontmost point. In contrast, ticks have round bodies with barely any separation between their bodies and heads. Long antennae is another factor that distinguishes weevils from ticks.
If you’re still unsure whether you’re looking at a tick or weevil, consider its location. Did you find the insect in a forest or a flour bag? On an animal or crawling on your car?
Should you encounter them outdoors or on an animal, you’re likely looking at a tick. If the insect is in open, non-grassy areas or food, you can pretty much bet you’ve got weevils on your hand.
How Do You Know If You Have Weevils?
Although you can encounter weevils in open spaces, most people only become concerned with them when they open a bag of dry food and encounter insects. Common foods weevils gravitate towards include:
That said, weevils aren’t the only insects that enjoy these foods. Flour mites and the flour beetle also love dry grain-based foods. People commonly call weevils flour bugs not only because you can find them in flour but because they turn food into a fine, flour-like texture they eat.
What Are the Signs of a Weevil Infestation?
One of the biggest signs of a weevil infestation is physically seeing the insects. If you look hard, you may also encounter holes in the food’s plastic or cardboard container where the weevils nibbled through.
A powdery layer of the food is also common at the bottom of the container. The powder happens as a weevil gorges itself full of the yummy grain or dry food it’s in.
That said, you can’t blame weevils for everything. When you’re looking at the traces of weevils instead of analyzing the insect itself, you may have an invasion of a different species of dry food-loving insect.
Are Weevils Harmful to Humans?
Now that you know what weevils look like, you’re undoubtedly wondering if they’re going to hurt your health. Here’s the good news: Weevils don’t cause itchy bites or carry disease, unlike bed bugs and ticks.
Baby and adult weevils alike also won’t harm any pets you have.
Furthermore, if you accidentally consume a few, they’ll pass through your system without any adverse side effects. I doubt you’ll want to eat them. But if you do, research shows that eating insects offers an array of health benefits.
That said, although weevils aren’t harmful, they’re a sign that your food is degrading. As a result, it may have less nutrition. So, if you encounter weevils, it’s a sign that your pantry could use some purging.
Can Weevils Get Into Sealed Packages?
With nicknames like “rice bugs” and “pantry pests,” it may come as little surprise that weevils can get into sealed packages. A weevil’s most favorite materials to chew through include:
- Plastic bags
- Cardboard boxes
The reason weevils can get into these materials is because of their strong jaws. However, like all animals, weevils are on a mission to conserve energy.
So, what do weevils look like when they’re trying to save up their energy supply? They look for small openings in cardboard boxes. Box corners and folds without glue are some favorite places for a weevil to sneak into.
How Do You Stop Weevils?
One of the best forms of pest control for weevils is prevention. Before buying rice, wheat, and other weevil-loving food from the grocery store, inspect the box or bag to ensure you can’t see any bugs inside them.
Then, once you get home, transfer your dry food into a glass, metal, or thick plastic container. Make sure to seal the lid well to prevent weevils from getting inside.
It’s also wise to check your pantry for cracks and seal them. That way, even if weevils enter your home, they’ll have a harder time getting to your food.
Cleaning your pantry often is another golden rule for stopping weevils. It’s common for tasty particles of grains and dry food to fall out of their container as you use them. These will attract hungry weevils, making it difficult to get rid of them once they reproduce.
Finally, you can prevent and eliminate weevils by using herbs. Bay leaves, rosemary, and garlic cloves are natural ingredients that deter weevils.
Of course, if you end up encountering weevils in your food, immediately bring the food outside and throw it away.