Bugs in Pasta

zipsterApril 11, 2008

I brought home a box of pasta that was loaded with these little hard black bugs. I dumped the whole thing in the sink and ran hot water over them to kill them but that box has infested my pantry. I had several other boxes that I threw out but now I am still seeing these bugs around. How do I get rid of them?

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I guess the first thing I'd do is identify the bug, then find the appropriate bug spray. Might need to "bug bomb" the house or even call an exterminator.

I know that's not much help, but that's where I'd start.

FWIW, that's exactly the reason flour, pasta, etc goes right into the freezer when it comes to my house. I've seen back rooms at enough grocery stores! And I like to use glass jars with tight seals on them for that stuff too. Things like rice dishes, box potatoes, etc, I won't buy unless they're in a plastic bag in the box. Green-be-danged, I don't want the crawlers in my place!

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 5:06AM
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Throw out evreything in your pantry-these are grain weevils. Very common, but once you've got even one box of food infested, it's time to send things to the trash. The only things they don't get into are inedibles like salt or baking soda.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 7:46PM
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I used to work in a grocery store many years ago and these grain bugs are a nuisance.
Throw other boxed/pasta/rices out in the trash. I have also seen them in sugar/flour. They can also get into dry dog and cat food so if you have pets check their food, too.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 12:01AM
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This information may be helpful... -Grainlady

Flour, mixes, cereal, spices, and dried fruit are susceptible to infestation with beetles, weevils and moths even in the cleanest kitchen. The bugs enter in products that were contaminated before you brought them home. While beetles such as the flour beetle, meal worm, and grain weevils make the product unappealing, they are not harmful. Sift them out of flour or mixes that are only slightly contaminated. If the product is riddled with the beetles, discard it. Moths leave a grayish silky mat on the food product. To get rid of the infestation, remove all foods from the infected area and wash the area thoroughly. You may apply an approved pesticide for use in food areas in the cracks and crevices that you cannot reach to clean. Since larvae may be present in other packages in the infected area, freeze all products at 0 degree F. for up to one week to kill any beetles and larvae. Store foods in tightly closed containers to keep the food source away from any remaining beetles. Use glass, plastic and metal containers with tight fitting lids. Buy spices in bottles instead of metal containers with flip top closures. Other insects, like cockroaches, can carry dangerous microorganisms and disease so discard products infested with these. Check with a pest control company for instructions on how to rid yourselves of these pests.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 6:45AM
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I buy boxed dog treats from the pet store - the boxes are already plastic wrapped, but I found little reddish bugs in mine after I put them in the cookie jar. So what I do now is when I buy these boxes, I freeze them (still wrapped in the plastic wrap) before I'm even ready to use them. I haven't had any bug problems in my doggie canister since.

I've also seen these bugs (years back when I was a kid) in my rice a roni. My brother noticed them on his plate when our mouths were full. LOL Yuk!! We didn't eat rice a roni for years after that.

For anything else that comes in a box (like cream of wheat for instance), I pour it into a measuring cup before I use it (just to make sure its safe) and then I store the box in a ziploc bag in my cupboard so nothing else can creep into it. Same thing with my flour and sugar.

I just purchased a $120 set of canisters over the internet (accents of salado) - HUGE MISTAKE - they aren't air tight, and I'm so peeved. The company isn't customer service oriented to put it nicely, so they made the return process more hassle than what it's worth, so I'm stuck. You live and you learn.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 12:58AM
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I bought a box of taco shells, that's how I got my first infestation started. The second time, I noticed black things in a box of cereal. Both times I threw everything away, including rice, instant potatoes, bread crumbs, oatmeal. They ate holes in the oatmeal container! Weevils love grain of any kind and will also eat each other. That's why I saw so many "insecxt shells" on my counter. Toss everything or freeze. By the way, they are not a sign of bad housekeeping or uncleanliness. In a way, they are proof you give your family good foods. The taco shells were labelled "made from organic corn".

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 10:25AM
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I forgot to mention of course to toss the infested stuff, but still I'd do some exterminating and then a washdown of the place. If you don't do something to kill them they'll likely be back.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 3:51AM
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Can't say about weevils, but a ziploc bag won't foil pantry moths. They can chew holes through plastic.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 11:33AM
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I went thru all my boxes of pasta and threw away about 14 boxes that had the bugs in them. Why did I have so much? I ususally stock up when they have buy one get one free but this cost me more. From now on I will only buy what I need and use it. I washed down the shelves and it has been 4 days now and I haven't seen one. I certainly hope this is it but I intend to freeze anything like that I buy from now on.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 6:22AM
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I'm struggling with little moths myself. They did chew holes through pasta in zipped bags. I don't know what I bought that brought them in but we've been trying to get rid of them for six months now. :(

When I lived in Phoenix I stored everything in Tupperware or glass but have not had to do that here in Oregon but I guess it is time to start.

I have purchased some organic pantry items recently so maybe that is how this started....

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 4:47PM
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I had the exact thing happen to me. I threw out everything in my pantry that had bugs in it. This is what I did to prevent them:

Buy a mouse glue trap. It's a small tray with a sticky substance on it. I removed the backing, and stuck the trap to the inside of my pantry. See, if bugs fly into my pantry, they end up stuck in the glue trap! No more bugs to lay eggs in our rice, etc.

I also put these traps in corners of our couch, under our beds, to keep spider bites down. We tend to leave our doors and windows open at night.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2008 at 5:35PM
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Scrub everything down. Use air tight containers with air tight lids. I bought lots of Tupperware when I was fighting kitchen critters. My mom always also put a bay leaf or two into the flour. A friend suggested that when everything is clean, to sprinkle sticks of either Doublemint or Spearmint gum on the shelves. It worked. I never had them back. If you freeze the stuff for a day or so when you bring it home, that helps too. If you are walking down a grocery store aisle and you see those little moths flying about, report them to the manager and then go somewhere else to do your shopping.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 6:20PM
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Ok, so I have a major phobia of bugs. Last night I was boiling macaroni and found little brownish bug skeleton looking shells floating on the top. I opened another box and found little tan or cream bug shells in it. Are these the dreaded pasta weevils?
If so, can you please help me! What do I need to throw away? My apples and bananas? Kool-aid? Jello? Pie shells? Canned goods? Candy in ziploc bags? Individually wrapped 100 calorie packs?
Please help!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 1:18PM
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Just check all the grains (cereal, flour, corn meal, cake mixes, crackers, pet foods, breads, rice, dried beans) and other packaged food like any dried fruit, sugar, nuts, jello. You will have to open and check things to be sure. They do make holes in plastic sacks and get into food that way. So open and check your 100 calorie packs before eating them.

Your unopened canned food is ok. Fresh fruit is ok.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 8:16PM
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I finally got rid of my black bugs by calling the exterminator. He asked if I had checked everything and I said yes. I had some stuff in plastic boxes and didn't check those thinking they were OK. He opened one box and it was filled with bugs. He went thru my pantry and threw out so much stuff. I was embarrassed. Now my pasta goes in the freezer and I haven't seen them anymore. You do have to keep checking things often tho.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 12:32PM
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My son works for Orkin, and he told me when I had those grain bugs, throw out all grain products, then clean the cubbards with BLEACH water. I mixed 1/8 bleach/ water, in a spray bottle, and sprayed, that way it got into the cracks also. He says, any bugs at all, bleach, bleach, bleach wash.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 4:54AM
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Freeze all grains, flour, oats, etc 4 to 6 months. This will kill the larvae.
Freeze brown rice to prevent bugs and to prevent the natural brown rice oil from becoming spoiled.
Back in the 60's a pesticide man told me to use a strong bleach water to saturate cupboards where the wood/shelf/etc meets the wall or other cupboard structure, this will kill the larvae. He told me that the pesticide would only kill the hatched weevil and that he would be glad to keep coming back, but the infestation would continue.
We had taken a job as manager of an apartment complex and when the heat went on the weevils came to life. Any apartment could have this same problem
The bleach loaded into a large sponge and then squeezed into the crevices will work it's magic only according to how diligent you are at eradicating this expense producing vermit.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 3:48PM
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I once walked past a pet store and saw a large open bag of dog biscuits outside. I went inside and asked the clerk if I could take a few for my dog. She told me "You don't want those. They have bugs." As I left the store, I looked at the biscuits and didn't see anything wrong with them. But I didn't take any. So apparently pet food an be infected.Or should I say infested?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 1:11PM
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My husband went to the store and brought home two bags of Davinci pasta. I had the water boiling when he got home and dumped in the pasta and lo, and behold, there were all these brown things floating in the water. I looked in a bag and saw the furtive creatures moving around. They were infested right from the store!!!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 12:08AM
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Are bugs in any way harmful if consumed? If you were taught to find them disgusting then you find them disgusting beyond redemption - but are they harmful?

Did you ever take a microbiology class and look at produce under a microscope?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 1:49PM
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These bugs are already in the pasta. The larvae are introduced while the product is being stored. You'll find them in flour and rice as well. Empty the contents onto a tray and put it in the sun. The bugs will get out quick! I read somewhere that you should freeze rice for 4/5 days minimum to kill the larvae. I don't know if this works for pasta, or even if you can freeze dried pasta.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 12:11PM
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