Should I be concerned about flour weevils?

A person sifting flour.

Many people may be concerned that they have inadvertently eaten flour weevils, but there is usually no reason to be concerned. Most people have probably consumed them at some point in their lives, and this is not considered dangerous. Even so, it’s important for people with weevils to take steps to get rid of them before the insects get out of control, and weevils can lay so many eggs at once that they can become troublesome very quickly.


Flour weevils are small beetles that are also occasionally called snout beetles. These beetles are very small and usually do not exceed more than 0.125 inches (0.318 cm) in length. They get that name because they like to eat flour and other types of food that are normally kept in kitchen cupboards that contain a lot of starch, such as cereal, oatmeal and even baking powder. These weevils can infest any type of food left open in the cupboard and will typically lay hundreds of tiny eggs inside whatever food they have infested. Weevils are so small that many people don’t even realize they have a problem with them until their young have hatched, and it usually takes about two months for eggs to hatch once they’re laid.

Flour weevils lay eggs in cereals, flour, oats and other grain products.

While it may be tempting for many people, it’s probably best to avoid getting rid of flour weevils with toxic chemicals. The fact that weevils inhabit food means that chemicals need to be applied directly on or near the food, and this can be dangerous. Bay leaves and cloves naturally repel flour weevils and can be safely placed in food containers or spread out in cupboards. Insecticides containing pyrethines, which are natural chemical compounds that repel insects, can also be safe to use in cabinets, but care must be taken to prevent this type of insecticide from coming into contact with food products.

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People can usually prevent flour weevils by taking care to keep flour and other grains sealed in airtight containers. Bags or boxes containing processed foods like cereal, oatmeal or bread should also be kept tightly closed at all times. Another good way to keep weevils away is to clean crumbs and other types of food scraps from inside cupboards regularly. The flour weevil has a good sense of smell and is capable of traveling great distances to inhabit any grain it feels close to.

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