2.5 to 4 mm long.
Rice weevils are dark brown and commonly have four light colored patches on their wings. Their head is prolonged with a distinct thin snout extending downward from the head.
Rice weevils are similar to Granary weevils and they are both often referred to as the “Snout weevils.” They penetrate and feed on the internal portions of whole grains during the larval stage. Rice weevils are usually found in grain storage facilities, food processing plants, and whole foods markets. They will also infest old pasta, table beans, acorns, chestnuts, birdseed, sunflower seeds, and ornamental corn.
Rice weevils are internal feeders. The female uses her strong mandibles to chew a small hole in a grain kernel, where she deposits a single egg in the hole and seals it with a gelatinous fluid. Rice weevils are active fliers and often fly to grain storage bins and buildings from nearby fields. When disturbed, Rice weevils play dead by drawing their legs close to their body. They then lie still for several minutes before resuming movement.
The rice weevil feeds on rice, wheat, barley and on other raw or processed cereals such as pasta. It prefers warehouse or storage conditions. The rice weevil is closely related to the maize weevil.
Rice Weevil Prevention Tips
The control of any stored product pest involves many steps, primary of which is discovery of infested food items or other sources of infestation (e.g., food spillage accumulation).
All products containing or made of whole grains need to be inspected. Decorative items, such as Indian corn and shadow boxes containing seeds also need to be checked. Rice and granary weevils have also been found infesting old pasta products and bird seed. On rare occasions, infestations have also been traced to caches of nuts and seeds accumulated by squirrels or rodents within attics, walls and chimneys. A pest management professional can be helpful in finding difficult infestation sources. Consider the following to prevent an infestation:
- Discard infested foods in outdoor trash. Infested decorations (flowers, wreaths, etc.) should also be discarded.
- Freeze suspect foods at zero degrees Fahrenheit for six days.
- Clean cabinets and shelves where infested foods are stored by vacuuming and by using soap and water.
- Store all dried food goods, including dried pet foods and birdseed, in a glass or plastic container with a tight lid. If beetles are in that food product then the infestation will be contained and not spread to other foods.
- Consider storing cereals and similar foods in the refrigerator to limit stored product pest problems.
- Consume older food products prior to newer purchases of the same food. Products purchased in larger quantities (e.g., from a wholesale food warehouse) are more likely to become an infestation source if these are stored for long periods of time – especially if they are not stored in containers with tight-fitting lids.
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