PSA: These Bugs May Lay Eggs In Your Rice But It's Actually Still Safe To Eat

Not so evil weevils.

Cover image via What's The Bug

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If food isn't stored properly, you might spot these little bugs known as weevils

Weevils, particularly rice weevils, tend to get into dry foods, such as rice, cereal, oats, flour, spices, pasta, and such. They also like to feed on nuts, beans, and other whole grains.

But what you may not have known is that a female weevil sometimes bores a hole in a grain of rice and lays an egg. It does this by chewing a hole into a seed or grain, then laying an egg and sealing the opening. Female weevils can lay up to 300 eggs in multiple grain holes! :O

When the egg hatches inside the seed or grain, the larva will feed on the food item until it fully grows.

But before you throw your entire packet of food away, fret not!

Rice weevils are actually safe to eat — and yes, that includes its eggs and larvae.

However, just like meat, it is recommended that you cook them prior to eating, to kill off any bacteria or parasites.

According to Singapore Food Agency, "rice weevils, whether in larval or adult stage, are not harmful to human beings as they are not known to spread any disease/infection or bite people".

Luckily, rice weevils usually infest foods that need to be cooked anyway.

So, if you do find weevils in your rice, just pluck them out as you wash the grains. Even if you miss a couple when you clean, there's no harm as long as the food is cooked after.

For flour or other food items that can't be washed, just pick out as many weevils as you can find, and make sure the food is cooked thoroughly after.

If there are too many weevils to count, it might be best to just get rid of the food so that it doesn't infest other food items.

Image via Rentokil

Here are some tips to avoid weevils getting into your food:

1. Store rice/grains in a tightly sealed container and dry, cool place. 
2. Buy food items in smaller quantity if your consumption rate is low (e.g. if a two-person household seldom cooks rice, they can buy 1kg packs, rather than five or 10kg packs).
3. After finishing the rice/grains in the container, wash and dry the container before re-filling with a new pack of rice/grains.
4. Regularly check your stock to ensure that weevils are not present. If weevils are present, quickly remove them and aim to consume the stock quickly.
5. If you find that a good amount of food is already infested with weevils, put the food out in the sunlight for a few hours, as weevils do not like sunlight.
6. Alternatively, toss in a couple of bay leaves, a whole garlic, or turmeric to get rid of the insects. 

If you really can't tahan knowing that weevils were in your food, you don't have to throw the food away

You can use the rice grains as bird feed or the flour to make play dough. You can also make DIY bean bags or other play items with the grains/flour.

Just make sure that the weevils and eggs are all killed before you make anything, as it could continue to feed, lay eggs, or create a worse infestation.

The information provided is for educational and communication purposes only and it should not be construed as personal medical advice. Information published in this article is not intended to replace, supplant or augment a consultation with a health professional regarding the reader's own medical care.

Here are some insects that can be dangerous though:

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