The groups of people I have talked to tell me food storage brings to mind dry, yucky, old dehydrated food. I don’t believe in storing all yucky bulk items because you’ll make life miserable if you plan on eating stuff you don’t dare touch in good times. As I have argued a couple of times, I believe you need a variety of survival food in food storage. And I’m not just talking about short term food storage. I believe you should be rotating through the type of food you eat now, plus keep a reserve of long term food storage. For example, if you and your family eat macaroni and cheese, you should buy a pack of 5 and keep another pack of 5 in food storage. Once the 5 have run out, buy 5 more but use the 5 in food storage. You should also have in storage sealed macaroni in a can or pouch, plus a can of cheese powder. If you were prepared this way, whether there was a short term emergency like a loss of job, or a major economic down turn, you’d be prepared with food you know your family will eat, and not dread thinking about what’s in your food storage.
Now don’t be fooled into thinking you just get your food storage and you’ll have no problems. It will expire, and lots of short term food storage carries weevil larva. This is a nasty problem, but not a deadly problem. In fact it adds more nutrients to your meals rather than eliminating the health value as does expired food storage. However, I don’t know one person who likes eating bugs. Most people will throw away anything that they find a creepy crawly climbing out of. So the question is how do you prevent one of the most common food storage invaders? Well flour weevils are in many foods we enjoy. Crackers, cereal, cake mixes, and on and on.
Two years ago when I was doing my research on weevils I was living in hot Arizona where there is no extended cold season to kill the larva eggs. Neighbors would tell me they would pour a bowl of cereal and find it wiggling, and if it isn’t cured quickly the whole pantry or cupboard becomes infested. One friends said she had never had a weevil problem and then two weeks after that she had her pantry infested with weevils while she was on vacation. I felt bad, maybe I cursed her?
So the important things to know about weevil larva is they are at the processing plants of flour mills and other grains like rice. They hang out there laying their eggs all day long, but like I said, they are harmless, you’d never even know your flour had weevil eggs because they are so tiny. Grain mills do their job in sifting out bugs and processing the product to code, but the weevil eggs are highly resistant to cold when they are in their dormant stage. In Arizona and other hot climates, these little nasties come out of dormancy and hatch into larva. If not caught then they enter their next phase as little beetle like bugs. My Grandpa who served during WWII said while in the South Pacific their bread constantly had weevils baked into it and it really didn’t bother him after a while because he did see it as extra nutrients. Most soldiers couldn’t get passed the image so they just picked the weevils out of their cooked bread.
Ways to illuminate the weevil eggs would include oregano leaves in the pantry. I was told by a neighbor that’s what they do. I can’t find any science to back it, but maybe you’ll want to keep oregano leaves just for extra measure. The best way to kill them is freeze the eggs. It is tricky though because they must be out of their dormant cycle. How to determine this is not possible without a microscope. However food sitting on the grocery store shelves has been there long enough in a warm enough place to bring them out of dormancy. So when you get home with a 10 pound bag of flour just put it right in the freezer for 48 hours. This will kill the weevil eggs. If you don’t eat cereal too often but you like having it around, put it in the refrigerator. Don’t leave crackers on your shelves or in cupboards for too long without rotating. And make sure you look through your food once in a while to check if you have weevil larva, or else they will phase into bugs which crawls around and lay more eggs. I have never had a problem with weevils yet, and I freeze all my flour. I hope to never deal with a weevil infestation, but if I get one, I’ll take a picture and post it.