Easy Kitchen Tip – Keeping Weevils Out of Flour, Rice and Pasta

How to keep bugs out of flour

Did you know you can repel weevils by placing a bay leaf in your flour, rice and pasta?  Bay leaves are an easy {and CHEAP} alternative to taking up valuable freezer space and still keeping the critters out.  No bay leaves?  Check out this post on buying spices in bulk to save money– a couple of bay leaves would cost pennies.

Do you do this? Are you even worried about critters in your dried food products, or do you just consider them extra protein?


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  1. teri says

    That’s pretty neat. I’ll have to try that, though I have a few of them in my cabinet. Pantry moths are my real issue. Found one in 20 pounds of rice.

      • teri says

        I will try that next time. The rice was in a sealed batter bucket I got from the bakery. I cleaned it of coarse. Imagine my shock to see the moth when I opened the bucket.

      • BethAnne says

        Madame Chow, I checked your blog. The 6 grain bread recipe
        looks delicious. I get the mailings from King Arthur Flour also.

  2. Linda says

    I’ve heard of it before, but I was afraid that my flour would start to taste like bay leaves – not sure that I want that for my breads. I just cleaned out my pantry over the holidays and found a bag of pearl barley that was invested with weavels. I was finding an occasional weavel in a cabinet, but not many. Haven’t seen any since I threw away the barley. Do you think it would help to just put a few bay leaves in a cabinet shelf, or must they be put in a sack of flour or bag of beans?

  3. Penelope says

    I’m more worried about pantry moths. Did you know that during the years after 9-11, that inspectors were taken from food stuff port of entry places and put into airports to guard against terrorism? There weren’t enough inspectors to cover all the bases. Because of that, we had some unwanted pests gain access to our country through our food supply causing problems to orange groves and other places. This is from news reports I read, so I’m not an expert. I saw evidence through my grocery store, and have noticed packaging change so that it seems to accommodate better protection against unwanted creatures. The worst was buying pet food.

    Another reason to buy local when you can.

  4. Beth says

    I’ve actually heard that this is an old wives tale; bay leaves do not do anything to actively discourage weevils.

    • BethAnne says

      In my homemakers club they have a handout listing bay leaves for this purpose. Homemakers is part of the County Extension, the place to call for canning and gardening and food preservation questions. My grandmother, mother and I did/do this.

  5. says

    Mavis, you are great. Have you written a book? i read you everyday. ok, thats a lie. Not on Saturday and Sunday cause i don’t know how to turn on the home computer. I read you at work. When i’m supposed to be working. i just admire you! awesome

  6. Helen in Meridian says

    Down the Mexican aisle in the grocery stores are clear bags of spices for .59, 79, or .99. Some of them say Laurel on them. They are bay leaves too. at least they smell the same.

  7. Bren says

    My friend and I each bought the small burlap bags of basmati brown rice from Costco and they had bugs in them. . The white rice from Costco is great. If you buy the brown rice from Costco freeze it first. I won’t ever buy it again though.

    • Abigail Brownell says

      I too bought bags of Basmati rice from Costco- I had weevils in one but not the other. I thought it was because I had left it open but it was perplexing because I am religious about storing food and this was the first time I had ever had this problem. I cleaned out the pantry and that item was the only item with the problem- although I pretty much through everything away that was compromised to be sure. But then I had a mild infestation. I think they found a home in the cracks between the cupboard and bug sprayed it- did’t care about toxic chemicals at that point. Just figured I was only keeping canned food there anyway. Now that I read your post, I bet it was that bag of rice. I am not buying that kind anymore from Costco either. Haven’t had problems with white jasmine rice. Fingers crossed.

  8. says

    Weevils suck ! I throw the food away. And pantry moths are a pain and I throw the food away, too. I am going to try this in bags and I am going to try placing some just in the cupboard to see if it helps with the moths! those who had not seen any you are lucky! I saw none for years until a couple years ago. i wonder if it is climate as we don’t get very cold in the winter anymore.

  9. Sandra says

    This is just great. I wish I had thought to ask before I threw out all of my jars of flour. I have the glass with the rubber washer and pull down seal. Yauk. Thanks.

  10. Mike says

    Interesting and I have a good way of testing this out. I’m also a fish breeder and raise all my own live fish foods one of which is known as the confused rice flour beetle. I’m going to do some experiments out of curiosity to see if the bay leaves will kill off or make the beetles move to another area away from one tray containing it to one without.

    lol…nerd science (I know)

    • Melissa says

      Hi Mike, I was reading another site about bay leaves, and that one said that the bay leaf will stop the eggs from hatching, I don’t know if the leaves will make the bugs move away from the site before they lay them or not. I’m also a nerds science person, I’d love to know the results you find from your experiments.

    • Flick says

      Me three :) I have been doing a quick Google search and there doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer to the effectiveness of the humble bay leaf. Quite a few anecdotal stories, including ones where people have frozen their rice/dried goods before storing them with a bay leaf in an airtight tin (which already kills the larvae and reduces the chances of entry) so hard evidence seems to come by. One article by Minnesota.edu suggests that there is no evidence to suggest its effectiveness, but it would certainly be interesting to have some ‘mythbuster’ style experiments just to prove that mums had the right common sense after all! Thanks.

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