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What are those small dots in my rice? Looks like you've got weevils

Thursday, October 21st 2021, 12:03 pm - What's That? is a new series from The Weather Network featuring insects and plants you can find in your community. Spot something in your neighbourhood you'd like to learn more about? Tweet us a photo @weathernetwork

Little moving dots in your rice? It probably isn't added seasoning.

You're likely dealing with rice weevils. There are more than 60,000 species of weevils worldwide, broadly characterized as tiny beetles with a long snout.

The one we're focusing on today is the rice weevil, a pantry pest found across Canada that likes to hide in your - you guessed it - rice. They'll also sometimes congregate in other grains and cereals, and once they're in there, they multiply fast - laying hundreds of eggs in their lifetime. Rice weevils are tiny, about 2-5 mm in size, and are dark brownish-red in colour.

Weevils GIF created by Cheryl Santa Maria. Rice weevil image courtesy: teptong/Getty Images

Females chew holes into grains and deposit an egg inside, sealing the rice back up again. Upon hatching, the larvae feeds on the food source until it is fully grown. It will then chew its way out and start the cycle again.

Rice weevils can enter the home through packaged foods. Other types of weevils - like the ones that prefer corn, can come in from cracks or openings in your home.

Rice weevils aren't toxic to humans or pets. They don't bite or sting, they don't carry diseases, and they won't cause any structural damage to your living space.

Weevil GIF Weevils are tiny, only a few millimetres in size. (Gif created using video by Freer Law/Getty Images)

That said, you probably don't want them in your food. If you have a weevil infestation, the first thing you'll want to do is seal up the affected food and place it in the freezer for a minimum of four days. That will kill off all the bugs and eggs.

Next, thoroughly clean the cupboard where the food was stored. Disinfect, dry, and vacuum. When emptying the vacuum, make sure to do so outside so you don't let the weevils back in.

You can deter weevils by tightly sealing pantry foods and by storing them in dry places.

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