What is a Weevil?
A weevil is a type of beetle that has more species in their category than any other beetle type, having more than 1,000 species in North America. More often than not, weevil infestations may occur in home pantries as well as commercial buildings that store rice or grains.
Because there are many types of weevils, they all live in varying areas. Black vine weevils are found in many parts of the United States and feed on plants like hemlocks and rhododendrons. Rice weevils invade stored product such as grains and seeds, while other weevils can be found in fields, orchards, and gardens. More often found in warm weather areas, weevils have been known to survive in colder areas if they have already infested food. Some weevils are known to invade in the fall, hide in the winter, and leave during the spring.
Other weevils invade in the summer. Rice weevils are more common in warmer portions of the United States, and Granary weevils are more common in cooler portions of the United States.
Identification and Physical Characteristics
The type of weevil species determines what they look like. Some are slender and some are more of an oval shape. In size they may be anywhere from 3mm to 10 mm long, and are more often than not dark color, like brownish to black. Some weevils have scales while others have tiny shiny hairs that cover parts of their bodies. Weevils can be most easily identified because of the shape of their head. They have an elongated head that extends into a snout with a mouth at the end of it. Some weevils are even known to have a snout that is as big as their body. The Cowpea weevil is a family of weevils that do not have the elongated snout like the typical weevil.
Weevils have the ability to chew through bags and are known to infest items such as cereal, nuts, seeds, and grain products. Some weevils like the rice weevil are able to fly. One female may lay up to 400 eggs at a time, meaning that when a problem is sensed it will likely get worse if immediate action is not taken.
In addition to a pantry, weevils have the capability to infest any room or rooms in a home. They may be seen crawling on windowsills, walls, and ceilings. Trying to cluster in rooms that have windows, weevils will gather at these windows trying to get out. They may also come in through a crack in a wall, a gap under a baseboard, or even through a space next to a pipe. Attics, garages, and crawl spaces are all common areas that weevils will infest when coming inside of a home to seek warmer shelter. An opening for a light fixture may even be an inviting space for weevils. All of these areas need to be checked when dealing with an infestation, to get rid of it at the source.
Removal and Preventative Procedures
Checking doors and windows for caulk missing or damaged weather stripping may help prevent weevils from entering a home or structure. Attic vents and crawl spaces may also need to be checked for torn screens. More often than not when a homeowner is dealing with a weevil infestation, it has come in from a stored grocery product. In this case, it is important for the individual to inspect items prior to purchase and report any infestations to the store. Products that have signs of holes or any packaging damage should not be purchased from the store and should be throw away if found in a home’s pantry. It is also possible to freeze stored items to kill any potential infestations, and items should be stored in an airtight glass or plastic containers.
Application of Chemicals or Electronic Removal
The best thing to get a weevil infestation under control is the use of pyrethrins. These are organic compounds aimed at insects. The homeowner should clear the entire pantry out to avoid contaminating food with this, and then spray the insecticides in the pantry and cupboards. Letting the areas air out for a few hours will ensure the effectiveness of the product, as well as avoiding contaminating food items. Products that may be used are Riptide Waterbased Pyrethrin ULV, Konk Too, and CB-80 Extra.