One of the most common and prevalent household pests is weevils. These are small, soft-bodied insects that feed on many plants and can cause significant damage if not appropriately controlled. The best way to control these pests is by using an integrated pest management program. IPM programs combine biological controls with cultural practices such as crop rotation, sanitation, and proper fertilization. But how do you apply this at your home? What will you do when weevils bite?
This article will discuss how weevils affect humans and what you should do about them in your home or garden.
Do Weevils Bite Humans
No. Weevils do not bite humans or your pets. Weevils get their food source on different types of grain like flour, rice, nuts, seeds, and other dry food products that are found in a pantry. In addition, they are not parasites; rather, they eat plant material. They have no mouthparts for biting people or animals.
However, their feeding habits may be harmful to human health. Adult granary plus rice weevils will lay eggs inside grain kernels. As the eggs hatch or grow to weevils then eating and growing you will be alarmed and surprised—adult weevils will appear in some places you do not want them.
Do Pale Green Weevils Bite
Yes! If you see pale green weevil larvae in your house, it means there is infestation present. You must remove all grains from storage areas where weevils could hide. This includes any area under furniture, behind appliances, food cupboards, shelves, and other house structure.
Also, check around windowsills, baseboards, door frames, and cracks between floorboards. Remove anything that looks suspicious. Moreover, larvae feed themselves with stored grain products and other food supplies.
What Should I Do About Weevils Bites?
If you notice signs of weevil bites, take immediate action. First, make sure you do not touch the affected area. Second, clean up everything near the site of the insect activity. Third, dispose of dead insects immediately. Fourth, wash hands thoroughly after handling contaminated items.
Do Weevils Carry Disease
Weevils carry disease because they live off decaying organic matter. When they die, they release bacteria into the air, which causes illness. Some diseases caused by weevils include:
- Respiratory infections
- Skin rashes
- Sore throats
- Other allergic reactions
How Do Weevils Affect Humans?
Weevils have been around for millions of years. They were originally beneficial because they ate decaying plant material which helped decompose organic matter. However, over time their feeding habits changed, and now they eat living tissue causing serious problems.
When weevils attack crops, it causes severe economic losses due to reduced yields and increased costs associated with controlling infestations. In addition, some species may carry diseases like anthrax and botulism in humans.
What Are the Most Common Types of Weevils
There are countless types of weevils, but the most common ones that we see are these:
1. Rice Weevil
This type of weevil feeds primarily on cereal grain products, including wheat, corn, oats, barley, rye, millet, sorghum, etc. It also eats many vegetables and fruits. Adults usually live from one month to two months. Eggs hatch within ten days after being laid. Larvae develop into adult weevil bug in three weeks, which comes in a light brown head and yellowish-white color. Infested food products of rice weevil must be destroyed immediately.
2. Boll Weevil
Boll weevils are a type of beetle that is very similar to rice weevils, except they prefer cottonseed oil instead of cereals. This insect has a life cycle of approximately four months. Adults overwinter in the soil and pupate during springtime. Pupae then emerge as mature bolls containing larvae. Bolls open up in late summer and fall, releasing the immature form of the insect called “budworm.” Budworms migrate through fields until winter, where they hibernate.
3. Flour Weevil
Flour weevils are smaller than rice weevils and look more like ants. They are commonly seen in pieces of bread, cakes, pastries, cookies, crackers, and other baked goods. Their life span is only 2–4 weeks. Eggs hatch in 7–10 days. Larvae develop into full-grown adults in 3–5 weeks.
4. Wheat Weevil
Wheat weevils are much larger than any of the previous weevils. Adults typically measure 1/8 inch long while larvae measure 1/16th of an inch. Adults live between 4–6 weeks. Eggs hatch in 5–7 days while larvae develop in 12–14 days.
5. Barn Weevil
Barn weevils can cause significant damage to stored foods such as dried beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, sunflower seeds, soybeans, and walnuts. These insects feed mainly on protein-rich materials. The larva develops slowly consuming large amounts of food before becoming fully developed. Adults live about 6–9 weeks. Eggs hatch in 8–12 days. Larvae take 14–21 days to become adults.
6. Granary Weevil
Granary weevils are often confused with rice weevils since both share similar characteristics. Both pests are brownish-black colored beetles measuring less than half an inch. Adults live anywhere from 9–18 months depending upon environmental conditions. Eggs hatch in 15–20 days. Larvae develop in 30–45 days.
7. Bean Weevils
Bean weevils are small beetles that feed on beans. They are also known as “bean bugs” or “bean beetles”. The larvae of these insects cause damage to crops such as soybeans, corn, and peanuts. Adult bean weevils generally live for 18–24 months. Eggs hatch in 20–30 days. Larvae develop for 40–60 days.
How Do Weevils Spread?
The primary way that weevils spread is by hatching eggs directly onto plants. Once hatched, the larvae begin eating roots, stems, leaves, flowers, buds, fruit, and seed pods. When feeding on plant parts, adult weevils may leave behind their feces which contain bacteria that aid in spreading disease.
In addition, when weevils eat grain kernels, they excrete digestive fluids that help break down the kernel walls allowing them to pass out of the kernel easily. As soon as this happens, it will enable the weevil to lay its own egg inside the kernel. If there is no host available nearby, the weevil will fly away, looking for another place to deposit its offspring.
How to Prevent Weevils
1. Keep your garden clean! Remove weeds and debris around your home, so you don’t attract unwanted visitors. Also, keep the grass trimmed short to prevent hiding places for weevils.
2. Use traps! Traps work best if placed near areas where weevils tend to congregate. You will need to purchase one at a local hardware store. Place the trap close enough to the area where weevils gather but far enough away not to be damaged by rain or wind.
3. Plant resistant varieties! Some types of wheat have been bred specifically to resist infestation by certain species of weevils. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service office to find out what kinds of wheat are most effective against specific pest problems.
4. Clean up after yourself! It is important to remove all traces of weevils once they have left your property. This includes removing dead insect bodies and cleaning up any droppings.
5. Store your grain products in airtight containers and check them once in a while.
6. Wash your food cupboards and shelves with detergent, bleach, and disinfectants.
How to Treat Weevils
If you notice signs of weevil activity, contact your local Cooperative Extension Office immediately. There are several ways to control weevils including:
- Spraying Insecticides – Apply insecticide sprays according to label directions. Be sure to follow safety precautions.
- Handpicking – Pick off individual weevils using tweezers.
- Dipping Plants into Pesticides – Dip plants into pesticide solutions following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Using Bait Stations – Set up bait stations along paths frequented by weevils. These stations should include food sources like sugar water, molasses, honey, etc., plus some deterrents.
- Planting Resistant Varieties – Grow only those varieties of seeds that are proven to be more tolerant to weevil attacks.
- Weed Control – Maintain healthy soil through regular weed removal.
Steps On How To Get Rid of Weevils
There are many different methods used to get rid of weevils from your yard. Here are just a few ideas:
1. Remove Weeds & Grass- Trim back vegetation to allow sunlight to reach ground level. Weed control products can be applied before planting season begins.
2. Use Natural Methods- Try making homemade remedies like soap made from Castile oil mixed with vinegar. Or try mixing equal amounts of baking soda and dishwashing liquid.
3. Spray With Herbicides- Sprayed herbicides kill both insects and their eggs. However, these chemicals may harm beneficial insects in your lawn such as lady beetles and hoverflies. They also pose potential risks to humans and pets who come in direct contact with treated foliage.
4. Trap Them- Purchase an inexpensive trapping device designed to capture adult weevils. Once trapped, release them outside.
5. Handpick- Using tweezers, pick each weevil individually from plant leaves.
The key to controlling pests is prevention. If you take steps now to prevent future damage, it will save time and money later on. Remember, there is no reason for weevils to visit your home. Keep your house clean and free of clutter so they do not feel comfortable nesting inside. And remember to keep your garden well maintained. The sooner you start working toward keeping your yard pest-free, the better chance you will have of preventing further damage. However, if you have severe and serious infections in your home, consider doing professional fumigation.