Woman's drastic move after being 'terrorised' by pantry find

The woman found bugs crawling in her jars and an Australian insect expert explains what they are likely to be.

Pantry infestations are the thing of nightmares for those who have experienced them. Once one food is found infested it often means the entire pantry has to be emptied and searched through with a fine tooth comb.

This is exactly what happened to Nicole in the US, who has shared footage of her kitchen absolutely covered in jars and food after she found her plastic jar of red pepper flakes and oats teeming with "millions" of small bugs. "We had to empty everything out of our pantry," she said. "What the hell kind of bug is this [and] why are there 500 million of them in our red pepper flakes — [they're] terrorising me."

Entomologist Dr Tom White told Yahoo News Australia while it's hard to know exactly what kind of beetle has taken over Nicole's pantry, it is likely what is commonly known as a flour or biscuit weevil which are found "crawling around our cupboards and poorly sealed foods".

Emptied contents from Nicole's pantry is seen on her kitchen bench. Source: TikTok
The woman emptied her pantry after what she found in a couple of jars. Source: TikTok

Though some were shocked that weevils would be found in chilli of all things, White said it is not unheard of. "Chilli and spices generally wouldn’t be their first choice, no. But if it’s all that they can get into, some will give it a go," he explained.

Weevils and beetles

Though many different bugs found in our pantry are known to most as 'weevils', White explains that more often they are 'flour weevils' and 'biscuit weevils' — like this in this video — and are an "entirely different" kind of beetle.

"'Weevil' is one of those common names that is used for very different groups of beetles, [though] true weevils belong to a single family and have a characteristic long snout," White explained. "They’re both often lumped together as 'weevils'."

Weevils are pictured (left) and flour beetles (right). Source: Getty
Difference between a weevil (left) and flour beetle (right). Source: Getty

Found across Australia, there are over 4,110 species of weevils according to the CSIRO and can be a "nuisance" in both agriculture and homes — although if you accidentally consume one before realising your food is crawling with them, they do not pose any "threat".

What to do if your pantry is infested with 'weevils'

Keeping your pantry and food storage clean and sealed is the best way to prevent the tiny critters from invading your food. However, if it is too late and you discover an infestation of weevils in your pantry, you’ll need to identify the heavily affected products and get rid of them immediately.

After throwing out the most infected food, Western Australia's Department of Primary Industries advises you can treat small quantities of food by putting it in the oven and leaving it for at least an hour bringing the temperature to around 55-60 degrees — killing the insects.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries says you can also freeze food for 48 hours to kill any eggs, larvae or adult insects that may be hidden among it.

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