One of our readers recently told us that he found, “White or brown maggots less than 1/2 inch long in some rice.” He wants to know what these specimens are and how he can get rid of them. He didn’t include a photograph, but his use of the word ‘maggot’ gives us a slightly better idea of what to picture when imagining these organisms. Generally maggots are small, soft-bodied legless larvae. The word maggot can be used to describe many different species of fly larvae, though some people also use it when describing beetle larvae, which are also known as grubs. So, is our reader dealing with fly larvae (maggots) or beetle larvae (grubs)?
Without a photograph, we won’t be able to provide an identification with 100% certainty. However, based on what we know, we believe that our reader is probably dealing with rice weevil larvae. Rice weevils are tiny brown beetles with long snouts. In addition to rice, they might eat cereal, nuts, beans, grains, corn, and seeds. So, if our reader is dealing with rice weevil larvae, how did they get into his rice? Sometimes readers accidentally bring weevils into their homes in other packaged foods, or they might come inside from the outside world in some other way. Female rice weevils chew a hole into a grain of rice and lay a single egg inside. Once the egg hatches, the larvae starts feeding on the inside of the rice and eventually eats its way out of the grain of rice. Mature female weevils attract male weevils with their pheromones, they mate, and the cycle begins all over again.
Getting rid of rice weevils and other pantry pests can be daunting, but it just involves a bit of cleaning! Our reader should begin by getting rid of all the infested food, beginning with the rice. Since there might be eggs in the single grains of rice, he should throw out all of the rice because simply sifting through it to remove adult weevils will not be sufficient. He should also investigate other stored food items for evidence of weevils and their larvae and remove any items that are suspicious. He will also need to clean out the cabinet, pantry, or wherever else he keeps his stored food items. Luckily, while rice weevils are surely annoying, they aren’t dangerous. If our reader has consumed one or two of these creatures, he doesn’t need to stress out. He can just think of it as a little extra protein!
To wrap up, one of our readers discovered small brown maggots in the rice in his home. We believe these specimens are rice weevil larvae, and even if not, the same method for getting rid of these unwanted guests will likely work.