The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Grain Beetles

Rosalie's picture

Grain Beetles

I've found some critters (not the cats) crawling around in some of my grains.  Internet research convinces me that they are Sawthoothed Grain Beetles, Oryzaephilus surinamensis.  The infestations are small and confined to the plastic canisters holding the grains.  I've found them in some of my bulk soft wheat and my bulk barley; also some mixed grains using the wheat and the barley.

I'm pleased that the first site I found was  The other sites I looked at had me going through a procedure almost as extensive as when I had a flea infestation.  But I don't store my grains in cardboard boxes, so the beetles didn't stray far.

Upon finding them, I spent time trying to sort them out from the grains.  I knew that I would eventually be cooking the grains in whatever form, so I wasn't overly concerned.  Ellen's Kitchen points out, "Insect eggs and worms are the reason traditional vegan societies did not get vitamin B-12 deficiencies!  With improved storage techniques, deficiencies DO develop and this nutrient has had to be supplemented."  It also say, "If all else fails, remember black sesame seed, poppyseeds and raisin bits cover a multitude of intrusions (a little cook's joke)."

I made benne wafers a few weeks ago for an event and used some of the soft wheat ground into pastry flour.  Some of the gentlemen thought there was an exotic flavor to them.  It was probably the toasted sesame seeds, but they were happy when I told them there might be some bugs in it.

I have not seen any threads discussing these insects.  Have others had infestations in their granaries?  What have you done?


qahtan's picture


 Get yourself some bay leaves and scatter them around and inside your grain bags...



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

yep, I've had them. Also known as flour weevils. You've summed it up nicely and important that they can't crawl around in the cupboards. Run the flour through a fine sieve to remove them before baking. The Barley is probably the source. Pick out any grey berries. You can stop them in their tracks by freezing them and storing them there. The black adults also float to the top if put underwater and shaken up a bit. If there are too many, and this has happened to me in Indonesia where the replacement flour/grain had just as many if not more of the vitamin rich creepers, cook 'em and eat 'em. I remember 6 months where we learned not to look too closely at the rice, even in a restaurant. :) Mini Oven

Sylviambt's picture

I'm really glad this topic has come up.  For the first time, I've discovered some very tiny insects on my woven baskets (used for second rise).  Interestingly, I don't have any insects in any of my flour (brown rice, spelt, rye, ww, barley, etc).  Any suggestions on how to rid them from the baskets?  Thanks.