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What to Know About Bugs in Your Sugar

bugs in sugar

Did you ever open up something in your cupboard and find bugs in your sugar? It’s shocking and disgusting. However, it may lead you to wonder how those bugs got in your sugar in the first place.

What Bugs Are Attracted to Sugar?

A few types of bugs may get into your sugar, such as sawtoothed grain beetles, weevils, and Indianmeal moths.

Saw-Toothed Grain Beetles

Sawtoothed grain beetles have flat bodies, so they can easily fit into tight spaces. They’re six-legged and brown. On average, they’re about 2.5 to 3 millimeters in length. These beetles have wings but don’t fly, and they aren’t attracted to light. In their larval stage, they have a yellowish-white body and brown head. At that point, they’re less than three millimeters in length. Their food of choice is often sweet items, including sugar.

Weevils

Weevils, often referred to as flour or sugar mites prefer cereal, rice, noodles, and sugar. These creatures can be highly destructive.

This bug classifies as a beetle. Scientists believe more than 1,000 species exist in North America, making them have more species in their family than any other type of beetle. Throughout the world, there are over 60,000 species.

Typically, these pests are less than six millimeters in length. They have a shape similar to a lightbulb or pear. In their larval stage, they’re legless and consume plants. They’re a dark brown to black color. Weevils are easily identifiable by their elongated snouts.

Indianmeal Moth

An Indianmeal moth is a common pest that you can find in stored food products like sugar. They can also be found in spices, dried fruits, and pet food. These nuisances have wings once they become adults and are drawn to light.

An Indianmeal moth has an elongated, ovular body. Their wings are mostly gray but have a rusty bronze color at the tips. In general, they’re cream colored, but you may notice hints of brown, tan, or yellow in them. 

When an Indianmeal moth is in the larva stage, it’s dark brown in color. The females will lay their eggs right on the packing of your food.

How Do Bugs Get in Your Stored Food Products?

These unwanted visitors may end up in your pantry if you have clutter or the area is messy.

The bugs can enter through tiny openings in the packaging. They’re notorious for getting into the products when they’re still in the warehouse or grocery store.

Often, they enter open packages, but weevils can also chew their way through the packaging material.

Keep in mind that if you have bugs in one bag of sugar, they can continue to breed and get into your other stored food items.

Is it Safe to Eat Food With Weevils?

Fortunately, weevils aren’t dangerous if you accidentally consume them, though you may have a nauseous feeling just thinking about swallowing insects.

Unless you notice them, you won’t ever know you have consumed them. They won’t cause you to become sick in any way.

Is it Safe to Eat Food Contaminated With Other Pests?

Bugs that are commonly found in sugar or other stored products usually aren’t dangerous. For instance, Indianmeal moths aren’t known to spread any disease or parasites.

pantry pests arent dangerous

Sawtoothed grain beetles don’t carry disease and aren’t known to cause any health issues if accidentally ingested.

Certain pantry pests may cause an upset stomach or nausea for a short time, but they aren’t toxic and won’t cause serious illness.

Why Are There Bugs In My Sugar?

Sugar and other grains are an excellent source of energy for these pests.

It doesn’t help that you have an abundance of tiny granules in one place when you have a bag or canister of sugar.

Do You Need to Toss Your Sugar if You Notice Bugs in It?

Ideally, it’s better to get rid of the items with bugs in them rather than trying to filter through the sugar and get rid of just the infested part.

Keep in mind that bugs lay eggs in the product, so even if you remove the bugs, there could still be eggs in it that you can’t see. These eggs will then hatch and reinfest the product. Additionally, these bugs also excrete waste products into the item.

However, if it’s a significant amount of an item, you could save it. First, remove any visible bugs you can see. Then, place it in the freezer for a few days. It’ll kill the larvae.

Make sure you look through the rest of the items in that pantry to check for bugs since they could pollute other items as well.

If you have a significant infestation, you should remove everything from your cupboard and wipe it out with warm, soapy water to remove eggs and larvae that you can’t see.

Moreover, if you notice that you have a full-blown infestation, you may need to purchase an insecticide to get rid of them. However, you can find non-toxic options. Make sure you read carefully to determine if the pesticide is effective at killing the particular type of insect.

How Do You Prevent Bugs in Sugar?

Sometimes, even if you clean your house regularly, you can end up with bugs in your sugar, especially since they can come into your home from a factory or grocery store. 

However, it does help to keep your cupboards organized. Make sure you wipe it out regularly. Go through your cupboards and make sure you toss out old items that have been in there for a while that you’re not using.

You can reduce your chances of weevils coming home with you in your packaged items by checking them before you purchase. Look for any small openings. As soon as you bring home sugar, flour, or other similar items, you should transfer the items into an airtight container.

Because some bugs can enter your home and get into your sugar, you should make sure to properly seal your windows and doors to give them fewer opportunities to get in.

What Happens if You Need Pest Control to Get Rid of These Bugs?

If you have a major infestation and need to call a pest control service for any of these bugs, they’ll first complete identifying the type of bug. They’ll use the correct pest control method based on the kind of bug. Keep in mind that it may not consist of a pesticide.

If you have bugs in your sugar, your best bet may be to toss the sugar. You may also have to clean out your entire pantry to determine if they’re anywhere else in it. In the worst-case scenario, a pest control company could help.

 

Sources:

https://extension.entm.purdue.edu/publications/E-228/E-228.html

https://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/urban/stored/indianmeal_moth.HTM

 

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