Tiny bugs in rice?

I have been overrun by an infestation of tiny bugs in the rice bags. Three bags–one jasmine, a basmati, and another for pulao. Been buying 20 lb bags of rice for years. Never had a problem before; I’m assuming one of the bags must have already had a few when it was brought home.

They are very tiny. Brownish-colored. They resemble cumin seeds, but much, much smaller.

Is this a common problem?

It’s curious that they don’t seem to need much (or any?) water, as the rice is stored quite a distance from the sink or any pipes, and I haven’t seen any evidence that they have been tracking between the rice bags and the sink.

I think I may need to start storing the rice in jars or tins. But that will be much more inconvenient, as it will take several jars to be able to accommodate all the rice that fits in a bag.

I wouldnt say common, but Ive had them a few times.

I have no need for that much rice at a time, so I usually just pitch it before they can infest my entire pantry.

I keep my rice in plastic canisters, and that helps, as.does scattering whole bay leaves on my shelves.

1 Like

Yup, pretty common.

If you can, transfer the rice in smaller bags to the freezer for a couple of days. That will kill the bugs and the eggs.

But also clean carefully around where the rice was stored - they can be prolific.


You can get large tins of popcorn on sale for a few bucks sometimes - bring them to work to share, perhaps, and then you have a canister big enough to hold 20 lbs of rice.

1 Like

I was thinking about doing this, but after reading about rice weevils, which these may be, and learning that the females seal their eggs up in rice grains, I’m not sure I want to go that route. lol

Live and learn, I guess. Will probably just chuck them all and get a fresh supply.


Our pasta and rice drawer became infested with tiny beetles that we finally tracked down to dried chilis. After emptying and disinfecting the drawer and tossing almost everything, we switched to glass snap-lid jars for dry chilis, grains of all kinds. These tiny black beetles literally chewed through everything but glass and metal. Heavy plastic bags were no problem. They even gnawed at plastic containers.

I am how very careful in sourcing and handling dried chilis. Into the house and into jars immediately.


Until now, I never heard of this happening to anyone but us. Some years back, my husband mail-ordered a gorgeous ristra of chiles for me from New Mexico. I hung it in our kitchen to admire and to use.

After some weeks had passed, I found myself with an outbreak of tiny little pests in our kitchen. After dropping out of the ristra the bugs went for other chiles, like ground paprika, in the spice cabinet. They also found the flour in another cabinet. Yikes.

Never did figure out what those determined little nasties were. But for years afterward I stored all dried and ground chiles in the freezer as a precaution.

1 Like

I’ve had it happen before too, and I also buy the 15-20lb bags of rice. If you have a large Asian supermarket, you can find rice storage bins that are meant to hold large amounts of rice. Just make sure you are getting something that is airtight though! Not all of them are, so check for gaps and cracks on rims and ends that nothing can get in. Otherwise, recycling the old tins like popcorn etc is a pretty inexpensive option. The rice I eat now thankfully separates the 15lbs into multiple smaller plastic bags inside, which I like much better and I’ve never had grain beetles since.

Mine were grain beetles (verified by an exterminator who was in the apartment checking on something else) and definitely not rice weevils, but they are all gross nonetheless.

1 Like

I store my rice in SS containers, container used for ethylene oxide sterilization of medical equipment. I buy the rice in 25 lb package, This SS container accommodate around 10 lbs. The rest of the 15 lbs are stored

in a heavy duty navy cooking pot. We found that in the 70’s in an Amish market. I also store my mushroom and glutinous rice flour anid noodles in there.
As for chili pods, I do buy them from New Mexico, Hatch as well as the Mexican trios and anchos. I store these in a 38 liter simple human SS trash can separately . I bought a lot almost 7 years ago, they are still intact whereas my friend from NM says she cannot buy too much as they get insects or fungus.
I have around 4 of those trash cans where I store my Lindt’s truffles for our daily cappuccino which I buy once a year during the winter as they might melt during warmer weather. I also store my coffee there.
The chiles pods are taken upstairs for use and stores in chinese porcelain ware , they last a couple month up here.
Those simple human trash cans are god sent, so is my ethylene oxide sterilizer as well as that huge navy cooking pot. Cannot even lift that u if I want to.

Welcome rezer! Hope you enjoy it here!

I always say that when I buy stuff like that - popcorn, donuts, bags of candy. “Oh, I’ll take it to the office to share.” It never happens! :relaxed:

This. I’ve seen them in my rice. They’re sooo microscopic and you don’t notice right away. “Hey, wait. There’s things moving in there!” I thought they were infesting everything, cleaned out my whole cupboard and checked all the dry goods. Nope. They were only in the rice, which led me to believe the eggs were in there when I bought the rice.

Coinkydink, I just bought my first one. Should’ve bought more!

You’re frightening me! I just bought a bunch of dried chiles!

To keep bugs of all kinds out of your oantry, scatter whole bay leaves (a couple per shelf) through the pantry.

Alternately, Wrigley’s Doublemint gum wrappers.

This only happened once, thank goodness. And except during that outbreak I experienced with the ristra, I always have dried chiles of some sort in the house. I wasn’t scared off. :wink:

I do store dried chiles in the freezer now for freshness. And just in case.

1 Like

I have a story about the little buggers. When I was working in executive dining we had a breakfast and someone ordered cereal. Luckily for me I started to notice, very faintly, that it looked like the cereal had some life to it! We caught before it was served and saved the day!


In the country, we find that larvae often come in in bird seed. We keep it in metal cans, and toss it if we see evidence of life. But these critters enjoy pasta, pancake mix, et al just as much as seed. If/when we see a tiny moth, we know we have trouble. Their hungry larvae CHEW THROUGH EVERYTHING but glass and metal. They go through plastic bags with ease.

1 Like

Not exactly weevils you’re talking about. But I had infestation by pantry moths, they even tried to enter the glass bottle with aluminium caps, at least I saw cocoons around the caps. They bite through plastic bags. It was a nightmare, they loved rice, nuts, dried dated…they never touched pasta, which was in the same place.

I believe some cereals, they have treated with something and they are not infected. So it’s either bugs or chemical, you choose.

1 Like

Maybe just eat the bugs? Serves 'em right. That said, I’ve had a couple of times over 30 years where something–little moths, what not–got going, and I didn’t like that and threw everything out because I couldn’t be certain where their home bases were.

I do put rice in bags in the freezer for a week or so if I buy in quantity. That seems to keep things under control.


@BadaBing this is hilarious :joy:

My grandfather used the “serves them right” principle with honey… he had a spoonful each day, and tiny red ants loved getting in there… he got fed up and I remember him saying “honey with protein for me, serves them right!”

Thanks for the laugh - and the memory :rofl: