Insects in flour


I don't do a lot of baking but still don't usually find "little bugs" in my flour I keep the flour in a canister. I recentl;y switched to King Arthur and find after a very short period of time these insects appear. Do other producers, ie Gold Medal etc
add something to control this or is it just a coincidence.

badge posted by: cviau on October 02, 2011 at 7:34 pm in General discussions
tags: Insects
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reply by: Mrs Cindy on October 02, 2011 at 8:56 pm
Mrs Cindy

You said you 'keep the flour in a canister.' is this an airtight canister? Did you clean the entire pantry, throwing out all grains that might be infected and spraying everything after discovering the bugs the first time?

The little bugs come home from the grocery store in paper bags. Once home they settle in to grain products and happily start to multiply. Once started, you have to discard everything they can get in to. This means flours, cereals, grains, everything except canned/jarred goods. Then scrub the entire pantry down and spray it with a food-safe bug spray. Many of us store our flours in the freezer or refrigerator for this very reason, although some store in the freezer to keep the flours from becoming rancid.

All of my flours, grains, beans, cereals, etc., are stored in airtight plastic containers. I had a buggy problem one time and swore never again. After throwing away hundreds of dollars of food, you better believe it never happened again!

I have never had a problem with KAF, but DID find bugs in a bag of Gold Medal. That bag hit the garbage faster than you can even begin to imagine! You have an infestation and need to do a really thorough cleaning and de-bugging or they will just keep coming back. Take it from someone who's been there, done that!


reply by: KitchenBarbarian aka Zen on October 02, 2011 at 9:20 pm
KitchenBarbarian aka Zen

The last time I had mealy bugs, they came in a bag of rice. Time before that, they came in a box of cereal.

Haven't seen them in flour in years and years and years. Back in the bad old days, if we found mealy bugs in the flour, we sifted them out. We froze flour to alleviate the problem, and I never saw a mealy bug in the flour again after that. (We bought in bulk when it was on sale).

The eggs are in there. I think modern storage methods have reduced the problem but have not made it go away. Once it leaves the mill/factory and gets shipped to the stores, it can pick up an "infection" just about anywhere along the line. Do NOT go look up the FDA regulations for allowable levels of icky stuff in your food. You do not want to know, I promise you.

reply by: Mike Nolan on October 02, 2011 at 9:42 pm
Mike Nolan

I've seen bugs in wild rice several times.

I think that the last few times we saw pantry months or mealy bugs in flour the source was birdseed, which my wife sometimes stores inside near the door to the back patio. (I prefer to store it in the workshop.) The birds don't mind a few bugs in their seed, some of them even seem to seek the larvae out.

The only time I've ever seen bugs in a freshly opened bag of King Arthur flour, it was one that had been on the pantry shelf for a while (it got forgotten about), during a period when we had to deal with two bug problems. I think that sack wasn't the source, but was infested while sitting on the shelf. That sack went in the trash, of course, and since then I keep unopened bags of flour in a separate part of the house, and usually throw them in the freezer for a few days.

I've seen bugs in a box of semolina once, one that just came from the store.

reply by: cviau on October 02, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Thank you all for your replies. I hsvr disposed of my flour.In the future I plan to keep the flour in the freezer.

reply by: PaddyL on October 03, 2011 at 12:03 am

I put bay leaves in all my flour, pasta, and cereal containers, even on shelves in the pantry, and I haven't had bug problems in ages. There's no room in our freezer to store flour, so I have to keep it in bins, airtight of course.

reply by: --jej on October 03, 2011 at 12:14 am

I store all of my flours as well as the rice in airtight glass jars. I have BIG ones for the flour. If the items are used in a timely manner, no eggs hatch.

There are some products, however, that seem determined to come with little critters: macaroni products. So they, too, go into glass jars. If I bring home a box of mac and cheese, I nearly always put it in a plastic Baggie, and tie it tightly. That does the trick.

reply by: frick on October 03, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Your flour container needs to be thoroughly scrubbed down in the crevices and run through the dishwasher. There are eggs in there. I have never had any buggy problem with a King Arthur product. I bet your critters came from the grocery store rather than the mill.

I put everything in Cambro or airtight canisters or jars as soon as a package is opened. That includes cereal. If a container is completely emptied, it goes in the dishwasher which is hot enough to kill anything.

Even though we don't have the bug problem that MrsCindy experiences living in buggy Texas, I grew up there and I take no chances. I have been lucky but I clean my shelves frequently with Windex or white vinegar, cleaning down in any cracks with a toothbrush. The last problem (and it was a big one) was in a jar of walnuts. I had to bury it in the back garden!

reply by: Mrs Cindy on October 03, 2011 at 10:26 pm
Mrs Cindy

Reading through the posts one more time, I was struck by Zen's remark about rice. I had forgotten the rice problem just a couple of months ago.

Sent T.S. To the store for a bag of long grain white rice for gumbo. Simple, right? He brought home the Kroger brand of long grain white rice, as requested. Put said bag of rice in a pot and added the required amount of water. UP TO THE TOP FLOATED THE BUGS!!! Out that entire bag, with water, went. Back to the store with new instructions: don't buy the Kroger brand. He comes back with a different brand. Says he looked VERY carefully and did not see any bugs! Okay, good! Into the pot with the bag of rice. No visible bugs. Added water. UP FLOATED THOSE LITTLE DEVILS! Out that bag went. T.S. Goes back for the third time (he really wanted that gumbo), swearing it won't happen again! He comes back with four different bags of rice. Everything from name brands to Asian off-off-brands. AND four boxes of Uncle Ben's Minute Rice. All four of the bagged rices had bugs! The Uncle Ben's did not. Go figure. Six of six bags of rice had bugs. The boxes of rice did not. Was I mad? Silly question. (The Saint and his 10 guests got their gumbo.)

The next day I took the receipts to the manager and explained the problem. He never batted an eye, just refunded the money for the six bags of buggy rice. It took me weeks to stop scratching my head. I looked for bugs everywhere! I kept telling T.S. he had brought bugs into MY house! Never saw another single bug.


reply by: --jej on October 04, 2011 at 10:01 am

Ok... So do what our cooks did in India... They just skim the bugs, their cast-off 'skins', etc., off when they float to the top -- and move on. (Best if 'the folks' don't know about it though!! When I discovered what they were doing, I could never eat the potato soup again!! I wisely said nothing to DH, though. And I don't think I ever DID tell him!)

reply by: --jej on October 04, 2011 at 10:02 am

Ok... So do what our cooks did in India... They just skim the bugs, their cast-off 'skins', etc., off when they float to the top -- and move on. (Best if 'the folks' don't know about it though!! When I discovered what they were doing, I could never eat the potato soup again!! I wisely said nothing to DH, though. And I don't think I ever DID tell him!)

reply by: Mel_KAF on October 04, 2011 at 11:31 am

Cviau, we do apologize that you found bugs in your flour. Please call our Customer Service Hotline at 1-800-827-6836 and ask to speak with our Consumers Dept. and they will be able to help you. ~Mel @ KAF

reply by: Mrs Cindy on October 04, 2011 at 11:47 am
Mrs Cindy

What causes double posts like this? Does anyone know? How do you correct it?


reply by: easyquilts on October 04, 2011 at 11:57 am

Cindy...I was reading reviews for KA's Pumpkin Bread recipe, and there must have been more than ten posts that were dounbled, or even trippled....Annoying.

reply by: easyquilts on October 04, 2011 at 11:59 am

OMG...There are some things better kept to oneself! You did the right thing.

reply by: Mike Nolan on October 04, 2011 at 1:37 pm
Mike Nolan

I've created a few, it seems to me that they're most likely to occur when you hit the back arrow button. (Sometime I wish the inventors of the browsers had never included the back and forward arrow buttons, or AT LEAST gave website developers a way to disable them!)

I've suggested to PJ that they may want to see if they can increase the 'flood' limit, eg, the minimum amount of time between when you can make posts. That should catch some of the dups.

Another possibility, probably not as easy to implement in Drupal, is to look for a 'recent' post that has identical text in it and reject the second one.

About all you can do after the fact is go in and edit out the duplicated text.

reply by: --jej on October 04, 2011 at 11:54 pm

My apologies for the double posting. I surely did not intend for it to happen. It wasn't a very important post, either/of course. Will try not to ever have it happen again.

reply by: Mrs Cindy on October 05, 2011 at 10:03 am
Mrs Cindy

Trust me, it wasn't YOU'RE fault! You double post all you want. You have earned the right! I was just wondering why it happened. It has happened to me and I didn't know why. Found out it wasn't our fault at all!


reply by: --jej on October 05, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Cindy, you're a peach!! Thank you!! jej

reply by: frick on October 05, 2011 at 9:29 pm

deleting, I asked a really dumb question.

reply by: Mrs Cindy on October 05, 2011 at 9:44 pm
Mrs Cindy

Frick, there are no dumb questions, you know that! Only my dumb answers, lol :-))