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Cereal Killer

“Mom, why is my cereal moving?”wfmwsmall.jpg

That can’t be good.

After further inspection, I discovered tiny black bugs, slightly larger than the head of a pin, in the Cheerios. And it’s not like this box of cereal had been in the pantry since the 1980’s either. Twenty year old cereal was not an unusual breakfast in the grandparent’s house. If it was on sale at the Piggly Wiggly, then it was coming home. And stored for leaner times. But no, I’ve resisted that particular thrifty gene. The cereal in our house is no more than 7 days old.

I began noticing these pesky bugs all over the kitchen. And to add insult to injury, they flew too. I was rightfully disgusted. Our pest control service was due for the annual visit. They explained to us that these tiny bugs come neatly packaged inside the cereal, and other dry goods. The FDA allows a certain amount of larvae to be present in dry goods. (I’m still researching that factoid.) The larvae then hatch and the small weevils will find their way out by eating through the packaging. Sometimes you can find tiny pin holes in the box. They are not harmful, just a nuisance.

And gross.

“But how do I stop the madness?”

Our intrepid pest control expert told me to place unopened dry goods in the freezer for 48 hours. This will ensure the untimely death of the larvae. Which are too small to see. Until I got a separate freezer for the garage (smartest thing I’ve ever done next to marrying Fiddledaddy), I would date the packaging, put as much in the freezer as it would hold, and rotate my dry goods every two days.

Well worth the effort.

Breakfast simply should not ever become a moveable feast.

For more Works For Me Wednesday tips, head over to Rocks In My Dryer.

23 Responses to Cereal Killer

  • The same trick worked for my college boyfriend when I sent him cookies in the mail. He left the box open in his apartment and when he got home, the cookies were covered with ants. So he popped the box in the freezer, the ants all died, and he brushed them off and ate the cookies anyway. Ingenious.

  • ok…. my mom KEEPS all of her pantry stuff in the freezer… this is really good advice as that is NASTY/GROSS…
    I will be placing my pantry in the freezer now.

  • Ick. I remember reading abut the “FDA allowed” larvae back when we had them all through my parents house. So creepy.

  • First time I had that problem I was newly married and had bought bulk dry ingredients (flour, oatmeal etc). from a Mennonite store. I did not realize the thing about bugs in long stored foods and soon noticed the little critters – they were more like maggots to me they were everywhere – even on my ceiling! I had to go through the storage closet and toss out anything that had tell-tale signs of “friends” inside. Creepy!

    I too – try to put my new stuff in the freezer for a couple days – only problem I only have a fridge top freezer so not much room.

  • Oy…thanks for the tip!

  • were they weevils?
    we had weevils come into our kitchen through a package of pasta. it was a disaster. we were also told to freeze dry goods….seems to have done the trick…

  • That’s a great tip. I usually put it in the fridge, but now that I have a deep freeze I can put stuff in there. Thanks for sharing!

  • Try having the darn things infesting your car – when moving to our new house, we left a couple of boxes of Uncle Ben’s rice in my truck for a day or two and the next thing I know, I have little black bugs all over the headliner while I’m driving down the highway. Took me *weeks* to get ’em all!

    Needless to say, the boxes got tossed.

  • Darn, freezer space is precious here. I guess in winter I can put this stuff on the balcony, it is cold enough. Yikes! good tip though.

  • I keep my flour in the freezer now. But I’ve heard that putting a few sticks of Wrigley’s DoubleMint gum , wrapped, around the cabinet will keep out any that want to come in. The kind in the yellow package.

    But I never remember to buy any. LOLOL

  • I’m just freaked out that they think any amount of larvae is acceptable. I’m gonna go be sick now….

  • PS – AWESOME title!

  • Oh yeah – and they will also get into canned spices, like paprika or ginger. Get the kind that are in jars with screw-on tops.

    Trust me – sprinkling paprika on your chicken is NOT the time you want to find out that they snuck in! GAG

  • UGH! Been there, done that…except my black moving thing was a huge hairy spider…thanks for the post-traumatic-disorder flashback.

    hee hee hee

  • Hmm. Snap, Crackle, Pop, Bzzz. Ewww. I’d buy another freezer.

  • That’s one advantage to living in Minnesota. For six months of the year, we are a freezer. Just buy your groceries, do a few other errands on the way home — ensuring a good freeze of all the contents of the grocery bags in the back of the van — and you’re set.

  • Ew! Bugs in food – is there anything nastier? Eek! So glad you’ve found a solution. Noone should have to share her breakfast with six-legged creatures. No. One.

  • This happened to me too and I blogged about it a while back if you are looking for some commiseration


  • Aaaaarrrrrrggggggh!

    I didn’t think it could happen, but I think you have just cured me of my carb-dependent addiction to cereals.

    *spit, spit* Ick.

  • Ewww, ewwww, ewwww! We had a similar experience in Korea. But I didn’t notice until we were DONE eating. There were worms in the rice. Exact same color as the rice. I never bought rice at the commissary again.

    And they say that every person eats several spiders a year, too. Sometimes you just have to put your fingers in your ears and sing “La la la la, I’m not listening, I’m not listening!” Sometimes ignorance IS bliss.

  • GROSS!!!! I just had this happen for the first time since we’ve moved to Qatar (and most of our food is from Saudi, so… who knows how many larvae they allow, right?), and there were all these little flea-like things in our cooked pasta. Cannot tell you how foul that way. This is great, and timely, advice!

  • Oh no. I basically live on cereal. I will become “The Fly.”