Why am I finding bugs in rice? Expert-approved ways to get rid of nasty pests

If you're finding bugs in rice, it's time to implement these simple elimination methods

Bowl of rice
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Finding bugs in rice? It's never nice when you go to make your favorite weeknight dinner and discover you have an infestation in your cabinets. 

While you may be initially grossed out, don't panic. We consulted pest and cleaning experts for their know-how when it comes to creepy crawlies.

Learn how to identify the bugs in your home and how to get rid of them, once and for all.

Everything you need to know about finding bugs in rice

Finding bugs in rice can be an unpleasant surprise, but it's a common issue in many kitchens. Here's some expert advice on why these pests invade rice, the types of bugs you might encounter, and effective strategies to get rid of and prevent them including household items that repel bugs.

How to identify bugs in rice

Food jars in pantry

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The first step in getting rid of nasty pests is knowing what you're working with. Before deep-cleaning a small kitchen, you'll need to figure out which bugs are infesting your rice supply. Common problems like ants in the kitchen are straightforward to solve so it's good to know what you're up against. 

"I've seen how pests can wreak havoc in homes and businesses. Bugs in rice are a common issue, often caused by pantry pests like weevils, moths, and beetles that can contaminate stored food products. These pests enter through tiny openings or from already-infested items brought into the home," says Eliana Coca of E.C. House Cleaning.

If the insects are tiny and dark brown, weevils are the most likely culprit. "The bugs you find most commonly infesting rice will tend to be weevils, which feed on it and can quickly multiply once they've found an adequate food supply. I would say the top reason you're finding bugs in your rice is either because they were already in the bag, as adults or even as eggs, or they were able to access an unsealed bag," says Andre Kazimierski, CEO of Improovy, an on-demand home improvement service platform.

However, if they're lighter in color and long in shape, they may be pantry moths. "Pantry moths feed on all kinds of food items, from rice to flour, to nuts, to pasta, and more. Anything they can get access to in your pantry, essentially," says Brett Bennett, Director of Operations of PURCOR Pest Solutions.

How to get rid of bugs in rice

Close up of rice

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Once you've identified the enemy, it's time to evict them from the premises. As long as you don't make common pest control mistakes, they'll be out of there in no time. 

The first step in tackling weevils is to toss any affected food, ASAP. "Unfortunately, your best bet once you begin finding bugs in your rice is just to discard all the affected food. You can also stick it in the freezer to kill off all adults and eggs, but I'd still recommend tossing it afterwards," says Andre.

Then it's time to scrub everything down and clean out the kitchen cabinets. "To get rid of weevils, you must start with thorough cleaning. Dispose of any infested food immediately. Vacuum and wipe down your pantry shelves with hot soapy water, followed by vinegar to deter any pests. Ensure you get into crevices and corners where eggs and larvae might hide," says Eliana.

The process is similar for pantry moths as well. "The first step is to throw out any and everything in your pantry that may have been infested. This usually will include everything that isn’t tightly sealed off. You will then need to deep-clean all of the shelves, walls, and doors of your pantry with a bleach solution. Wait a few days before putting anything back in your pantry, and make sure that whatever does go in your pantry now is kept in sealed containers," says Brett.

How to prevent bugs in rice

Once you've tackled the problem, it's important to prevent bugs from coming inside again. "Prevent future infestations by storing your rice and other dried goods in airtight food storage containers. Regularly inspect these containers for any signs of pests. I also recommend placing bay leaves inside your pantry or containers as a natural deterrent. For a case study, we had a commercial client whose consistent cleanout and proper storage protocol significantly reduced pest reoccurrences, saving them from repeated infestations," says Eliana.

From ants coming into the house to an infestation of fruit flies, there are many pests that could be plaguing your kitchen. But don't fear, there are many simple steps you can take to get rid of these nasties, fast. From deep-cleaning your cook space to storing food in air-tight containers.

Emily Lambe
Deputy Editor

Hey! I’m Emily and I’m the deputy digital editor at Real Homes. I’m here to bring you the latest decor trends, inspirational ideas, informative how tos, the latest celeb homes style and the best budget-friendly buys. I live in a rented apartment, making the most of small spaces and using accent pieces to make things pop. When I’m not writing, I’m usually doing yoga, eating chocolate or working on my skincare routine.