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Violated Preps/PLUS pantry bugs! update!

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Sorry Deb but my commercial freezer isn't a walk in one. I wish it were. Actually it's just a big 27 cubic foot upright that is made to commercial specs. It has a quick freeze setting on it and a defrost setting. Pretty handy extras but not often used. It also has a loud alarm if the temp raises for any reason. It's supposedly better insulated than a conventional freezer. Must be as in the ten years we've had it the temp generally doesn't vary more than a few degrees of zero unless the electricity is off quite a while.

 

DE is diatomaceous earth. It is an all-natural product made from tiny fossilized water plants that works as a physical deterent to most insects. It works by scratching their bodies or dehydrating them. It is safe for humans and animals to eat so it can be used in stored grains, in the garden and various other places but you have to be very careful to use only FOOD grade DE and not what you can get from pool supply places because of the difference in purity. You also want to be careful of breathing in the dust when using it as it can be irritating to the throat and lungs. You can buy it online many places.

 

Of course you can dream Deb. It's what makes us move ahead in our lives. Someday your dream will come true. smile

(((( )))))

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I freeze all of my grains for at least a few days. That way it kills all the bugs that might be hiding he wrapping. Then I store in buckets.

 

I have had my preps violated by two legged bugs before. The fruit was the first then they attacked then they went for the crackers and cookies. Darn bugs you swat them and they keep coming back rofl

 

Oh and I asked my mother tonight what they did when she was a kid and bugs got in the flour. She said they had finer shifters when she was a kid and they just shifted the bugs out. She said they used bay leaves a lot. She said with the rations you didn't throw anything out.

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. bump

 

 

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I now freeze rice. I never realized rice could get bugs, I always freeze my flour and cornmeal but duh !!!

 

Lost about 30 pounds of rice because one bag had bugs. To this day I believe it was bought from the store. It was the bag that I used to refill my counter stash and both the bag and the jug had bugs.

 

Live and learn

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I bumped this up because with the economic scares and lost jobs, many of us are relying on our preps now. Have you been freezing your grains/flour/rices?

 

I had to get the boric powder because we had late season rain and I got a mob of odd bugs flittering around the house.

 

BTW I was given an nice bird feeder and birdseed as a gift a month ago. I did the feeder a couple of times and forgot while really busy at work. The other day I came home to tiny moths flittering around my dining room (the door to the backyard). I went to a spot by the door where I keep a garden cache

 

and found the BIRDSEED had sprouted little moths!!! eek

 

I tossed the bag in the back yard and had to swat/spray and chase moths all afternoon. The tiny tiny tiny moths the size of a sunflower seed. (please get the visual in your head).

 

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Then I got to thinking of course I would now toss foods infested with any critters but what if supplies were low and all I had to eat? Here's a site on food safety and what they said about bugs.

http://www.calpoison.org/public/food.html

 

What if there are worms/weevils in the food?

 

Many people have had the unpleasant surprise of finding live creatures wiggling in their food. Food or candy containing peanuts is commonly found to contain worms. Oatmeal, cereals and other grain products frequently have little weevils. People who have already tasted the food and then find the live creatures tend to vomit immediately. While the idea is disgusting, there is no danger. The bugs and worms are destroyed by the stomach acids and will not turn into parasites.

 

Actually, insects are full of protein and are low-calorie. They are considered survival food by the military. If you were stranded in the wilderness without food, you could eat bugs, grubs, worms and other insects to prevent starvation. Most people who have accidentally eaten a bug do not find that particularly reassuring. No real treatment is needed. Inducing vomiting is not necessary.

thank you for this. this is exactly the situation I'm in now: completely broke, just found that the oatmeal and rice have weevils, can't afford to throw them out because it's the last of the food available.

 

I'm now looking at the best ways to remove weevils and eggs so the food can be cooked and eaten.

 

ETA:

Actually, I thought what I had were weevils, but looking at the illustrations in the link provided earlier weevils are beetles. I don't have any beetles. What I have in both oatmeal and rice look more like worms with legs (like tiny catepilars, but not fuzzy). About 1/4" inch long. brown in color, varying from light brown to dark or reddish brown. I thought maybe these were the Indian Meal Moth, since that's only thing that has a worm-like thing pictured, but there's no webbing or silken mess as described. I've also never found anything with wings inside. Just tiny worms with legs.

 

Any idea what these are?

Edited by Y.T.

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Ooh! It gives me the shivers!!

 

So sorry you have to eat the stuff.

 

thanks. :D I just figure it'll be good practice in getting less squeamish and dealing with icky PAW stuff. ;)

 

I'm still not sure what exactly I have yet, so I'm not sure how to deal with them.

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yeah, the pics of mealworms looks about right. Though the worms I have are a bit smaller and we've had lots of tiny moths in the kitchen before, so it might be the pantry moths. I can't really tell. My camera doesn't have a good enough macro lens to photograph them. They're tiny. Fortunately I don't have a bundle of them, like in the pics on that site. Just a handful sprinkled throughout a bag.

 

The oatmeal has at least one live one, but it ducked into this inconceivably small crevice near the rim before I could grab it. I may just throw it out. The idea of sifting through 3/4 of a large container is a bit much for me right now. I'm sure I can scrounge up the $4 needed to replace it sometime in the next week or two. I'm trying to salvage the rice though. 5 bags (3 brown, 2 white). That's a lot of meals lost otherwise.

 

Some sites were saying you should throw away any food infested with pantry moths because it's not safe to eat. Elsewhere it's stated to freeze the bags then pick out the bugs. It's a bit difficult to decipher. I figure I should know how to properly deal with this should such a situation happen during an emergency and this is the only food option.

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Some sites were saying you should throw away any food infested with pantry moths because it's not safe to eat. Elsewhere it's stated to freeze the bags then pick out the bugs. It's a bit difficult to decipher. I figure I should know how to properly deal with this should such a situation happen during an emergency and this is the only food option.

 

 

To each, her own...and I have the BTDT tee shirt!

 

In a hardship situation, I'd look at the live critters as 'extra protein', but it's the dead critters in the food that's the problem. In the normal course of things, we all eat bits and pieces of dead bugs without knowing (even the FDA allows so many bug parts per quantity of foodstuff)... But an abundance of decomposing and moldering bug bodies isn't good! If I find bugs in my pantry, I will routinely inspect suspect foodstuffs with a magnifying glass to determine that there's not significant evidence of bug die-off going on. If not, then, into the freezer it goes! But, like I said, to each her own, but I'm thinking that if there's frozen-to-death bugs in the food, then it should remain in the freezer or else cooked and consumed quickly. I'm not gonna enjoy thawed out and rotting bug guts in my groceries! yukity yuk yuk

 

If there's no room in the freezer, I do the diatomaceous earth thing I mentioned earlier in this thread...

 

So far, none of my diatomaceous earth treated foodstuffs have ever had a bug problem to begin with. I sometimes see more than a few dead weevils outside the packaging. (I also dust my pantry with the diatomaceous earth powder.) So I know it kills them all eventually...both larvae and adults. (There are some who may argue this point, but I have the dead bugs to prove it! hahahaha!) I also suspect that most bug eggs can lose their viability (hatchability?) if dehydrated by the diatomacous earth. I seldom encounter the hatchlings...

 

If there was evidence of a bug morgue going on in my food, and if times were hard enough, I would consider using the spoiled food as bait, or recycled through chickens, or as wormfood, or composted...but never wasted.

Edited by PureCajunSunshine

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I posted this question elsewhere, but since this thread is active I'll try it here:

 

I always give my stuff that is going into buckets 2 freezings. First I freeze 2 weeks to kill any buggies that are already in there. Then I bring it out and let it get to room temp and that gives any eggs a chance to hatch. Then I freeze a second time to kill them. After that I'll put stuff in my buckets.

 

I'm a bit confused by this. How do you prevent the moisture that develops from freezing-then-thawing from making the oats soggy or creating mildew in the container? Are they placed in a certain kind of container or bag while they thaw to room temperature when you do this? Do you stir them around or spread them out on something to prevent moisture? (rice is usually in a plastic bag, which would trap moisture.)

 

And how long does it take for the container to get back to room temp? Is it just a few hours, or do you have to leave it out for a few days (during which point new bugs could find their way in)?

 

Thanks for your help. :)

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PureCajunSunshine,

thanks for your feedback. I had read your posts about diatomaceous earth, but that seems more a preventative measure while I'm in post-infestation phase.

 

I plan to open the bags and pick out the dead bugs after I remove the bags from the freezer. They're only 3-5lb bags, so it's manageable to sort through. It doesn't look like a whole lot of bugs. In a whole can of oatmeal I only found 1 live worm (though I assume there are more live or dead ones). In the rice I can only see 2-6 worms in the bags. So I figure maybe 3-4 times that actually present, which is still only 8-24 to pick out.

 

The only constant I've read is that ingesting the bugs themselves will not harm you since they are so small they get broken down by your stomach acids. My concern was more about the rice or oats themselves having been contaminated to an unhealthy degree from the infestation. Some bugs just eat the grain. Others lay their eggs inside each grain of rice, then the larva eats its way out (or something to that effect). It's the latter case that I thought might make the food unhealthy to eat.

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I would suggest a bit of expermentation before tossing the infested items. With oatmeal, begin cooking with additional water than the directions call for.[measure the amount of additional water] Bug remains will float to the top as the oatmeal cooks. Use a small patterned sieve and scoop out the evidence.

 

Hard boil for 5 minutes. Take off the heat, skim again. Dip out the additional water, finish cooking.

 

This usually will work for all infested items.

 

A set of very fine patterened sieves are a frugal cooks best friend. A lot of infested flour can be reclaimed, and a somewhat larger pattern sieve will work for cornmeal.

 

The thing is, just do it and do not share what you do. Picky eaters will gag, choke and sputter dramatically if they know.

When the large chunks are gone; cooking, baking will render the rest harmless. :rolleyes:

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Welllll,

Ya know what they say. The cup of flour /oatmeal you save today, will put off tomorrow's hunger!!!! :P

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