A Bugs' Life

Dharma Police

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Hello fellow cooks, and people generally tired of bugs invading their kitchen. I made the mistake of keeping a new bottle of parsley in the container it came in, and lo and behold, an army of kutu have seized it. I don't get this. I'm careful to always close lids and openings, even taping up cereal bags. I've also had organic, Bob's Red Mill oatmeal (not cheap!) rendered inedible because of these marauders. Nasi beras isn't a big deal, since I always rinse rice first. They'll just float on top and get poured out.

I know I can Google how to prevent these spice invaders from breeding inside my dry foods, but where's the fun in that? Anyone know of any surefire ways to stop this? Please don't tell me I have to go out and buy containers with industrial-strength seals for every little item.

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gemima

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I have had similar issues and now either store everything in sealed containers or in the fridge.
I doubt they got into your parsley - they were probably there to begin with and found a nice environment to reproduce in in your cupboard.
I assumed things were "getting into" certain foods due to my lackadaisical storage at first but now I have realized they are many times there in the food itself.
As far as I know, there is no way to stop them breeding - other than using the fridge for storage. I suppose you could try freezing things for 24 hrs to kill bugs before leaving them in your storage but I've no clue if that would be enough to kill off any eggs/ pupa (whatever they start off as)
 

Dharma Police

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I have had similar issues and now either store everything in sealed containers or in the fridge.
I doubt they got into your parsley - they were probably there to begin with and found a nice environment to reproduce in in your cupboard.
I assumed things were "getting into" certain foods due to my lackadaisical storage at first but now I have realized they are many times there in the food itself.
As far as I know, there is no way to stop them breeding - other than using the fridge for storage. I suppose you could try freezing things for 24 hrs to kill bugs before leaving them in your storage but I've no clue if that would be enough to kill off any eggs/ pupa (whatever they start off as)
I will try the freezer trick. Funny, I don't remember this ever happening back in LA. Ants sure, but they only get to food particles that are out or exposed. Is it a humidity thing? So basically it means we often eat eggs and pupa, and that's if we're careful. Lucky for me it doesn't bother me to the point that I'll throw out the food. I did eat the fried potatoes earlier (with some crispy beetles).
 

HappyMan

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I've started storing things like dried beans, rice, and lintels in the freezer after losing a few kilos beans and rice to beetles.
I'm inclined to agree with Gemima that they are present in the goods you purchased. Several types of insects lay microscopic eggs that can easily make it through industrial drying and packaging, google informed me. They then escape from your contaminated goods and spread throughout your pantry. After reading up on this, I went back to the place I had purchased my dried goods and had a close look at the packages. Many of them had visible signs of infestation. I reckon they started in the beans and then just went wild from there.

The likely sources for your infestation are dried grains and seeds (the favored food for most of these guys), I'd think, with dried herbs being a very distant second possibility.
 
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HappyMan

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Also, some of those "kutu" can actually subsist for a bit off of particle board, if I remember correctly (read all this junk over a year ago), so you might give your cupboards and what not a once over with something they won't like.
 

Dharma Police

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Also, some of those "kutu" can actually subsist for a bit off of particle board, if I remember correctly (read all this junk over a year ago), so you might give your cupboards and what not a once over with something they won't like.
This will be something I can tackle tomorrow.

Yep, I read that they get in during the production process. Surprising for an outfit like Bob's Red Mill though. I guess their facilities in Oregon state isn't as sterile as I thought, which is a fair assumption given their prices and claims. I doubt the beetles got into these bags in my pantry, since I wrapped the bags with rubber bands.
 

gemima

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I've started storing things like dried beans, rice, and lintels in the freezer after losing a few kilos beans and rice to beetles.
I'm inclined to agree with Gemima that they are present in the goods you purchased. Several types of insects lay microscopic eggs that can easily make it through industrial drying and packaging, google informed me. They then escape from your contaminated goods and spread throughout your pantry. After reading up on this, I went back to the place I had purchased my dried goods and had a close look at the packages. Many of them had visible signs of infestation. I reckon they started in the beans and then just went wild from there.

The likely sources for your infestation are dried grains and seeds (the favored food for most of these guys), I'd think, with dried herbs being a very distant second possibility.
I've had 3 separate infestations since moving here. The first one was from cardamon pods (little flying beetles everywhere), the second was weevils in some lentils (I hadn't even opened the bag) and most recently I had stocked up before the first covid lockdown - but I left for a few months..when I came back the pasta I had stored in its sealed bag inside a sealed plastic container in my storage room was full of weevils. I'm pretty certain every one of these were examples where the food I got was already infected. Then I noticed in a bag of brown lentils from one supermarket in SCBD (that I had stored in the fridge) that the contents were about 90% lentils and 10% beetles (all dead - unopened bag). I don't buy their lentils anymore.

Anyway, It's not a big deal if you keep everything sealed up - my first beetle infestation I hadn't learned this trick and had to chuck a lot of stuff!
And yes great advice from Happyman - you need to deep clean the cupboards - esp the edges.!
 

HappyMan

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I don't have any pictures anywhere, but when I had my first infestation the little guys got into everything, including some unopened packages. On close inspection, there were little round holes in the sealed packages from something going in or out.

I also had some dried beans from a large grocery Toko in the Setiabudi area go moldy without being opened. Put a couple of bags in the cupboard and a month later they were rotten. Damp enough for some of them to have sprouted. Another reason to freeze stuff...
 

HappyMan

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I've had 3 separate infestations since moving here. The first one was from cardamon pods (little flying beetles everywhere), the second was weevils in some lentils (I hadn't even opened the bag) and most recently I had stocked up before the first covid lockdown - but I left for a few months..when I came back the pasta I had stored in its sealed bag inside a sealed plastic container in my storage room was full of weevils. I'm pretty certain every one of these were examples where the food I got was already infected. Then I noticed in a bag of brown lentils from one supermarket in SCBD (that I had stored in the fridge) that the contents were about 90% lentils and 10% beetles (all dead - unopened bag). I don't buy their lentils anymore.

Anyway, It's not a big deal if you keep everything sealed up - my first beetle infestation I hadn't learned this trick and had to chuck a lot of stuff!
And yes great advice from Happyman - you need to deep clean the cupboards - esp the edges.!
Were the lintels a branded product with fancy packaging or a clear plastic package with some black label at the top? My problems have all been with the clear plastic stuff, and it could be the same brand... I'll have a look at the package when I get back to the house.
 

Dharma Police

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@HappyMan the material and quality of the plastic doesn't seem to matter. Imported cereal nowadays come in thicker bags. My last Raisin Bran cereal got infested, although I didn't check for any holes. Christ, if they can chew holes I better invest in some more hard plastic containers and mason jars.
 

Bad_azz

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I also freeze things, so much so that we have 2 fridge freezers & a chest freezer :D
I buy fresh herbs, blanch & freeze them, another thing I do is infuse oil with them.
Re dried goods- I tend to batch cook & freeze too.
 

Bad_azz

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@HappyMan the material and quality of the plastic doesn't seem to matter. Imported cereal nowadays come in thicker bags. My last Raisin Bran cereal got infested, although I didn't check for any holes. Christ, if they can chew holes I better invest in some more hard plastic containers and mason jars.
Yes, the cereals I store in super strong sealed tupperware type stuff (I forget the name, click & lock?)- mason jars I found less useful, somehow they get past the seals,
 

harryopal

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Why all the fuss? Many countries cook various insects as snacks and you doubtless have seen stories of insect harvesting becoming a major food source for the future. Supposed to be a good protein source. As meat eaters you eat dead animals anyway. As a vegetarian I do rinse out the weevils before cooking the nasi merah.
 

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fastpitch17

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If it is a grain product the little buggers are not invading through the seals of storage containers. The grains hold the eggs of them due primarily being to small to filter out like they do for the adults. Eggs hatch.
 

HappyMan

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Why all the fuss? Many countries cook various insects as snacks and you doubtless have seen stories of insect harvesting becoming a major food source for the future. Supposed to be a good protein source. As meat eaters you eat dead animals anyway. As a vegetarian I do rinse out the weevils before cooking the nasi merah.
I bought some fried grasshoppers in a plastic container in Banyuwangi. They weren't bad tasting, just a bit strange. Kinda like a jerky.
 

Dharma Police

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Why all the fuss? Many countries cook various insects as snacks and you doubtless have seen stories of insect harvesting becoming a major food source for the future. Supposed to be a good protein source. As meat eaters you eat dead animals anyway. As a vegetarian I do rinse out the weevils before cooking the nasi merah.
I've tried crickets and steamed silkworm pupae. They were quite tasty. As far as protein, I think I'll keep insects as a go-to if I should ever become a POW deprived of real food.
 

gemima

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Were the lintels a branded product with fancy packaging or a clear plastic package with some black label at the top? My problems have all been with the clear plastic stuff, and it could be the same brand... I'll have a look at the package when I get back to the house.
They were packed in clear plastic bags and have the first name of the supermarket in their name ("x" Selection). 250g bags so not very big.
 

HappyMan

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They were packed in clear plastic bags and have the first name of the supermarket in their name ("x" Selection). 250g bags so not very big.
Turns out I am out of red beans. Got the lentils in the pack, but they are unbranded... just got a weight and stuff. Not that the information would have mattered to any of our three Bdg members anyway. In related news, I've discovered Setiabudi Supermarket has 248 pictures on their foursquare, but none of them show the endcap where the beans are.
 

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