Have you ever looked at your cornmeal or corn muffin and seen a bunch of little black eyes staring back at you? I have. I’ve thought these black spots were bits of stone from a stone-ground masa harina package or bits of pepper, but my biggest fear has always been that they were bugs.
Yes, they can be bugs. That’s the bad news. There’s a good chance, though, that they aren’t.
There may be black spots in cornmeal and foods made with cornmeal. These are pieces of the pericarp, which is the skin around the kernel of corn, especially where it connects to the cob. The bits of germ in whole-germ cornmeal also look like dark specks. But look carefully at your cornmeal. If the spots move or have legs that you can see, they are insects.
If you think the specks might be bugs, there is a good way to check. Mix a teaspoon of the cornmeal in question into a bowl of water. Bugs, on the other hand, will float. Good cornmeal, including bits of pericarp and germ, will sink into the water and mix with it. You can be sure with the help of a magnifying glass.
Natural specks will not be found in large numbers either. They shouldn’t be the main focus of your meal. But if there are a lot of them, it’s likely that they are bugs. Also, a lot of bugs that can get into cornmeal will make it smell bad.
What Do Bugs in Cornmeal Look Like
Dark spots in cornmeal may be psocids, which are also called woodlice or booklice, or any of several types of grain-eating beetles. They can be told apart by their sizes and colors. Psocids can be dark brown or gray and are about the size of a pinhead (1-2 mm), while adult flour beetles are usually reddish brown and about 4 mm long.
The most common types of flour beetles, the red flour beetle and the confused flour beetle, give the grain they eat a strong, almost medicinal smell. Also, flour beetle infestations usually include both adult beetles and their grubs, which look like pale, off-white worms that are about 7 mm long.
Psocids can get into your pantry through wet cartons and paper packaging, which may literally lure them out of the woodwork. Even though they are called booklice or flour lice, psocids aren’t parasites and aren’t related to the louse family.
Why do I have bugs in my cornmeal?
These Liposcelis bostrychophila, or “psocids” (pronounced “so kids”), are common pests in stored grains. They’re usually unseen because they’re about a millimeter long–about the size of a speck of dust–and are transparent to light brown in color. They’re also wingless, but can they ever crawl!
Are bugs in cornmeal harmful?
Is it harmful to accidentally eat flour mites? Eating weevil-infested flour certainly isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time, but rest assured that it won’t kill you. They’re harmless!
Should I refrigerate cornmeal?
To assure the best quality over time, use the following storage ideas. Store the cornmeal in a cool, dry and dark place. Warm, damp conditions will cause mold to grow and a bad flavor and odor to develop. Don’t store cornmeal near the dishwasher or range, or next to the refrigerator.
How do weevils get in flour?
The female beetle deposits eggs into food or into crevices in food packages. The larvae hatch and make their way into the product to eat. Many people find these larvae in the flour and call them “weevils.” Hence, the name “flour weevils.”
How long can u keep cornmeal?
Properly stored, a package of regular cornmeal will generally stay at best quality for about 12 months at room temperature. To maximize the shelf life of regular cornmeal once the package is opened, transfer cornmeal to a covered airtight container or place original cornmeal bag in a resealable plastic freezer bag.
How long can you keep cornmeal in the fridge?
Regular cornmeal will maintain best quality for about 18 months in the refrigerator. How long does regular cornmeal last in the freezer? Properly stored, regular cornmeal will maintain best quality for about 24 months, but will remain safe beyond that time.
How long does vacuum sealed cornmeal last?
If frozen in an airtight, moisture-tight, container, zip lock bag, or vacuum-sealed bag, your cornmeal will last 3 to 5 years. If the temperature remains at a steady 0 degrees Fahrenheit, it will last 10 years or more.
Should I throw out flour with weevils?
Discard any food that has weevils.
If you don’t see weevils, you can store and use the flour or food. You shouldn’t eat any food that could contain live weevils. If you’ve accidentally baked with flour containing weevils, you can eat the food because the weevils are dead.
Can weevils get into airtight containers?
Can Weevils Get Into Sealed Packages? Yes, pests like weevils can quickly work their way into sealed packages. It’s common for bugs to chew their way into cardboard boxes or plastic bags. If your packages have unlined sections, then it’s also easy for pests to jump inside.
Can you eat flour with weevils?
If you eat flour with weevils they are unlikely to harm you, so don’t be too concerned if you’ve used the contaminated product beforehand. If you’re using products in baking, the high temperatures would help to have made the flour safe to eat.
What happens if you eat weevils?
Weevils are not poisonous, so ingesting them won’t cause you any particular harm. These insects are, from a scientific standpoint, a source of protein. Live weevils are a sign that there are no pesticides in your food. Dead weevils in your grains are a sign that there are pesticides.
Does corn flour get weevils?
How do weevils get into flour? Similar to other pantry pests, weevils will feed on whole grains including rice, flour, nuts, beans, cereals, seeds and corn. Unlike other insects that climb into flour, weevils live and feed inside the food.
How do you keep bugs out of flour and cornmeal?
Store Foods In Airtight Containers
Storing all your foods including spices, flour, cookies, oats, and cornmeal in the refrigerator can also help. If the refrigerator does not have enough space, you can just freeze the newly bought food items for four days.
Why do I have weevils?
What Causes Weevils in Food Storage Areas? Weevils generally gain entry into your home through purchased containers of whole-grain cereal products that have been infested at food processing and packaging centers. Once in your home, weevils can spread to whatever cereal grains are available to them.
What does weevils look like?
Weevils are small beetles that have noticeable snouts. They are often lightbulb- or pear-shaped. The immature, legless, grub-like larvae feed on plants. Adult weevils look for shelter in unfavorable weather conditions, especially when it is hot and dry.
How do you vacuum seal cornmeal?
THE RIGHT WAY to Vacuum Seal Dry Foods Like PASTA, CORNMEAL …
What can I do with old cornmeal?
How to use Cornmeal In Your Garden
- Stimulate Composting. Compost is a great way to add nutrients for your plants to your garden.
- Bed Preparation. When you are getting your garden ready for planting, then make sure to incorporate cornmeal into the ground.
- Treat Leaf Spot Fungus.
- Weed Control.
- Insect Control.
- Algae Control.
What does bad cornmeal smell like?
So give it a good sniff before using it. If it smells rancid or sour, it’s past its prime, and you should discard it. Another thing to remember is that black and grey specs in whole-grain cornmeal are normal. Those flecks can be attributed to the germ of the corn.
What should you do if a packet of flour has been infested by weevils?
What can you do to get rid of them?
- Inspect all stored foods to find and dispose of anything the weevils have been feeding on.
- Remove all foods (even those not infested) from the pantry.
- Vacuum the shelves (both top and bottom) and surrounding floor, paying close attention to edges and corners of shelves.
How do bugs get into sealed packages?
Most dried food products can be infested by insects
Pantry pests are most likely to infest products that have been opened but they also can get into unopened paper, thin cardboard, and plastic, foil or cellophane-wrapped packages. They may chew their way into packages or crawl in through folds and seams.
Are weevil eggs in all flour?
The female flour weevils will fly inside your home and lay eggs in the flour that you store in your kitchen pantry. Why? It’s because the larvae of these weevils feed on the flour and grains. Not surprisingly, the larvae of these weevils can also be present in the food bags that you purchase from the grocery stores.
How can you tell if cornbread mix is bad?
The best way is to smell and look at the muffin mix: if the muffin mix develops an off odor, flavor or appearance, or if mold appears, it should be discarded.
How do you store cornmeal after opening?
In an air-tight container stored in a cool, dark, and dry place, cornmeal can last even longer than this. When stored with oxygen absorbers in Mylar bags, cornmeal can last over 10 years.