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Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: olnacl
Date: February 06, 2009 08:28AM
I had a large box of the "instant" oatmeal packets - mixed flavors - (OK, they've been around a while - I didn't eat breakfast every day when I was working) and today after I nuked a package I thought there were an extraordinary number of "specks" in the oatmeal. Closer inspection proved they were some sort of (now, anyway) deceased insect. I then looked at the box contents and found indications of bug activity - a miniscule hole in some packages, barely pinhead size. So the question is, are these bugs that were in my house and found the oatmeal or bugs that were in the oatmeal, found their way out and are now in my pantry?
And other than pitching the entire box of oatmeal (already in the garbage can) what should I do? Help!



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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: billb
Date: February 06, 2009 08:33AM
Have you seen little white moths in the past few months ? ?
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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: RgrF
Date: February 06, 2009 08:38AM
Same thing could happen with rice or almost any grain product that's not sealed. I wouldn't worry a lot unless you have a lot of that around.

Don't go fumigating. If you need to fumigate you'll know soon enough but my bet is you won't need to at all.



When fascism Comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying the cross - Sinclair Lewis



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/06/2009 08:39AM by RgrF.
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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: mikebw
Date: February 06, 2009 08:42AM
Just check your other dry goods, make sure they are not contaminated and sealed up well. I had some moths or something get into a bag of flour once, lots of stringy web stuff in there, very strange.
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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: Rick-o
Date: February 06, 2009 08:43AM
I've always heard that it's eggs that came with the grain type products. You are unaware of them if the food is consumed in a timely manner. If it sits in the cupboard awhile, the eggs hatch.

Having said that, I hope everyone is enjoying their morning meal!yum smiley





“There is no greater calling than to serve your fellow men. There is no greater contribution than to help the weak. There is no greater satisfaction than to have done it well.”

- Walter Reuther
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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: IronMac
Date: February 06, 2009 08:44AM
I store my oatmeal in the deep freezer all safe and sound from bugs from the outside and kills any eggs already inside of the bags.
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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: kap
Date: February 06, 2009 08:47AM
In our old home, we used to get bombarded with pantry moths during the summer months. We followed the advice of the forum members and stored all food in tight-fitting lid containers; not plastic bags nor carton boxes. Then strategically placed the traps (non chemical ones found at home depot) where the food were stored. Those traps worked wonder!

Check out the info at this link: [www.pantrypest.com]



West San Gabriel Valley, California ... for the time being :-)



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/06/2009 08:54AM by kap.
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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: rgG
Date: February 06, 2009 08:48AM
Been there done that. If they are tiny brown things that look like a small grain of rice, they are most likely Indian meal moths. All grain type products have to be kept in airtight sealed bags or containers in the pantry or these little @#$%& will get in there. The come in in the containers that you bring home from the store. Sometimes they are in the outer box and when you open the inner bag, in the go. They will quickly spread to all open or unsealed grain products in your pantry, even pet food. They are a pain to get rid of, since you need to check and repackage all your grain/flour containing products.

Here is a link, and some good news in case you have accidentally eaten some of them. I know I must have over the years.

[www.bugclinic.com]


A question people frequently ask is what happens if they ingest infested food product. Since these insects do not contact disease containing surfaces and are thus do not transmit disease, there is no harm done to people or their pets if affected food is ingested.





Alpharetta, GA (Atlanta suburb)
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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: ztirffritz
Date: February 06, 2009 08:51AM
My wife and I have been battling this pests for some time. They come out in the summer. They can chew through thin cardboard, paper, plastic coated paper, and seamingly get through ANY type of seal. I haven't found a perfect solution yet. My wife and I have switched to keeping our flower and rice in freezer, in air-tight containers. I have to continually pester my wife about cleaning off the flour dust that gets on/under everything after baking. I think that we're making headway in the battle against them but we won't know until this summer.



**************************************
Nothing to see here, move along.
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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: lafinfil
Date: February 06, 2009 08:54AM


Now With More Protein !



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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: raz
Date: February 06, 2009 08:58AM
What the previous folks have said is true, and not nearly scary enough. Once they start reproducing, you'll need to work hard to eradicate them through several life cycles - assume at least a year.

And yes, the larva will chew through foil bags as well as plastic and cardboard.

Heck, we found a 'colony' living high on the hog in a mouse poison bait trap (the triangular yellow thing).

Ours showed up in some dried chilies. All chile purchases are now kept in the freezer. The mere mention of them sends my wife scurrying to examine everything in the pantry, and we haven't seen one in three years.



--------------

Embarassing myself on the Internet since 1978.
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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: olnacl
Date: February 06, 2009 09:03AM
Thanks everyone for the comments. I almost ate the oatmeal I prepared this morning but when I found a cadaver (as predicted, smaller than a grain of rice), plump and juicy, everything went to the trash can.

I'll check every package and pitch anything suspect (probably all) and from now on I'll skip Costco size packages and buy what I need for the week, nothing more.

When I lived on my boat in the Bahamas, I was a lot less fussy about food - mold on the bagels, cut it off and eat the rest. It was a bit more difficult to get to a store and buy fresh - which then - usually wasn't anyway. Now a store is in walking distance so if I cut back on quantities and walk there more frequently, I'll benefit two ways - more exercise and less food waste.

Again, thanks and I'll follow your suggestions.



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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: rgG
Date: February 06, 2009 09:07AM
Here is something I just found on a couple of different websites:

Put a bay leaf in the flour canister to help protect against insect infections. Bay leaves are natural insect repellents.






Alpharetta, GA (Atlanta suburb)
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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: olnacl
Date: February 06, 2009 09:21AM
Oops. I just checked the "use by" date on one of the packages I'm throwing out - Dec 2007 - I guess those bugs were the grandchildren of what was in the package when I bought it. I'll just buy what I need from now on.

What about things in sealed foil (I think) lined packets? I have some boxes of jambalaya mix that (I opened one) looks pristine. Think the foil will keep the critters in or should I just pitch everything dry - pasta, rice, cereal - to be safe? I doubt the loss if I pitch everything is much over $30. These are hard times though...







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/06/2009 09:28AM by olnacl.
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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: SDGuy
Date: February 06, 2009 09:29AM
Quote
olnacl
Oops. I just checked the "use by" date on one of the packages I'm throwing out - Dec 2007 - I guess those bugs were the grandchildren of what was in the package when I bought it...

So you're saying I should be wary of the Quaker Oats envelopes I have in the back of the pantry with a 1992 date on the box?
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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: AlphaDog
Date: February 06, 2009 09:30AM
I was told by my husband, a Florida boy, those were weevils, and the eggs were present in most dry foods, and, yes, things like chili powder, too. Up here in the Northwest, I'd never seen anything like that, but he was familiar with them from all the years he spent where it was hot and humid. I'm sure people find them hatching much less often now that central AC has become so common. I had them appear once years ago in something that was stored in a cabinet above a built in oven in our first house. Do a Google search for "weevils in food" and you'll get plenty of hits. Keeping stuff that isn't used up quickly, like oatmeal and flour, in the refrigerator or freezer will keep the little guys from coming to life.
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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: billb
Date: February 06, 2009 09:31AM
A couple years back I had some crunchy pancakes one morning. At first thinking they were egg shells and then realizing they weren't.
Started opening all boxes with flour in them. Some had little empty larvae casings , some didn't.
Then I opened a box of rice I had just bought. And the rice was moving.
Everything in boxes got tossed.

I had everything in thick plastic zip lock bags for months, much in the freezer. But I had apparently moved everybody outside.

I had seen little white moths occaisionally for several weeks.

Supposedly one can just bake everything in the oven and dent the population.
'Safe to eat'. :-)
no thanx.
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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: olnacl
Date: February 06, 2009 09:38AM
Well, I am a Florida boy, so your comments are germane. This is an all good exercise anyway because now, in the midst of the "season" down here I hate going to Costco. I'll just follow a new plan, "less is more" and buy what I need when I need it. Buying more than I need at a given time is a throwback to living aboard. I filled every nook and cranny on the boat when I brought it back to the states. Prices were about 3x in the islands.



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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: February 06, 2009 10:44AM
In case anyone was wondering, I wouldn't eat it either....

grinning smiley



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: February 06, 2009 10:55AM
My mom's response to comments about finding half a caterpillar in the steamed broccoli was "You're welcome. More protein for you !".

Buy yeah- you live south, you're gonna have to store your foods so the buggies don't get to it. Up north we get winter, so the buggies all die off. But yah, inside the house we had an infestation of those moths. They were all in the cereal boxes and such. We found the largest ones inside the sealed container of bunny food, so we think they came in that way.

There was a massive cleanout of the pantry- all unsealed food went bye-bye, we fumigated the area, cleaned off the sealed containers, and bought new food.

Haven't seen 'em since.
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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: kap
Date: February 06, 2009 11:06AM
Quote
cbelt3
There was a massive cleanout of the pantry- all unsealed food went bye-bye, we fumigated the area, cleaned off the sealed containers, and bought new food.

Yup, that was what we had to do in our old house. They infested everything outside of the refrigerator including the trash bins! Not even bleach would kill them ... they were good swimmers I found out! As mentioned previously, I use those natural moth traps. Worked very well.

I am more cautious about distinguishing the brown moth lavae from raisins, and the white ones from rice grains.



West San Gabriel Valley, California ... for the time being :-)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/06/2009 11:08AM by kap.
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Wait a minute...
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: February 06, 2009 11:09AM
Are you saying the bugs were in the packets? I assume that they were sealed until you made breakfast.

Did they eat their way into the packets? Unless they did, this sounds like a problem at the factory.

And they're features, not bugs. Extra protein, no extra charge.



You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

-An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

There is no safety for honest men
except by believing all possible evil
of evil men.

Pixels were born to be punished. -Frederick Van Johnson

Mister, that's a ten-gallon hat on a twenty-gallon head.

I *love* Sigs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: rgG
Date: February 06, 2009 11:22AM
Quote
Paul F.
In case anyone was wondering, I wouldn't eat it either....

grinning smiley

Liar. smiling smiley





Alpharetta, GA (Atlanta suburb)
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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: michaelb
Date: February 06, 2009 11:24AM
As said by others, I think these are referred to as "pantry moths". Have you seen anything fluttering around the kitchen lately. They have a distinctive (weak) flight pattern, and less wingy then a moth when you squish it.

Rotating everything you have into a freezer can kill them, if you don't want to throw out the contents of your kitchen. Pulling everything and scrubbing all the drawers and shelves is also probably a good idea.

They can be real pain in the ass.
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Re: Wait a minute...
Posted by: AlphaDog
Date: February 06, 2009 11:40AM
Quote
RAMd®d
Are you saying the bugs were in the packets? I assume that they were sealed until you made breakfast.

Did they eat their way into the packets? Unless they did, this sounds like a problem at the factory.

I'm sure what he found were the weevil eggs that are actually present in many things that are made from grains - flour, rice, cornmeal, as well as foods containing these items, like crackers and cereals. There's really no way for all of them to be eliminated through the grain processing, so you've probably already eaten a ton of them during your lifetime without ever knowing. People remain blissfully unaware of their existence until they see the hatched version. So, yes, the eggs were in the packets, but he'd had the oatmeal for quite a while and it apparently wasn't stored in an area that stayed cool enough to prohibit the eggs from hatching. Here's a short explanation by someone:

"They are GRAIN WEEVILS. Weevil eggs make it through all the sifting, sorting, and filtering because they are about the same size as the flour particles. In coarsely ground flour, they have an easier time of it. After a while, they hatch and then bugs go through a life cycle in your container. To prevent hatching: 1 - Use your flour faster than the bugs cycle, 2- Store your flour in the refrigerator or freezer where it's too cold for the weevils to hatch. Weevils lay their eggs in the grain as it grows. Processing does not kill the eggs and they hatch in time and warmth. They appear as little black specks, or thin hard shelled bugs. Sometimes you may notice little webs on your grain products. These weevils will hatch in rice, pasta, oat / corn meal and other grain products even when stored in an air tight container because they are in the grain. Left long enough they will die as their lifecycle can not be completed in the container."
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MMMmmmm! Weevils.
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: February 06, 2009 11:55AM
Like I said, extra protein without the extra cost.



You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

-An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

There is no safety for honest men
except by believing all possible evil
of evil men.

Pixels were born to be punished. -Frederick Van Johnson

Mister, that's a ten-gallon hat on a twenty-gallon head.

I *love* Sigs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: MacArtist
Date: February 06, 2009 12:28PM
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger?

The government has guidelines for how many hairs, rat droppings, bugs and so on that can be present in our food supply. They just get excited when they find salmonella, lysteria and what not. In other words, they just worry about the stuff that can make us sick or kill us.



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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: iaJim
Date: February 06, 2009 12:33PM
Quote
Paul F.
In case anyone was wondering, I wouldn't eat it either....

grinning smiley

If Paul F won't eat it, then throw it out!
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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: olnacl
Date: February 06, 2009 12:38PM
Quote
RAMd®d
Are you saying the bugs were in the packets? I assume that they were sealed until you made breakfast.

Did they eat their way into the packets? Unless they did, this sounds like a problem at the factory.

And they're features, not bugs. Extra protein, no extra charge.

Well, they were in the bowl, contents of which came from the packet, but then I took the whole box down and found what appeared to be bug detritus among the packets. Further inspection (I was getting grossed out by then) turned up a pinhead size hole in individual packets (I only checked a few) so I don't know if they were outside and went in or inside and came out. I have seen a couple small flying insects lately so it looks like this is all connected.

Anyway, all is done. Gone. Paul, it's in the bin if you change your mind search smiley







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/06/2009 12:47PM by olnacl.
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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: February 06, 2009 01:50PM
Like Ironmac says, I put that stuff, especially flour and corn meal in the freezer for a few days.
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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: February 06, 2009 06:14PM
Quote
billb
A couple years back I had some crunchy pancakes one morning. At first thinking they were egg shells and then realizing they weren't.
Started opening all boxes with flour in them. Some had little empty larvae casings , some didn't.

So, in a sense, they were egg shells.



It is what it is.
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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: bwicklander
Date: February 06, 2009 09:36PM
arrrggg I'm cleaning out my pantry...
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Re: Bugs in oatmeal packets
Posted by: billb
Date: February 07, 2009 07:38AM
Quote
N-OS X-tasy!
Quote
billb
A couple years back I had some crunchy pancakes one morning. At first thinking they were egg shells and then realizing they weren't.
Started opening all boxes with flour in them. Some had little empty larvae casings , some didn't.

So, in a sense, they were egg shells.
Yes, and if I ate eggs shells that would be fine.
I don't.
Same with sea shells.
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