Wednesday, November 17, 2010


It was a warm summer day and Paul and I had been running errands all afternoon.  One of those errands was to pick up a bag of pellets for the rabbit.  This was back when we were still feeding him the addictive Healthy Select Rabbit Diet.  Once we got home, I put the bag of food away and didn’t give it a second thought until dinnertime.

When it came time to feed Walter, I opened up his new bag of yummy goodness and started to pour out his mealtime serving.  The food looked a little different: all the pellets were sticking together in loosely formed clumps.  It looked like maybe the dried berries in the bag melted from being the warm car all day, and formed this strange cobwebbed food mixture when they dried back up.

I showed it to Paul and asked if he thought it was still okay to give to Walter.  “I’m sure it’s fine,” he said.  For several days, we fed Walter the pellets from this bag of food.  We were probably halfway through the bag when grossness struck.

One evening, I took the bag out to prepare Walter’s dinner, and left the bag opened while I walked into the other room to grab something.  When I came back to finish the task of giving my rabbit his dinner, I noticed a few small, skinny, neon greenish yellow colored worm-looking things crawling out of the bag.  I shrieked.  Paul came running.  Before Paul even made it across our apartment to the kitchen, I noticed several more of these wormy creatures crawling all over the counters.

We set to squashing these unidentified mini-monsters.  I threw the bag of Walter’s food away.  We started finding them all over the apartment – in Walter’s food bowl, crawling on the walls, climbing windows, everywhere.  “What are these?!” I asked.

The answer?  Weevils.

Weevils are common household pests, and can actually be very often found in pet food.  They eat their way through the bag of grains, lay eggs within the grain itself (in our case, the grain was the pellet), and when the eggs hatch, the larvae eat their way out of the grain.  It’s pretty gross.  What’s even grosser is how quickly they reproduce.  A weevil infestation is a quick one.

After the evening of smushing green wormy-things that were weevil larvae, we started finding teeny tiny brown moths flying all over our apartment.  Fortunately for us, these bugs were stupid and easy to smash, since they never flew away in time.  Unfortunately for us, there were so many of them.

So, how do you get rid of a weevil infestation?  You start doing what Paul and I called “Weevil Huntin’.”

First, either throw out all your grainy food or freeze it for four days.  This includes cereal, rice, and pasta.  For better odds, get rid of (or freeze!) everything you have.  If you do freeze your food, make sure it stays in the freezer for at least four days. This is the amount of time it will take for any weevil eggs that have been laid to die.

Then, set to cleaning.  Paul and I found the weevils’ main hiding place in our hallway closet, so we attacked that the hardest.  Using a bleach-mixture, we sprayed and scrubbed every surface we could find.  This sounds like a grueling task, and it is, but it was worth it to be rid of the weevils.  Clean the insides of cabinets, clean tiny crevices where you think a weevil might lurk.  Clean like this for a few days in a row.  Again, tiresome.  Again, worth it.  We had to go through this process twice, since our first food-freezing and cleaning efforts weren’t quite enough.  But after the second time, we were completely weevil free, and glad of it.

As it turns out, that “cobwebby” look to Walter’s food was a sure sign of weevils.  After I saw that, I should’ve tossed the food out immediately.  When weevils eat through the grains, they leave a sticky residue behind, causing all the other food to sort of clump together and form a food “cobweb.”

So, lesson learned.  It’s important to store your pet’s food in well-sealed containers.  I like the Rubbermaid Flex & Seal Cereal Containers.  They’re air-tight, easy to grip, and easy to pour.  And they hold just a little more than one bag’s-worth of rabbit pellets.

It’s also important to check out the food you’re purchasing, preferably before you purchase it.  I check out Walter’s pellets thoroughly, at home at least.  Because weevils are brown, it’s hard to see them amidst all the pellets in the bag.  But, I’ll do a check when I pour Walter’s serving into his food dish, and I keep my eye out for any signs of cobwebbing.

And, I try not to think about how many weevils Walter might have consumed.  Ick.

1 comment:

  1. Holy cripes! I had no idea about this - how disgusting! I hope it hasn't affected Walter? They won't... hatch in his body, will they!? Ahh, this is just horrible sounding. Thank you SO MUCH for posting about it so now I know to look for the telltale signs.