How do I get rid of bugs in rice?
Can you please suggest to me how to prevent rice from getting very small black coloured insects, they are really irritating us by spreading total house and bothering my little kid a lot. I am from Hyderabad, India.
Does your rice arrive 'clean'? What container is your rice stored in? Sacks - what type?
If you can, put all grains you buy in impenetrable containers as soon as you get them home, and freeze them. Keeping rice (or any other grain) in the freezer for a full day will help. Keeping the grain in the freezer for a week will kill just about any creepy crawly that's already in the rice, the impenetrable container will keep new visitors out. Glass or hard plastic containers (like tupperware) are impenetrable, Ziploc style bags may not be.
If you don't have room in the freezer for all of a new rice purchase, go ahead and repackage it in the impenetrable containers, and rotate the containers until they have all had at least a full day in the freezer (a week is better).
Get rid of anything that already seems like a breeding ground. Thoroughly go through all of your food storage space, get rid of anything infested, put all you can save into impenetrable containers, and consider a (hopefully) one time use of a pesticide.
Also, the cooler you can keep the stuff that the bugs like, the better. Bugs that are well fed and warm are happy, happy bugs.
One more thing. I don't know if it actually works, but it can't hurt: Try putting a few bay leaves in each container of rice. It's a bit folklore-ish, but the countermeasure has been touted for decades, maybe longer.
I assume you soak the rice before cooking and get rid of anything that floats?
Freezing is a bad idea because although the insects die, their bodies are still in the rice. The bodies don't necessarily float to the surface even if the rice is put into a container full of water. Another one of the answer mentions "sunning", which is a better way, because the insects crawl away.
Since you say you are from India, the best thing will be to sun it for a few hours to get rid of the crawling creatures. Then put some neem leaves in it, which are available all over India (azadirachta indica, for the uninitiated)...also cloves in the rice will help.
I don't know whether putting it in the freezer is a good idea. I have never heard of anyone doing it in India, maybe due to smaller fridges and freezers, non frost free fridges (which produce a lot of water vapour), and of course an erratic electricity supply.
A little sieving wouldn't be out of place either, if you can find the right size mesh.
@WayfaringStranger : sieving rarely helps long-term; even if the bugs are significantly larger than the grains of rice, their eggs aren't.
@Joe: Yes, sure, works for me with corn, but depends on bug size, egg size, and grain size. If sieving eliminates 80% of the problem, you only have to worry about the other 20%.
Without access to a freezer or dry ice, you can try this low-tech method:
- put rice in a container with a lid
- Put a spoonful of baking soda into a bowl, put the bowl on top of the rice in the container
- pour a couple of spoonfuls of vinegar into the bowl
- shut the container lid
Carbon dioxide produced by the baking soda and vinegar is denser than air and would sink into the rice filling all the gaps between grains. The weevils will eventually suffocate. Once dead, they will dry up. The dried up dead insects should float off when you wash the rice before cooking.
That's a good technique if you can keep the container sealed well enough and long enough to kill all the insects. 12 days is considered long enough. https://ndfs.byu.edu/portals/7/docs/research/long/PETE%20bottles%20paper.091910.pdf
The general consensus (from people that have had problems with insect infestation and posted their experiences to various internet forums) seems to be that two kinds of containers are usually effective at keeping bugs of any kind out of dry goods, and that most other types are unreliable:
1) Glass containers with hinge and rubber gasket construction, look at the IKEA Korken series for an example, any reputable brand (IKEA, Fido,...) should do.
2) Hard plastic containers with a gasket and four-sided locking tabs, for examples look at what Lock&Lock, Luminarc Pure Box, or Glasslock makes. These are also available in quite large sizes so you can protect a bag of flour, or a collection of many small bagged items (if none of them is pre-infested).
I do not mean to recommend specific brands here but needed examples for known good container designs, the general theme is: hard materials, airtight and wide rubber or plastic gasket that is forced against the container with pressure, quality brand.
Alot all rice sold in the USA (from China and Japan and similar) has rice weevil eggs in them, but it takes time for them to hatch. If the bugs haven't burrowed out yet, there isn't any problem eating the rice. So, what I do is freeze the rice for 48 hours to kill the eggs (invisibly hidden inside grains of rice), and then seal in half-gallon mason jars for long term storage (I just vacuum-seal the jars, but even that is probably overkill - any air-tight seal should be fine).
However, I also keep rice for everyday use in a common clear plastic ostensibly airtight container, without freezing it, and that usually lasts fine, even several months. Airtight containers seem to greatly extend the lifetime of the rice before the eggs hatch. Eating the eggs are harmless, though I'm sure many Americans would be squeamish to know almost all the rice they've ever consumed had bug eggs in it.
TLDR: Freezing rice for 48 hours in a freezer (just in the store-bought bags they come in), then put the rice into an air-tight container is sufficient to kill the eggs before they hatch and preserve the rice indefinitely (e.g. decades).
Is dry ice available where you live? You can use it to kill bugs in grain. You can also buy oxygen absorbing packets that will kill bugs in sealed containers.
You have to be careful about your choice of container. To kill all the insects, you need to keep the oxygen level below 1% for 12 days. Many 5 gallon buckets don't seal well enough to keep the oxygen out that long. Used plastic soda bottles can be used effectively, but it will take a long time to pour the grain into the bottle using a funnel.
Add Boric Acid ( brought from a medical shop) 400 gms for 50 Kgs is more than sufficient, to the rice and store it. Slowly all the insects will die or leave. In telugu they area called mukka purugu they will leave or die and you can wash out.Even when you wash the rice before cooking these insects float on water and you can remove them. This is also effective for white insects which come in rice. store it in a place where moisture is less and water does not touch rice. I have been practicing this for few years.
Boric acid is an insecticide. In Germany Boric acid has been banned from food use except for kaviar and the upper limit is 4g/kg, not 8g/kg as you write. It can cause kidney damage and may impair fertility and cause harm to the unborn child. As I see it, your suggestion can be dangerous unless you wash your rice very well.