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Aug 10, 2013 03:20 PM

What spices will keep rice and flour critter free?

I have heard certain spices can be added to rice to keep the moths and various critters out sort of like "moth balls" and cedar do for our closets. Is this an urban legend or does it really work? What spices are best?


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  1. Hi Sid- I have never heard this, although it may be true.

    The only thing that has worked for me is to store these things in the freezer. Some glass containers with secure fits/gaskets around the lid may help, but I just started storing all my flour and grains in the freezer. I've not had a problem with rice getting critters.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cheesemonger

      Like Cheesemonger I keep flour, grains, etc. in the fridge or freezer depending on how much space I have. Freezer is preferable, especially for flour. Rice does fine in the fridge, but then I'm not storing 25 lb bags of it, not sure what size you buy.

    2. I've heard bay leaves can keep away pests, but I can't personally tell you if that's true. People recommend just tucking a few bay leaves in with your flour or rice.

      1. Have heard bay leaves work, but wonder if their flavor gets into flour/rice? I don't keep flour, rice, dried beans, or pastas in anything that isn't air-tight.

        1. I've kept a big bay leaf in my flour for years and years, and yes, it works. I just drop one or two on the top of the flour before I put the lid back on the plastic container in which the flour is kept, so it's easy to just pluck them out when I need to use the flour.

          And no, it doesn't impart any discernible flavor to the flour.

          I've also used wrappers from Doublemint gum -- they work nearly as well.

          Airtight will only work to an extent -- the eggs and/or larvae are already in the flour when you buy it, so it's not a matter of keeping bugs out.

          4 Replies
          1. re: sunshine842


            I keep whole bay leaves in my rice and flour containers. I buy 20lb bags, so what I do is pour half the rice/flour into the container, throw in couple bay leaves, then add the rest of the rice and add another bay leaf on top before closing the lid.

            1. re: sunshine842

              My mother used the bay leaves too. I keep everything in sealed glass or plastic containers, but I've stopped with the bay leaves because I find I don't use the flour fast enough to keep the bay leaves from imparting a flavor. It's true the eggs are likely in the flour already, though.

              1. re: sunshine842

                If the eggs are already in the flour, why bother with bay leaf to keep them out?

                1. re: escondido123

                  I don't even pretend to know why, but if I keep a bay leaf in the flour, I don't have weevils.

                  Does it kill them? Keep them from hatching?

                  No idea -- all I know is that it works.

              2. Freeze all your grains, rice, beans for 3 days. That kills the eggs. Then store airtight to keep other bugs from getting in.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Becca Porter

                  I just keep mine in the freezer until I'm ready to use them. Look, Ma! No bugs!

                  1. re: Becca Porter

                    This works for me. I had some weird beetle and moth infestation once and never want to again. I freeze a few days and ziploc. I too have heard of the bay leaf trick but was afraid you would taste it. Nice to know it works

                    1. re: Becca Porter

                      I'm wondering, does the dampness from temporarily having it in the freezer cause any issues with mold?

                      1. re: Atomic76

                        Doesn't refrigerators and freezers tend to remove moisture? As a result, the need for a drip pan under the fridge?

                        1. re: yopauly

                          cold items taken out of the fridge end up with condensation inside and out, just like your ice-cold Coke.