Buying rice in bulk is an excellent way to stock up on a large amount of food that is relatively inexpensive. Rice is a staple worldwide that many people depend on for a stable food source and when SHTF, you might be forced to depend on it too.
If you’ve stored rice long term before, you might have noticed maggots in rice. This begs the question, does rice turn into maggots? The short answer is no; rice does not turn into maggots.
As we continue, we will discuss the question of “does rice turn into maggots” in greater detail as well as how to prevent an infestation of insects in your rice.
Can Rice Turn Into Maggots?
So why does rice turn into maggots? Technically, rice does not turn into maggots. Rice is a grain, not insect eggs or larva. The insects lay their eggs on the rice grains, which is food for the larva once it hatches.
How Do Maggots Get Into Rice?
Insects lay their eggs on rice grains, so the larva has something to eat immediately after hatching. Most of the time, this happens before the rice is packaged. The eggs are virtually invisible to the naked eye, so they go undetected until the rice is packaged, shipped to your local supermarket, and purchased by you.
Some insects may borrow through the packaging to reach the rice. However, this is not common and can be stopped using some methods we discuss later in the article.
Types of Food Insects to Watch Out For
While many insects and rodents will try to eat your food, there are primarily two insects that can ruin your rice storage if you don’t properly store your food.
While rice maggots are not actual maggots because they are not fly larvae, they look similar enough, so that we will call them maggots. They are most likely the larva of the Indianmeal moth, a common pest that lays its eggs on rice.
A weevil is a small beetle with a long snout. The larva of weevils looks similar to a maggot because they begin as small white-colored worms. There are over 1,000 different types of weevils so narrowing down which exact weevil you have in your rice is a daunting task.
What Happens if You Eat Maggots in Rice?
Most of the time, eating the rice maggots will not harm you. Many places worldwide consider insect larva a delicacy and are happy to eat it because it provides one with some nutritional value. However, you risk ingesting a parasite that can cause you harm. So always thoroughly cook your rice. The rice maggots and potential parasites will be killed by the boiling water when you boil it.
How to Prevent Bugs in Your Rice Storage
Now that we’ve answered, “Does rice turn into maggots?”; we can move on to how to keep pests out of your food storage. The following are several ways to prevent you from finding a maggot in rice ever again.
Refrigerate or Freeze For 24 Hours
If the insect eggs stay at room temperature for a while, they will hatch. Just like animals, insects must keep their eggs within a specific temperature range to hatch. So if you refrigerate or freeze the rice for 24 hours, you will kill the eggs and won’t have to worry about them hatching and eating your rice or spoiling your food.
The same rules apply to heating, except experts can’t agree on the exact temperature or length of time. It usually ranges from 120-140 degrees for two hours, while some say that at 140 degrees, it only takes 15 minutes to kill the insect eggs.
You can try microwaving, but with both of these methods, you have to be careful not to cook or burn the rice.
Boric Acid or boric powder can keep pests, including insects, away. However, it is poisonous if you consume too much of it. Borax is another name for it, and you can sprinkle it in your cabinets to help keep insects away but do not mix it with your food.
Bay Leaves/ Peppercorn
Bay leaves, and peppercorn are a couple of home remedies you can try. While they’re not scientifically proven, most people believe that they deter insects. You can place them in the container with the rice and near the container to keep other insects away.
Insects and their eggs need oxygen to survive, so if you place oxygen absorbers in the container and reseal it, the eggs will not hatch due to the lack of oxygen. Oxygen absorbers are unsafe to eat, but they are easy to spot since they’re a plastic square that clearly says “do not eat.” They are currently used in many sealed foods, like beef jerky.
Now when a friend asks you, “Does rice turn into maggots?”; you can confidently tell them “no” rice is a grain that insects lay their eggs on, which hatch and grow into insect larva, like maggots.
Thankfully, there are several ways to kill the eggs and prevent them from hatching. The best methods are using an oxygen absorber or refrigerating the rice for 24 hours before storing it.
If you believe rice will not be a sufficient energy source, then mixing in MREs is an excellent way to make your stockpile of food last longer.