Ants in Rice?

Old 02-29-16, 08:36 PM
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Ants in Rice?

I live in an apartment here in Mexico. I like to buy brown rice, white rice and pasta at the supermarket. Well it took me a while to realize that a lot of the brown rice and white rice i bought... i had noticed there were these tiny ants inside.

Normally i would buy a lot of these bags and then just put them on the cabinet. I had done this when i first came to mexico in my previous apartment and never had this issue. It wasn't until i recently looked very closely when i poured rice into my rice cooker and when i poured it into a plastic jar that i put the rest of the small bag of rice in... i had noticed there were lots of these ants inside.

First off, is it most likely these ants were already inside the bag at the supermarket? The thing is the last few times, i paid close attention and inspected every bag before i bought it. Yet when i got home, i noticed few days later when i cooked the rice, there seem to be always a couple of these ants inside. Im positive that many times i have eaten rice cooked from the rice cooker and these ants were in it and i never realized it. As silly as it sounds, if i see a black spot in the rice... i wouldn't have noticed it. I had read ants can easily go inside rice bags.. is it true?

What is the best solution to this? I heard of spraying lemon juice around the area. I heard of putting the rice immediately in a jar that put it in the freezer. Which is the best option here? I normally buy a lot of these in stock so i won't have to go to supermarket just for rice but now i only buy 2-3 of these small bags max. Yet even when i do this, still these ants are there. I'm sort of positive they could be in my apt because i had poured rice into a jar immediately when i got it from supermarket. Then later on poured it to cook, there were none i noticed. yet i did this again with another bag and this time i didn't close my jar tight enough... so the ants could have went inside is my guess.

What is the best option here? Also im wondering could it be possible eating these ants could cause health/skin issues? I ask this is because the last few months, i had grown very small dark birthmarks near my eye and under my eye. I had thought this could be the possible reason. The other was stress but i been always a stressful person.

The other thing is it always safe to eat the rice even after u find out there are these ants inside? I had thrown a lot of these bags away due to it. My issue is i dont want to keep buying bags of rice then have to throw it out each time since i have to go to supermarket each time. And before someone say go to another supermarket, here in mexico in this city, theres only a few big supermarkets to get rice.

Old 02-29-16, 09:03 PM
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I like to add that i recently just saw some ants on some utensils of mine in a cabinet. So based on that, that means these ants are from my apartment? Thus those ants somehow found a way into the ricebags? I had heard there were certain holes in a rice bag that isn't really visible to a regular person. But could ants get into rice bags? Because im thinking that is the only way that is possible based on this situation
Old 02-29-16, 09:31 PM
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I don't really have an exact answer for you. I do know ants are considered protein and although it doesn't sound appetizing the ants are probably not bad for you.

I think I'd buy a bag of rice, check it for ants and then immediately store it in an airtight bin.

As far as the ants on the utensils..... that means they've found a way into the house. They love moisture and many times they follow that. Is your kitchen on an outside wall ? Have you seen the ants outside in that area ?
Old 02-29-16, 09:47 PM
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What do you mean on outside wall? Basically the cabinets are attached to the wall. There are also some holes as well in the walls of these cabinets. I had thought about putting tape over these holes in the walls... would that be good idea?

Ants are pretty much only on the cabinets. I had put the rice/pasta in the top cabinet. Then i no longer put it in cabinet but put it on the side of the cabinet which is still part of the cabinet. Still got them there...
Old 03-01-16, 02:54 AM
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By outside wall Pete is referring to the wall that has the exterior on the other side.
I always store our rice in a plastic container with a lid. You need to treat the area with Terro [or similar] I doubt tape would stop ants.
Old 03-01-16, 05:34 AM
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I spend time in Costa Rica but most of my time is in the US. Some food gets left behind in Costa Rica for long periods in a tropical rain forest environment so proper storage is critical. A air tight plastic or glass container can prevent ants or other insects from getting into dry goods but it does nothing about bugs that may already be in there.

I try to buy dry goods like rice, flower and beans at the same time. Then at home I put them in the oven on to about 300. The length of time depends on how items are packaged and make sure you don't put plastic bags in the oven. If I can spread the material out on a cookie sheet I'll only do it for 20 minutes but if I'm putting in 5 kilo bags of flour or beans I'll bake it for an hour to make sure the heat makes it to the center of the mass. Then I turn the oven off and let it cool without opening the door to give more soak time in the heat. Once it cools I'll put the stuff in air tight plastic or glass containers.

I also have a "dry room". It's the vault where I lock valuables when gone for long periods but it has a dehumidifier to keep the humidity as low as possible. I put food in there when I'm away. The dry environment alone does a good job at keeping insects out as most bugs in the area require more wet environments so with the air tight containers it's double protection.
Old 03-01-16, 09:53 AM
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The answer is both.

Bugs or bug eggs can be present in the bag when packaged and bugs can get in. Is it just rice or does it happen to other grains? It is safe if not completely appetizing to eat the bugs.

To rule out environmental factors you need to throw out all the food in your apartment and fumigate.

Because of the climate here we can have some of the same problems, mostly with flour which comes in paper bags. The solution was to, as soon as I get home put them in airtight bags and seal with the heated strip of a foodsaver.

With rice I have a giant air tight mason jar that fits the 5kg bags of rice I buy and always keep it in there.

For me, that's worked and I haven't seen the beasties in a while.

Good luck.
Old 03-01-16, 11:33 AM
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I always keep my rice in the freezer. Well at least I do since I had little crawlies hatch out in one bag of rice. The bottom line is all rice contains some eggs and eventually they will hatch. (I keep dried beans in the freezer for the same reason.) Freezing either eventually kills the eggs or at least keeps them from hatching. Not about ants I know but a sealed refrigerator or freezer is good for more than just cooling. Also never buy from open serve-yourself bins at the store. Those are notorious for never being cleaned.

Related story: I use to work at a newsstand that also sold cigarettes. Some brands like unfiltered Camels were very slow sellers. Picked up one of the packs and to my surprise saw little bugs crawling under the cellophane wrapper and holes in the packaging where they had gnawed out to the cellophane.
Old 03-01-16, 01:52 PM
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justin2: are you positive that they are ants? They could be tiny beetles or weevils that live in stored products such as flour, wheat, seeds, rice, etc. They could already be in the product when you bring it home from the store and now they are living in your cabinets too.

Can you get a close-up picture of them? If not, do you have a friend that could? That would be very helpful.

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