How Sri Lankan Protects Grains from Bugs

There are various traditional, natural and safe methods that we can use to protect grains from bugs like weevils.

Sri Lanka is a tropical country that provides a suitable climate for the insects which can multiply on the grains. Sri Lankans use many grains in their diet. Hence, it is essential to protect them from these bugs. The weevil bug is one of the most typical insects that damage the common grains found in Sri Lankan kitchens. In this article, we list out traditional methods that Sri Lankan used to keep grains protected.



Adding cloves to the grains which are stores in containers is a common household method that Sri Lankan use to keep the grains protected from bugs. The essential oils in cloves is strong and it will repel the bugs like weevils. This is particularly useful to protect rice.


Dried lime leaves

Dried lime leaves also provide protection from bugs for grains like rice which is a staple food in Sri Lanka. Like Cloves, lime leaves also produces safe essential oils which can hold off insects from grains. Lime leaves should be washed and dried up well before using and it is important to keep the container or the bag properly sealed for the optimal results.


Dried red chilies

Yes, the red colour among grains will make your grain bottle beautiful. But that is not the purpose here. Dried red chilies in grains can be a useful method to fend off bugs. 


Dried up turmeric rhizomes

Turmeric powder is an essential ingredient in Sri Lankan cooking. In addition, it is used in traditional medicine as an immunity boosting ingredient. Turmeric tubers have also been used in protecting grains by adding dried up slices in to the grains. 


Curry Leaves & Pandan Leaves

These two type of leaves are commonly found in Sri Lankan backyards. Using the leaves of these two plants are one of the most economical and easiest way of protecting grains from weevils.


Black Pepper

If it is small quantity of grains that you have to protect you may try this method. It will not be an ideal method to use in grains with big quantities since black pepper is very expensive. However, it is a common spice that any kitchen would have.


Cinnamon and Cinnamon Leaves

Sri Lanka produces the best cinnamon in the world. It is not hard to find cinnamon leaves in Sri Lanka. Adding cinnamon sticks and dried up leaves in grains is one of ancient method of protecting cereals from bugs.


Dried up neem leaves

Neem leaves is bitter. However, dried up neem leaves added to grain baskets can guard grains without any change in the flavor of the grains.


Important Points to Consider

All the methods we described above are traditional methods of protecting cereals from various insects. However, the success depends on many factors. Specially, there can be eggs of the weevil bugs in your store-brought seeds. Specially this is true if they were brought in bulk from opened packets. Hence, the mild methods we listed here will not work perfectly at all times. However, the success rate will increase if you incorporate following methods.


  • Keep the cereals in freezer component for twenty-four hours.
  • Sun-dry the grains after bringing from shop
  • Store in clean containers with a lid


The most effective method is vacuum packing which needs some initial investment.


However, we should not forget this important fact. Commercially they use chemicals to protect grains from and if you find few weevils in your grains it may be a sign that no chemical was used in them.




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