GEORGE TOWN (THE STAR) - Rice weevils are sensitive to scents and do not like the smell of herbs.
“Dried chilli and pandan leaves could act as a repellant and placing these in rice containers will keep away the weevils,” said Penang Agriculture Department biosecurity officer Suhaimi Din.
“Rice containers should always have a tight lid and not left ajar as it could attract the weevils,” he said.
On the weevils in warehouses, Suhaimi said harvested and processed rice should be packed immediately as rice left lying around would attract the pest.
Weevils are also known to attack crops like wheat, rice and maize.
According to experts from India working with the Consumers Association of Penang, these beetle-type pests were not harmful or dangerous to human beings.
They do not spread any disease or bite humans but can be a threat to grains and rice kept in the pantry.
Neem seed kernel extracts and garlic spray should keep these pests at bay in houses and rice warehouses, they say.
Another plant that is effective against these pests is the nochi plant or vitex negundo, commonly known as the Chinese chaste tree, five-leaved chaste tree or horseshoe vitex.
It is a large aromatic shrub that is widely used in folk medicine and easily available in many parts of Malaysia.
The shrub can be placed in the warehouses and inside houses as it acts as a repellent, and rice weevils will stay away from places which has the aroma of neem and nochi.