Tiny Bugs In The Kitchen? (Here's What You Can Do)
Bugs are a pesky invader anywhere in your home. If you find bugs in your kitchen, it can be especially horrible. This can spell trouble for all the food you’ve got in the pantry!
The tiny bugs in your kitchen may be sugar ants, grain insects or fruit flies as they are the most common ones. Different items attract certain insects. By securing your foods and sugars, you will be able to keep your tiny insect infestation at bay. They are also easy to get rid of.
Grain Insects: Weevils and Flour Beetles
Grain insects is an umbrella term for any bugs that are attracted to grains. These bugs live in your rice, flour, pasta, and cereal, causing them to spoil. Common varieties of grain insects include weevils and flour beetles.
What Are Weevils?
Weevils are dark, tiny oval-shaped bugs. They have long snouts and leave their feces and shells in the food they infest. While weevils do not bite, they can leave your grains inedible.
How Do Weevils Get in Your Kitchen?
Weevils can find their way into your home through packaged products or from your yard. Weevils gather on fruit trees and in gardens, then slip through cracks and gaps into your house.
How to Keep Weevils Out of Your Kitchen
To prevent weevils from entering your home, carefully inspect packages of food before buying them. If there is damage or rips in the packaging, avoid purchasing it. This provides an easy entrance for weevils into your food.
If you are worried about weevils in your grains, refrigerate or freeze the grains for 48 hours after purchase. You can also store your grains in airtight containers to keep weevils out.
You should also take preventative measures outside your home to keep the weevils at bay. Close up any gaps, fill cracks, and repair tears in screen doors and vents.
You can deter weevils with natural methods like bay leaves and cloves. Add some bay leaves to your grain containers and place cloves throughout your pantry. These herbs will help keep weevils from invading your kitchen.
To get rid of a weevil infestation more thoroughly, follow these steps:
Step 1: Clean Your Pantry
Clean out your pantry and cupboards by removing any unsealed grains. Throw out any you suspect may be infested with weevils.
Step 2: Freeze Leftover Items
Freeze any grains in your pantry not infested with full-grown weevils. If there are any weevil larvae in the product, the cold will kill them. Leave the items in the freezer for at least four days.
Step 3: Deep Clean
After you’ve thrown out all infested products, remove everything else from your pantry. Vacuum the inside of your pantry, being careful to get into all corners and crevices. Sanitize the pantry shelves with hot, soapy water and restock once it’s dry.
Note: Dump the contents of the vacuum outside. Disinfect the inside of the vacuum before bringing it back inside. This will help to ensure that weevils stay out of your home.
Step Four: Insecticide
To ensure the weevils stay out of your pantry, spray the interior with an insecticide. Allow time to dry before restocking your pantry’s contents.
Note: If you want to avoid using chemicals, wipe the shelves down with white vinegar instead. This can kill existing weevils and keep them away in the future.
What Are Flour Beetles?
Flour beetles are small, reddish-brown beetles. They prefer flour and cereals and avoid whole grains. Flour beetles usually feed on the dust and broken bits at the bottom of containers.
Flour beetles emit a strong smell, so you’ll know if you’ve got them. They shed their shells and leave feces behind in the grains they infest. Because of this, flour beetles cause the grains they infest to mold.
How Do Flour Beetles Get in Your Kitchen?
Flour beetles can invade grains in warehouses and grocery stores. Adult flour beetles can crawl into closed containers. They can even jump from container to container, spreading the infestation.
How to Keep Flour Beetles Out of Your Kitchen
To prevent flour beetles from entering your home, inspect boxes and containers before you take them home. Don’t purchase items that are damaged or have holes. Store your grains in airtight containers once you bring them home.
Flour Beetle Extermination
The way to rid your pantry of flour beetles is similar to how you get rid of weevils. Follow these steps to remove your flour beetle infestation:
Step 1: Inspect Your Pantry
Take all the items out of your pantry. One by one, inspect them for signs of flour beetle infestation. This may be evident from odor, mold, or holes in the packaging.
Step 2: Discard Infested Items
Throw away any items that appear infested. If you’re unsure, be on the safe side and toss things.
Step 3: Vacuum the Pantry
Vacuum the entirety of your pantry. Get into the cracks and crevices to make sure you get rid of all flour beetles.
Step 4: Wipe Down the Pantry
Disinfect your pantry with hot, soapy water.
Step 5: Place Pheromone Traps
Add a few pheromone traps inside the pantry and around the kitchen. These will attract male flour beetles and prevent them from mating and multiplying. You can buy these on Amazon for less than $10.
Step 6: Spray Insecticide
Spray insecticide in the pantry. Allow the pantry to dry completely before restocking with food.
Fruit flies are small tan or brown bugs that fly around ripe or rotting fruit and produce in your kitchen. They may also swarm liquor and beer bottles.
While fruit flies do not bite, they can contaminate food with bacteria. They also reproduce incredibly quickly, so they can become a large problem very fast. One female can lay 500 eggs at once, and these can hatch in 24 hours.
How Do Fruit Flies Get in Your Kitchen?
Fruit flies love fruit. If you have any fruit or produce sitting on your counters, they’ll swarm around these bowls. The fruit and produce don’t even have to be rotting to attract fruit flies. They love ripe fruit as well!
Fruit flies can also breed in the garbage disposal and drains, especially if there is old food down there.
How to Keep Fruit Flies Out of Your Kitchen
To prevent a fruit fly infestation, keep your kitchen as clean as possible. Wipe up spills and messes as soon as they occur. Empty your trash regularly, as a buildup of old food will attract fruit flies. Keep your fruit and produce in the refrigerator and off the counter if you are wary of fruit flies. Clean food out of your drains and garbage disposals.
Fruit Fly Extermination
There are several natural ways to rid your home of fruit flies.
Fill a jar with apple cider vinegar, cover with plastic wrap, and secure with a rubber band. Poke holes in the top of the plastic wrap. Fruit flies will be attracted to the apple cider vinegar, but cannot escape once inside the jar.
Mix apple cider vinegar and soap in a bowl. This will attract the flies and drown them.
You can also leave out a beer or wine bottle. Fruit flies are attracted to alcohol. Once inside, they will have trouble escaping due to the bottle’s long neck. You can try fruit fly traps or insecticides to get rid of the fruit flies if you prefer a chemical method.
Sugar ants are tiny black or orange-colored bugs. The males of the species are winged. These ants are attracted to sweets in your kitchen. Sugar ants don’t sting, but they can bite if provoked. They also have the capability to gnaw through cardboard and sometimes plastic.
How Do Sugar Ants Get in Your Kitchen?
Sugar ants love sweets. They’re often attracted to plants with sweet nectar outside in your garden. This can bring them close enough to your home that they find a way in for your pantry sweets. Sugar ants are also attracted to spills and crumbs.
How to Keep Sugar Ants Out of Your Kitchen
To prevent sugar ants from coming into your home, keep your kitchen clean. Wipe up spills and crumbs, especially anything sweet. Be aware of any hidden spills that might drip into drawers or end up in cabinets.
Sugar ants dislike various natural foods. Cucumber peels, bay leaves, and coffee grounds deter sugar ants from coming in. Place these around your kitchen entryways to keep ants out. You can keep sugar ants at bay by mixing orange, cinnamon, or peppermint essential oils with water. Spray this around entryways or places you’ve seen ants.
Sugar Ant Extermination
There are several natural ways to get rid of ants. Spray a mix of water and soap or vinegar along known ant trails. You can also use various powders like cornstarch, diatomaceous earth, or borax to kill the ants. Sprinkle the powder in a shallow bowl and leave by doorways or window sills.
Note: Be cautious when using these powders, as they can irritate your eyes and skin. Keep out of the reach of children and pets.
Why are there bugs in my kitchen?
Bugs are attracted to kitchens because they provide food, shelter, and water. You can keep bugs out of your kitchen by keeping food off your counters and in airtight containers.
What happens if you accidentally ingest a kitchen bug?
Most kitchen bugs are not harmful to humans. If you accidentally ingest food infested with kitchen bugs, it is likely you won’t fall ill. However, they could be carrying disease and bacteria. Be sure to carefully inspect food before purchasing it to ensure you aren’t bringing bugs into your home.
Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.
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