If you have bugs in the kitchen, you’re not alone. Studies show that there are hundreds of bugs in the average home. But you don’t have to keep the ones in your kitchen.
Read on to learn more about common kitchen bugs, how they got there, how to get rid of them, and how to keep bugs out of the house.
Where Are the Bugs Located?
Different bug species prefer different locations in your kitchen. Small bugs in the kitchen are often attracted to food. It’s hard to keep bugs out of the house. No matter how meticulous you are, there’s always something to attract bugs.
Cockroaches and fruit flies often lurk in kitchen sinks because of their dark, damp nature. If you’re not able to figure out where your bugs are hiding and multiplying, the culprit may be your sink. Pouring some boiling water down the sink can kill maggots ready to invade your home.
The tiny bugs on the kitchen counter are often spiders, gnats, and ants. Sometimes, keeping them under control on your counter is a matter of keeping your counters wiped down and crumb-free. Or maybe they’re attracted to the fruit dish or honey jar you’ve left on the counter.
Cockroaches, ants, and beetles enjoy lurking on floors. Insects may be using your floor to get from point A to point B. If you’re trying to figure out how to keep bugs out of the house, the floor is also a good place to place bait or traps.
Flying bugs like gnats, fruit flies, and moths may take up residence in your kitchen. Usually, they’re attracted to something specific. These bugs are small, but they can multiply quickly until you determine where they’re taking up residence and find a way to eliminate them.
Weevils, silverfish, and flour mites are among the tiny bugs in kitchen cabinets. You’ll want to dump out anything they’ve taken up residence in and make your food containers airtight so that they have no food source while you’re working toward wiping them out.
Cockroaches are perhaps the most frequent of kitchen bugs. They live in dark, damp places, so the kitchen makes a perfect home for them. Once you see one cockroach, it’s time to take action against them.
What Are Cockroaches?
Cockroaches are in the Blattodea order like termites. These household insects have been around for 300 million years (predating dinosaurs). They’re master hiders and prolific breeders. While you’ve likely heard that they can survive a nuclear explosion, they’re not quite that hardy.
- Red or brown
- Quick moving
- Like dark and moist places
What Do Cockroaches Eat?
Cockroaches can go without eating for a month and can eat any organic food source, plant, or animal. However, they prefer sweets, meats, and starches. You’ll also find them chowing down on decaying, moldy, or fermented items. They’ll even eat cardboard boxes, hair, or soap.
How Do Cockroaches Enter Your House?
Cockroaches invade your home by going through any small opening. They may hitch a ride on cardboard boxes and grocery bags. They can also hold their breath for 30-40 minutes which allows them to enter your house through your drains.
How to Get Rid of Cockroaches out of Your House
- Diatomaceous earth: sprinkle on any surface they frequent (dehydrates their exoskeletons)
- Baking soda: place in a shallow dish (causes stomach gases to make them burst)
- Boric acid: dust across a paper plate and place a food like peanut butter in the middle as bait (disrupts their nervous and digestive systems)
- Borax: combine with equal parts white sugar and dust an area they frequent (dehydrates them)
How Do You Prevent Cockroaches from Entering Your House Again
- Use glue strips: Glue traps help identify points of entry.
- Place bait outside your home: Use outdoor bait stations or insect poison around the perimeter of your home.
- Caulk entry points: Finding and sealing all cracks and holes in your home.
- Keep a stopper in your drain: Stoppers keep roaches from entering through pipes.
If you have tiny, flying insects in your kitchen, you may have gnats. You may see them around wet soil or fruit. Females can lay 100-150 eggs during their week-long lifetime, so it’s important to get them under control as soon as you see a few.
What Are Gnats?
Gnats are in the Diptera order, like flies. However, contrary to popular belief, gnats are not babies or baby flies. It’s not uncommon to see a swarm of male gnats swarming outdoors around dusk.
- Grey or black wings
- 2.5 mm long
- Long legs
- Weak fliers
What Do Gnats Eat?
Gnats feed on plants, soil, or fungus. Some even feed on blood. In your home, they like to hang around the trash can or anything decaying like rotten fruit. They also enjoy spending time around stinky things like sinks and toilets.
How Do Gnats Enter Your House?
Gnats choose to inhabit homes with high humidity levels in search of food. Because they are so small, they can enter through any small crack or hole in your house, windows, or doors. They might also hitch a ride on decaying fruit or in plant soil.
How to Get Rid of Gnats out of Your House
- Apple cider vinegar trap: Add apple cider vinegar, two drops of dish soap, and a tablespoon of sugar in a bowl and stir (attracts, traps, and drowns them)
- Fruit trap: place rotting fruit in a jar with either perforated plastic wrap or a paper funnel on top (attracts and traps them)
- Bleach: Pour bleach down drains that attract gnats (kills adults and larvae)
How Do You Prevent Gnats from Entering Your House Again
- Screens: Make sure door and window screens are in good repair.
- Clean gutters: Clean gutters eliminate nesting grounds.
- Clean mold from siding: Moldy siding attracts gnats.
- Keep a stopper in your drain: Any gnats living in your drain won’t have home access.
The tiny bugs on your kitchen counter are likely ants. With 25 ant types that invade homes, most homeowners have dealt with an ant infestation at some point or another. Some are more tenacious than others, but diligence will eventually pay off in efforts to rid your kitchen of them.
What Are Ants?
Ants are social insects that belong to the Formicidae family, along with wasps and bees. They live in colonies as small as a few dozen or as large as millions. Worker ants who have found food in your home leave pheromones along their path to let others know where the feast is.
- Bent antenna (which helps distinguish them from termites)
- Usually brown, black, or red
- Three distinct body regions with a small waist and large abdomen
What Do Ants Eat?
Ants are carnivorous and will eat nearly anything. They eat seeds, fungus, nectar, insects, and insect eggs. In your house, they’ll eat anything that you drop on the floor or leave on your counters.
How Do Ants Enter Your House?
Ants slip into homes easily through cracks in walls, spaces underneath the flooring, or simply through doors and windows. They can also enter areas where wires and pipes enter your house if they don’t have proper seals.
How to Get Rid of Ants out of Your House
- White vinegar: Wipe surfaces and spray on ants (kills and repels ants)
- Sweet Borax mixture: Create a syrup with a 1:3 ratio of Borax to sugar and warm water (kills ants, and they take it back to the colony)
How Do You Prevent Ants from Entering Your House Again
- Place traps outside: Traps, where you see ants outside, can keep them under control before they come indoors.
- Disrupt trails: If you see a trail of ants coming into your house, disrupt it with vinegar spray.
- Seal cracks in your home: Seal any cracks where ants are getting into your home.
Beetles, while unsightly, are most typically found in outdoor areas of the home and won’t matter if they wander indoors. However, if you’re looking for how to keep beetles out of the house, read on.
What Are Beetles?
There are over 350,000 types of beetles, so they come in several shapes, sizes, and colors. If a beetle is in your home, identifying what specific type of beetle it is can help determine what harm it may be doing (if any).
General beetle identification:
- Hardened bodyshells
- Wings have wing covers
- A line running down their backs
What Do Beetles Eat?
With so many beetle types, identifying the beetle is the key to determine what it’s eating in your home:
- Weevils, leaf beetles, and some longhorn beetles: plants, leaves, nectar, roots, grain, seeds, wood
- Ground beetles: prey on other insects, fly maggots, grubs, slugs, snails, and earthworms
- Saprophagous beetles: eat decaying plant or animal matter or dung
- Wood-boring beetles: eat structural wood, furniture, or decorative wood
- Other beetles: other eat everything from fungus to beetle larvae, fabrics, or textiles
How Do Beetles Enter Your House?
Beetles can come in through infested products. However, others enter homes the old-fashioned way–through windows and doors. However, they’re also likely to enter through cracks in the home like other insects. Often, they’re seeking refuge from cold weather.
How to Get Rid of Beetles Out of Your House
- Vacuum: Vacuum beetles from the spot where you find them.
- Remove infested items: Throw out infested foods or household items.
- Repel: Use a natural beetle repellent like neem oil on indoor plants.
How Do You Prevent Beetles from Entering Your House Again
- Spray neem oil around doors and windows: Neem oil prevents home entry.
- Inspect fabrics and wood: Inspecting items before bringing them inside your home can prevent hitchhiking beetles.
- Seal entry points: Sealing cracks and crevices can help keep beetles outdoors.
- Exterior barrier treatment: Exterior barrier treatments kill beetles on contact.
Weevils are those tiny brown bugs in kitchen cabinets that wreak havoc on your dried goods and sometimes even your clothing. They’re not terribly appetizing to find in your cooked food, but they won’t harm you to eat.
What Are Weevils?
Weevils are a type of beetle. With over 1000 species of weevils, there are more weevils than any other type of beetle, so they’re worth looking at more closely.
- Slender oval shape
- Elongated head with a long snout
- Brown, reddish-brown, or black
What Do Weevils Eat?
If you have weevils, you’ll most likely find them in your pantry living inside a box or bag of food. Weevils prefer human food like rice, whole grains, cereal, seeds, corn, and beans. You might also find them in your flour, pasta, or rice.
How Do Weevils Enter Your House?
Weevils take advantage of cracks or openings in doors, windows, or foundations to get into your home. However, sometimes, they make their way into food packaging before they ever enter your home.
How to Get Rid of Weevils out of Your House
- Throw out infested food: You won’t want to eat it anyway.
- Deep clean your pantry: Take everything out, vacuum thoroughly (including any cracks in the wall), and wipe the shelves with soapy hot water.
- Store food in airtight containers: Invest in glass jars with screw-top lids.
How Do You Prevent Weevils from Entering Your House Again
- Inspect grains: Buy foods in bulk or in clear packaging so you can inspect them before buying.
- Avoid damaged packaging: Damaged packaging can provide entry for weevils.
- Freeze grains: Freezing grains for at least a week will kill off any eggs.
- Seal entryways: Airtight entryways can keep weevils outdoors.
Other tiny kitchen bugs you can find in your pantry are flour mites, which infest pantry items in a similar way to weevils. While these small bugs in the pantry are not harmful to accidentally eat, you don’t want to discover them in your cooked food.
What Are Flour Mites?
Flour mites (Acarus Siro) are a specific type of 8-legged mite, not just a general term for just one of the insects you can find in flour and other grains. They thrive in high-moisture conditions, so they often accompany fungal growth. Severe infestations result in “mite dust” over the product.
Flour mite identification:
- Pearly to greyish-white
- Pale yellow, reddish-brown, or pink legs with claws at each end
- Smooth, wingless, soft bodies
What Do Flour Mites Eat?
As their name suggests, flour mites eat flour. However, you can also find them in your other grains, cereal, cheese, corn, and any dried fruit or vegetable materials. Each female lays up to 800 eggs over the food material she inhabits during her 17- to 28-day life cycle.
How Do Flour Mites Enter Your House?
Flour mites enter your home unnoticed, as they hide out in flour or wheat products. They will continue to multiply exponentially until you notice and discard the food product in which they have secreted themselves.
How to Get Rid of Flour Mites out of Your House
- Throw out infested food: Clean out grains and any residual dust.
- Deep clean your cabinets: Vacuum shelves and cracks. Wipe the shelves down with one part vinegar to two parts water.
- Dry the area: Flour mites like damp areas.
- Store grains in airtight containers: Invest in glass jars with screw-top lids.
How Do You Prevent Flour Mites from Entering Your House Again
- Inspect grains: Buy foods in bulk or in clear packaging to inspect them before buying.
- Avoid packaging with holes: Damaged packaging can provide entry for flour mites.
- Freeze grains: Freezing grains for at least a week will kill off any mites, larva, or eggs.
Fruit flies are a year-round nuisance for many people. If you’ve ever tried to get rid of them, you know they can keep coming back again and again after you think that they’re gone. They’ll seemingly come out of nowhere to plague you again and again until you learn their tricks.
What Are Fruit Flies?
Fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) are a species of fly. They’re well-known for multiplying rapidly. Fruit flies live 40-50 days, with the female laying up to 500 eggs during her lifetime. Their eggs hatch into maggots in 24-30 hours.
Fruit fly identification:
- Fly with tan thorax, black abdomen, and gray underbelly
- Often have red eyes (but sometimes brown or black)
What Do Fruit Flies Eat?
As their name suggests, fruit flies eat high-fructose substances like fruits and vegetables. They also feed on decaying materials, leaves, plant secretions, and sweet honeydew from aphids. And unrefrigerated produce in your kitchen that is starting to rot is attractive to them.
How Do Fruit Flies Enter Your House?
Fruit flies are so small that they can enter a house pretty much anywhere there’s a tiny opening. Often, they or their eggs hitch a ride on produce that you bring into your house either from the grocery store or your garden.
How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies out of Your House
- Trap and zap: Place rotting fruit in a jar and cover with a paper funnel to trap flies. Use an indoor bug zapper to attract others at night.
- Remove overripe produce: Fruit flies like to lay eggs on rotting fruits and veggies.
- Clean the drain: Fruit flies also lay eggs in the rotting recesses of your sink drain. Pour a 5/50 mixture of boiling water and white vinegar down the drain.
How Do You Prevent Fruit Flies from Entering Your House Again
- Keep your kitchen clean: Throw out produce before it rots.
- Keep your drains clean: Use boiling water and vinegar to keep drains clean.
Some moths in your house can just be aggravating, while others invade your pantry food and leave holes in your favorite clothes. Once you’ve had a round of the voracious type, you won’t look at a moth in your house the same way again.
What Are Moths?
New studies suggest that butterflies are the ancestors of several moth species. Moths look similar to butterflies, but they are in a different family (Lepidoptera) and have a few other differences:
- They fold their wings vertically over their backs or hold them like a tent, covering their abdomen.
- Generally smaller than butterflies
- Generally have drabber-colored wings than butterflies
What Do Moths Eat?
Adult moths consume liquids like tree sap or flower nectar. However, the ones that are likely to wreak havoc in your cupboard are pantry moths, which eat grains, rice, and nuts. Meanwhile, webbing clothes moths and base-bearing clothes moths can eat your clothes.
How Do Moths Enter Your House?
Pantry moths may just fly through an open door following the scent of food or come in with a bag of grain. Meanwhile, clothes moths that didn’t just fly in the door often enter through inherited or thrifted vintage clothing or furniture.
How to Get Rid of Moths out of Your House
To get rid of pantry moths:
- Dispose of infected food: Then wash the containers thoroughly.
- Use pantry moth traps: Trap any remaining adults with pheromone traps.
- Vacuum and clean: Clean the area completely with vinegar and water.
- Secure future grains in airtight containers: Throw out any grain containers that aren’t airtight. Screw-top lid glass jars are best.
How Do You Prevent Moths from Entering Your House Again
To prevent pantry moths:
- Freeze grains: Freezing grains kills any eggs.
- Place grains in an airtight container: An airtight container prevents moths from having a food source or a place to lay eggs.
Silverfish have been around for about 400 million years, making them among the oldest surviving insects in the world. These scavengers are even more adept at hiding than roaches, so you may not even notice them.
What Are Silverfish?
Silverfish are a small insect in the Zygentoma order. They get their name from their silvery coloring and fishlike movements. While they won’t harm you, they will harm your belongings.
- Silver to brown insects
- Long and oval
- Have antennae
What Do Silverfish Eat?
Silverfish haven’t survived for millions of years being picky eaters. They’ll eat pretty much anything. However, they’re especially attracted to starch-based foods such as pasta, grains, and even books. However, they’re just as likely to eat vegetables and fabrics.
How Do Silverfish Enter Your House?
Silverfish love warm and moist spaces, so they’re especially attracted to your basement and crawl spaces. Like other insects, they enter through cracks in your home, torn screens, and door gaps.
How to Get Rid of Silverfish out of Your House
- Jar traps: Wrap a glass jar in masking tape for them to climb into the jar to reach bread bait. However, they can’t leave because the inside glass is too slippery.
- Diatomaceous earth: Spread where silverfish appear and then vacuum the next day (dries out their bodies)
- Boric acid: Spread in a silverfish area and vacuum the next day (kills silverfish and eggs)
How Do You Prevent Silverfish from Entering Your House Again
- Remove excess moisture: Repair faulty plumbing and vent crawl spaces. Use a dehumidifier to keep humidity above 50% year-round.
- Vacuum: Vacuum cracks and crevices regularly.
- Remove homes outside: Remove stones or leaf clutter near your home underneath which they live.
You can find spiders on every continent except Antarctica. If you read Charlotte’s Web as a child, you might even have a soft spot for them. Most are not harmful, but most people don’t care to have spider webs festooning their homes.
What Are Spiders?
There are thousands of spider species in the Arachnida class. Almost all spiders are venomous, but most venom has little effect on humans. However, it’s essential to be able to identify area spiders that are harmful to humans. Some bites can necrotize skin or cause death.
- Eight legs
- Two body parts
What Do Spiders Eat?
Spiders can help catch unwanted insects in your home. Sometimes, a spider’s catch can give you an idea of what insects you might have in your home. A spider’s primary food source depends on the species. However, most spiders eat insects or other spiders.
How Do Spiders Enter Your House?
Spiders enter homes through windows, doors, or gaps in your home’s foundation. They can also hitchhike their way into your house on your belongings. If you leave your door open long enough, they might even swing in on a web.
How to Get Rid of Spiders out of Your House
- Vacuum: Vacuum up spiders, webs, and eggs. Especially check under and behind furniture and boxes for eggs.
- Sticky traps: Spiders get stuck and can’t walk off.
How Do You Prevent Spiders from Entering Your House Again
- Seal cracks: seal cracks in your home’s foundation
- Check items before bringing inside: pay close attention when bringing items inside that have been outdoors, in attics, basements, or garages.
- Tight seals: Ensure all doors create a tight seal when shut
If you want to know how to keep bugs out of the house, there’s plenty that you can do on your own to get rid of and prevent them in your home and kitchen. If you’re unable to rid your kitchen of bugs with these tips, you’ll want to seek help from a professional service.
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