How to Get Rid of Pantry Bugs

how to get rid of pantry bugs

Pests in your pantry? Need to get rid of them, but don’t know how? Anywhere there are stored foods, you may also find bugs. If left unchecked, pests can ruin the food stored in your pantry, and cost you time and money. These bugs can also contaminate the foods they come in contact with, which can make you or your family sick. Let’s take a look at how to get rid of pantry bugs.

Types of Pantry Bugs

Many different bugs can infest your pantry in search of a free meal. Identifying what pests you are dealing with will help you to determine the best way to get rid of them. The most common pantry bugs are ants, moths, weevils, and small beetles. These bugs aren’t necessarily the worst pests to deal with as they won’t damage your house, bite, or sting you, but they can make a mess of things when it comes to the food that you have stored in your pantry.

The foods that you will most likely find pantry bugs infesting are cereal, crackers, flour, and rice. If you find that you have pests in your pantry, don’t blame yourself. In most cases, bugs will ride in on your shoes or clothes and find their way to your pantry, and others may have infested the food long before it reaches your kitchen. Bugs such as beetles and weevils are known to infest foods before it leaves the manufacturer or the grocery store. Let’s break down each of these common pantry bugs and how to get rid of them.


Ants are quite possibly the most common uninvited guest to raid your pantry for food. Ants will find cracks, crevices, or other means of entering your home in the search for food and water as they forage. When ants find accessible food sources in your pantry, they will create what is known as foraging or scent trails that lead from the food back to their nest, and the rest of the worker ants follow this trail until it is disrupted or the food runs out.

The best way to deal with ants in your pantry is to observe the ants so you can find where they are entering your home, their trails, and their nests. When you have discovered these things, you can use slow-acting ant bait that the ants will take back to the rest of their colony, including the queen and young. If given enough time, the ant bait will kill off the ant colony entirely. Once you have eliminated the ants, you will need to seal off any entry points into your home to help prevent future intrusions by ants.


The Indian meal moth is one of the most common pantry bugs when it comes to stored grains in the United States; this is a direct result of the Indian meal moth’s favorite foods being stored in your pantry. These foods are grain products, grains, nuts, dried fruits, cereals, and any other processed food products. Indian meal moths have a trait by which they can be identified, and it is their reddish-brown forewings with an added copper luster.

If you find that Indian meal moths have moved into your pantry, you will need to discard contaminated food to remove the threat. The control method for Indian meal moths is prevention. You can do this by storing the foods they find most enticing in airtight containers.


Grain weevils, wheat weevils, or granary weevils seek out beans, seeds, and whole grains, but will not feed on processed food products. These reddish-brown beetles are small and have elongated snouts. They can chew through plastic and paper packages to reach the foods they want to eat.

As with the moths, any contaminated food will need to be removed to get rid of weevils completely. Prevention is the best way to keep them out of your pantry, by placing your beans, seeds, and whole grains in metal, plastic, or glass containers. You may also want to use small bags of black pepper and adequately washing your produce as deterrents for weevils.


Confused flour beetles, flour beetles, and red flour beetles are the most common beetles to be found trespassing in your pantry. They are super small and typically only measure around 5 millimeters in length. Though they are hard to see, they are reddish-brown and will gather in groups to reproduce in cereal, dry pet food, and flour. Despite their small stature, they cause the flour to discolor and smell bad as they eat and develop.

Again, you will have to get rid of all contaminated foods to get rid of the beetles completely. Keeping your flour, cereal, and dry pet foods in sealed containers will help to deter beetles from making your pantry their breeding grounds. Keeping your pantry clean and periodically checking for pests is a must when working to prevent pantry bugs.

If you find an infestation of pests in your pantry that you can’t get a hold on, contacting a professional pest control agency is the most logical next step. A trained exterminator will be able to diagnose and resolve the problem by identifying and implement a plan to eliminate the pest and create a plan to prevent future issues with pantry bugs.

Regardless of the type of pantry bug, you may find in your house, accurately identifying them is the key to getting rid of them. Once you know what you are dealing with, you can actively work to get rid of them and keep them from coming back. All of the foods that you store in your pantry should be stored in sealed, airtight containers to keep bugs out. Learning how to get rid of pantry bugs is a great way to preserve the food in your pantry.


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