4 Common Pantry Pests and How to Get Rid of Them

4 Common Pantry Pests and How to Get Rid of Them

Pantry pests gather in and around food kept in pantries, including cereal, flour, rice, and others. While dirt is a major reason for pantry pest infestations, you can also find them in a consistently clean home. Inactivity is among the most common reasons for pantry pest infestations, meaning if there are things in your pantry you don’t use or pick up much, they might attract pests.

Open food could also be a cause for this problem. Pantry pests cause food contamination, making you sick. If not treated early, pantry pests may spread easily to other food sources, contaminating your food. Below are four common pantry pests and how to get rid of them.

1. Flour beetles

Flour beetles, including confused and red flour beetles, are flat, shiny, reddish-brown insects that can infest grains like flour. If your pantry has these bugs, you’ll see adult beetles creeping around infested products and lumped food particles created by larvae. An unpleasant odor from stored cereal or flour may indicate a flour beetle infestation. Learning how to get rid of bugs in flour can help keep flour beetles out of your pantry for good.

You can transfer the flour to an air-tight container to keep bugs out while maintaining freshness. However, it would help if you first froze the flour for at least 48 hours to kill existing eggs or larvae before putting it into the container.

2. Indian meal moths

Also called pantry moths, Indian meal moths are a common and notorious pantry pest. Most of their infestations begin when you unknowingly take home dried fruits containing caterpillars and eggs. Your kitchen will attract female moths if it has spilled food and unsealed containers, and once in, they’ll find a great nesting area and start reproducing. Their larvae can chew through lean plastic jars and can spread to the rest of your packaging materials, resulting in pantry moth-related health risks.

Pantry caterpillars aren’t easy to find, so temporary moth removal methods can’t effectively deal with the root cause of the problem. However, hiring pest control professionals can help ensure successful Indian meal moth eradication. These experts can also advise you on ensuring moths don’t nest in your pantry.

3. Sawtoothed grain beetles

Sawtoothed grain beetles are stored product bugs found in various foodstuffs in your pantry, including cereals, grains, dried fruit and meat, pasta products, and more. They lay shiny white eggs in tiny crevices in the food. Finding adult sawtoothed grain beetles crawling on food storage shelves or dry foods is a sign of infestation. Once these bugs find their way into your kitchen, they can contaminate food sources, which you must discard, resulting in money and time wastage.

Sawtoothed grain beetles also create the right mold growth conditions in areas they infest. Ensure your pantry storage areas are well-ventilated to avoid moisture build-up. Wipe and dust pantry cabinets and the other regions to keep them clean. Instead of keeping dry foods in original packaging, store them in air-tight glass or plastic containers.

4. Rice weevils

Rice weevils contaminate various foods like rice, corn, and more. Look for rice weevil larvae or visible adults to determine if your pantry is infested. Discarding infested food items, doing detailed vacuuming and cleaning, and using the right pesticide can help eliminate rice weevils.


Pantry bugs can lead to food contamination and diseases. Familiarize yourself with the common pantry pests and how to eliminate them.

Share your experiences and tips for dealing with these common pantry pests in the Food Preservation forum.

Was this page helpful?