5 Tiny Brown Bugs In The Kitchen That Destroy Your Food

Your kitchen is one of the center points for pests in your home.

There hides a wide range of pests. From roaches to ants, your kitchen can harbor them all.

But do you know that some tiny brown bugs in the kitchen prefer to hide only in the kitchen?

These bugs fall into the category of pantry pests. They go by different names like food bugs or kitchen bugs.

The majority of food bugs or pantry pests are black and brown. 

In this guide, you’ll find out those tiny brown bugs in the kitchen.

You’ll also learn how to stop them and get rid of these brown bugs.

Keep reading.

Tiny Brown Bugs In Kitchen Destroying Your Food

Before we name these bugs, let’s find out why and how these bugs enter your home.

Once you know that, you’d be a step ahead of these bugs. You’ll be able to get rid of them by addressing the root cause.

These little brown bugs sneak inside your kitchen for two purposes.

The first is they want to eat your food. Well, to be more precise, to eat and to spoil your food. 

The second is they want to lay their eggs on your food. It’s because when the eggs hatch, the larvae will be on the food source.

That would ensure that the larvae will have an endless supply of food. It facilitates the larvae to turn into an adult and to breed again.

So, now that you know the why let’s identify what these bugs are.

Here are the five tiny brown bugs in the kitchen that can destroy your stored food –

  1. Foreign Grain Beetles
  2. Rice Weevils
  3. Flour Beetles
  4. Drugstore Beetles
  5. Rice Moths

Identifying The Tiny Brown Bugs In Kitchen

Now you know the names of these kitchen bugs.

But how to identify them? And what do they look like?

And where in your kitchen would you find them?

Let’s find it out.

Foreign Grain Beetles

Tiny brown bugs in the kitchen Foreign Grain Beetles

Out of the five little bugs in the kitchen, the foreign grain beetle is unique.

It’s because it eats not only your stored food but also molds and fungi.

So, apart from your kitchen, foreign grain beetles can also hide in damp places, like the bathroom and basement, where there are molds.

One-tenth of an inch long, tan to dark brown, with four legs and a pair of antennae, food grain beetles can spread fast in your home.

From hatching out of the eggs to turning into an adult, food grain beetles take only 30 days.

Foreign grain beetles can fly. And artificial light attracts them. 

So, during evenings, these beetles can fly into your home through open doors and windows.

In your kitchen, foreign grain beetles eat flour, dates, figs, biscuits, nuts, and cookies.

Rice Weevils

Rice Weevil
Rice Weevil

The second on the list of tiny brown bugs in the kitchen is the rice weevil.

Rice weevils are tiny, and they can grow up to only one-eighth of an inch. 

Predominantly brown, a few rice weevils are also black. 

The shape of the rice weevil is pretty similar to the beetles.

The distinctive features of rice weevil are black spots on its thorax and abdomen. 

It also has a tubular projection from its head with a pair of small antennae at the base.

Rice weevils can fly, and artificial light attracts them too.

Rice weevils eat and contaminate all types of grains like rice, wheat, corn, beans, cereals, and even fruits.

They’ve strong enough jaws to break through thin plastic food storing jars, plastic, and food packets.

Flour Beetles

Flour Beetle

Flour beetles are the most widespread kitchen bugs.

The reason is that flour beetles are pretty common in grocery stores and grain storage facilities. 

So, if you buy any packaged grain from a grocery store, there can either be an adult flour beetle or a larva of flour beetle inside it.

Flour beetles are tiny. They grow up to only 3/16 of an inch. 

They come in two colors – red and brown. It’s the antennae that differentiate the red flour beetle from the brown. 

But flour beetles are so tiny that it’s hard to figure out the difference with a naked eye.

Flour beetles are flat-bodied and oval. It makes them slip through tiny cracks and gaps.

Flour beetles infest flour, dried beans, peas, spices like peppers, nuts, chocolate, and some medicines.

The interesting fact about flour beetles is that they can’t feed on fresh grains or food. You can consider them as scavenger pantry pests.

So, if there’s a flour beetle in your food pantry or food storage containers, then the food is already spoiled.

They cause further damage to stored food by discharging their feces, stinking secretions, and by their larvae.

Flour beetles can live up to a year. During the lifespan, a female flour beetle can lay 1000 eggs.

The larvae of flour beetles take a month to turn into an adult.

Adult flour beetles can fly, and light attracts them as well. 

Given their ability to fly and breed fast, these beetles can spread quickly from one home to another.

Drugstore Beetles

Drugstore beetle

Drugstore beetles are common in homes in warm climates. 

They look very similar to cigarette beetles. Cigarette beetles are a grave threat to tobacco products.

Drugstore beetles grow up to one-seventh of an inch long, reddish-brown to brown, and they’ve bristles of hair on their wings.

Their head is bent a bit downwards, so it’s hard to see their mouth from above.

On top of invading home pantries and kitchens, the drugstore beetles also invade food processing facilities, restaurants, and grocery stores.

Like the flour beetle, you introduce drug store beetle inside your home by bringing in food packets already infested by them.

Light also attracts these beetles, and they fly in through open spaces.

The lifespan of drugstore beetles is between two and seven months.

In this period, the female drugstore beetle can lay up to 75 eggs.

The development of larvae of drugstore beetles is dependent on the temperature and the availability of the food source. 

Low temperatures and lack of food hinder the larvae’s development, and eventually, they die.

Drugstore beetles attack and eats a wide variety of products, including stored food.

There is a saying that these beetles anything but cast iron.

They got their name from their vast appetite to eat all types of prescription drugs.

Apart from that, drug store beetle can eat flour, dry fruits, bread, cookies, spices, wool, hair, and leather.

Drugstore beetles can also bore into books, wooden material, and even tin and aluminum foils. 

There are also incidences of drugstore beetles boring into lead sheets.

Rice Moths

How To Get Rid Of Rice Moth

Rice moths are zig-zag flying moths that you’d come across in your kitchen often.

The adult ones grow up to 0.4 inches, and they’ve wings. Their wingspan is half an inch.

Rice moths are not typically brown. Their wing is gray. The back is reddish and coppery that gives them a brown appearance. 

They enter your home through open doors and windows. 

But rice moths lay their eggs in stored food in grocery stores and food packaging facilities. 

So, their larvae are already there in the packaged grains that you’re bringing into your home. 

The most unusual sign of rice moths in your kitchen is pinkish white larvae of these moths crawling on your kitchen countertops.

It happens when the larvae drop off from the food packets while you’re opening them.

The lifespan of adult rice moths is between 33 and 52 days. During this period, rice moths can lay 400 eggs. 

These eggs can hatch within a week. It takes the larvae 2-3 months to turn into pupae.

Pupae is the cocoon stage. They remain in the cocoon till they turn into adults.

And the moment they’re out of their cocoon, they’re ready to breed and lay eggs.

It’s during the larvae stage that rice moths cause most of the contamination of food.

Rice moths lay eggs on all types of grains and cereals. 

They can also break through thin and weak layers of food storage containers.

Food contaminated by rice moths will develop molds. You’ll also find white droppings on the grains, which are their feces.

Tiny Bugs In Kitchen Countertops

Most of the time, the tiny bugs in kitchen countertops are the larvae of the pantry pests.

You’d also find some black flies inside your kitchen, on the kitchen countertop, and even in the kitchen sink.

These flies are houseflies and drain flies. 

There can be fungus gnats, too, if there are many indoor plants in your home.

How To Get Rid Of Tiny Brown Bugs In Kitchen In 7 Steps?

In this section, you’d find some easy ways to get rid of tiny brown bugs in your kitchen.

These steps work not just for the beetles and the moths that you found out.

They’re effective in keeping your kitchen free from all types of pantry pests, no matter what color they’re.

To get rid of pantry pests, we don’t recommend using any pesticides. 

But you’d need a reliable insecticide spray if you come across invasive pests like roaches and ants.

So, here are the steps to get rid of bugs in your kitchen.

Step #1 – Clean Your Kitchen, Thoroughly.

All these pantry beetles and moths thrive in dirty conditions.

Your food pantry always has grains and cereals scattered around. 

Start with vacuuming your kitchen. 

Don’t overlook tight corners and spaces. Don’t miss out on the kitchen cabinets. 

Also, ensure that you clean the kitchen drawers too. 

If you see any food stains on kitchen countertops, ovens, and stoves, eliminate them using a disinfectant. 

Step #2 – Install Window Screens

As you know by now, many of these beetles and moths are attracted to light.

They fly into your home and kitchen. 

To prevent them from flying into your home, install window screens with fine mesh. 

Step #3 – Seal Any Gaps And Cracks

Beetles, especially flour beetles, have flat bodies that make them easily crawl through the thinnest of gaps.

So, caulk any gaps and cracks on your kitchen’s walls. 

If there are crevices on your kitchen’s doors and windows, seal them too.

Always use silicone-based sealants to seal the cracks.

Many of these kitchen bugs have strong jaws, and they can easily chew through weak sealants.

But silicone-based sealants are strong, and they can’t break them. 

Silicone-based sealants can easily last for at least two decades.

Step #4 – Clean The Drains and Fix Water Leakages.

Humidity and dampness in the kitchen are the prime attractors of all kinds of bugs and pests.

Leaking pipes and clogged drains increase dampness.

Clogged drains are also a breeding ground for drain flies and sewer roaches. 

So, check the plumbing areas underneath the kitchen sinks.

If there’s any leakage, then fix the leakage. 

To unclog the drains, use a drain cleaner or pour bleach in the drains.

But keep in mind that bleach is corrosive. Overusing bleach can damage the drains.

Step #5 – Discard Contaminated Food 

How to get rid of tiny brown bugs in the kitchen

Check for signs of contamination in your food. 

If you see any molds, feces, molted skin, adult food bugs crawling on the grains, and chewed grains, dispose of them.

Keeping them around will only attract more pantry pests. 

Step #6 – Check The Grocery That You Bring In For Food Bugs

It should have been the first step.

Before you store your grocery in your food pantry, check every item for any larvae of these bugs.

Chances are there must be, especially if you buy them from big grocery and departmental stores.

If you find any signs of infestation, return them to the seller. 

Step #7 – Store Your Food In Strong And Thick Food Storage Jars

Many of the bugs you found out have strong jaws that can chew through thin plastic and paper boxes.

So, it’s always a wise choice to keep your food in strong and airtight jars.


Here are the five tiny brown bugs in the kitchen that are a threat to your stored food –

  1. Foreign Grain Beetles
  2. Rice Weevils
  3. Flour Beetles
  4. Drugstore Beetles
  5. Rice Moths

All these brown bugs enter your home through open doors and windows, tiny gaps and cracks in your home, and through the packaged food and grains you buy.

In this post, you learned how to identify them and get rid of them naturally, without using any pesticide or hiring a pest controller.

Another common pantry pest in kitchen that damages grains are booklice. Read the post booklice in rice to know more.