Your kitchen is the hive for many pantry pests in different colors and shapes.
And one of the pantry pests that infest kitchen pantry and the stored food are the bugs that brown.
These are the most common pantry pests that can soon turn into a nuisance if you don’t get rid of them.
This guide will reveal seven tiny brown bugs in the kitchen and kitchen pantry that sneaks inside your kitchen and inside the food storage jars.
You’ll find out where these little brown bugs come from, the risks they bring, and the best ways to eliminate them from your kitchen.
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 seven tiny brown bugs in the kitchen that can destroy your stored food –
- Foreign Grain Beetles
- Rice Weevils
- Flour Beetles
- Drugstore Beetles
- Rice Moths
- Grain Mites
- Psocids Mites
Let’s get into each of these tiny brown bugs and find out what they look like, their sources, and how to eliminate them from your stored food and kitchen pantry.
Foreign Grain Beetles In Stored Grains
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 In Stored Rice
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 In Grains And Flour
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 In Stored Foods In Kitchen Pantry
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 Or Indianmeal Moths In Kitchen Pantry
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.
Grain Mites – Tiny Brown Mites In Kitchen
Grain mites are tiny brown mites that infest stored grains, flour, cereals, and even baked goods.
These bugs are microscopic and they’re impossible to spot when their numbers are low. Grain mites are one of the most common mites in the kitchen that target stored food.
Grain mites, growing only up to 0.017 inches, have eight legs and look like a tiny humped bug under microscope.
Their source is the grocery store from where you buy your packaged food and grain bags.
Grain mites are already present in grocery stores and gain bags and when you buy them, you bring grain mites home.
Initially, you might not even know that your stored grains have grain mites.
They start to show the signs of their presence when their numbers increase. Grain mites spill over from the stored food jars and start to appear as thin layer of dust on the kitchen and pantry shelves.
Their numbers quickly increase if there’s a moisture problem in your kitchen and home.
The moisture spreads to the stored grains. That leads to the formation of molds on the grains which attract grain mites and psocids mites too.
Grain mites are harmless. And you can consume the food they infest.
You don’t need to throw away the grains or stored dry foods they infest. To eliminate grain mites from the stored grains, put the grains inside the freezer for a couple of hours.
And then wash the grain in hot water.
The cold temperature inside the freezer kills the grain mites. And washing the grains in hot water will wash off the dead grain mites form the grains.
You can use this technique to remove bugs and their larvae from grains like wheat, corn, and rice.
But extended presence of grain mites can damage to flour of all types. Also known as the flour mites, grain mites will appear as a thin brown layer on the white flour and the flour will also emit a minty smell.
Grain mites presence in the flour for long can make the flour stale. And the stench from the flour can make you even discard the flour.
Psocids Mites Or Booklice
Psocids mites, also known as booklice, are tiny brown bugs that feed on the molds that form on the food grains and on the damp surfaces.
Booklice are oval and their brown color makes many people to trick into thinking that they’re either baby roaches or bed bugs.
These are not typically mites or lice. Booklice are harmless nuisance bugs that enter homes from the outdoors when the weather becomes too hot or dry.
They’re not microscopic like the grain mites. Growing anywhere between 0.5 mm – 5 mm in size, it’s easy to detect the psocids mites even when their numbers are low.
These are moisture bugs that needs damp places to live.
Excessive moisture in kitchen leads to formation of molds. That attracts the booklice, and mold mites too, to your kitchen.
The moisture spreads to the food grains and that causes molds on the grains.
Booklice in kitchen will primarily target those food grains that has developed moisture.
They’ll sneak inside the food storage jars through the cracks and openings on them. Psocids mites will also lay eggs on the stored grains in addition to feeding on the molds of the food grains.
But the best part is that booklice are harmless bugs. And their presence in the food grains doesn’t contaminate the food.
Wash the food grains with hot water to eliminate any booklice in the grains.
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.
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
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 seven tiny brown bugs in the kitchen that are a threat to your stored food –
- Foreign Grain Beetles
- Rice Weevils
- Flour Beetles
- Drugstore Beetles
- Rice Moths
- Grain Mites
- Psocids mites
These bugs target stored food in your kitchen and their sources can be the food packets that you buy from the grocery stores or the outdoors.
However, these bugs don’t pose any serious health risks. And getting rid of them is easy and you can do it by following the seven steps laid out in this post.
We’re Mark and Jim, and we’re retired pest controllers who made homes pest-free for more than three decades. We, along with our team of experts, founded this site to give you the pest control hacks that work.