How to Get Rid of Pantry Bugs

March 15, 2024 Kira Gavalakis

These tiny invaders in your pantry can quickly turn your well-stocked food supply into a disaster zone, leaving you wondering how to get rid of pantry bugs for good!

It’s crucial to address the issue promptly, not only to protect your food supply but also to maintain a clean and healthy kitchen environment.

Common pantry bugs include weevils, Indian meal moths, and flour beetles. These pests are attracted to a variety of dry goods, such as grains, flour, and cereals, and can quickly multiply if left unchecked. The presence of pantry bugs can lead to food contamination, waste, and even health issues if ingested.

Let’s learn not only how to get rid of pantry bugs, but how to prevent future infestations.

How to Get Rid of Pantry Bugs

1. Throw Away Infested Foods

The first step in dealing with pantry bugs is to inspect all of your pantry items for signs of infestation. Look for any evidence of webs, larvae, or adult bugs in your food packages. It’s important to be thorough, as even a small infestation can quickly spread.

If you find any contaminated food, it’s crucial to dispose of it immediately. Place the infested items in a sealed bag before throwing them away to prevent the bugs from escaping and infesting other areas of your pantry or home. This will help contain the problem and prevent it from worsening.

how to get rid of pantry bugs


After discarding the infested food, it’s essential to clean the area where it was stored. Remove all items from the shelf, vacuum any crumbs or debris, and wipe down the surfaces with a mixture of warm water and vinegar. This will help eliminate any remaining eggs or larvae and prevent future infestations. By taking these proactive steps, you can keep your pantry clean and bug-free.

2. Keep Your Pantry Clean

Maintaining a clean pantry is crucial in preventing bug infestations. Regular cleaning not only keeps your pantry looking neat but also eliminates potential hiding spots and food sources for pests. Make it a habit to wipe down shelves and vacuum crevices every few weeks to help remove any crumbs or residue that might attract bugs.

Spills and crumbs are like a dinner invitation for pantry bugs! To avoid attracting unwanted guests, clean up any spills immediately and ensure that crumbs are swept up regularly. A clean pantry is less appealing to pests and can significantly reduce the risk of infestation.

Another key aspect of how to get rid of pantry bugs is through managing your food inventory. Regularly check expiration dates and rotate pantry items to ensure that older products are used first. This practice not only helps in maintaining freshness but also reduces the chances of bugs settling into forgotten or expired food items. By staying organized and vigilant, you can keep your pantry in top condition and bug-free.

image of a messy cluttered pantry

3. Store Food in Airtight Containers

One of the most effective ways to prevent pantry bugs is by storing your food in airtight containers. Bugs can easily infiltrate paper or cardboard packaging, but airtight containers provide a barrier that keeps pests out and prevents them from laying eggs in your food.

Opt for glass or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids for storing grains, flour, cereals, and other pantry staples. These materials are durable and provide a clear view of the contents, making it easier to monitor for any signs of infestation.

Labeling your containers with dates is also a great practice to have. It helps you keep track of when the food was stored and ensures that you use the oldest items first. This not only helps in maintaining freshness but also reduces the likelihood of bugs finding a long-term home in your pantry. By implementing these storage strategies, you can create a fortress against pantry pests and keep your food safe and fresh.

4. Use Natural Repellents

If you’re specifically looking for how to get rid of pantry bugs naturally, you’re in luck. Many pests dislike the scent of certain herbs and oils, making them excellent, non-toxic options for keeping your pantry bug-free.

Bay leaves are a popular choice for repelling pantry pests like weevils and moths. Place a few bay leaves on your shelves or in your containers of rice, flour, and other dry goods. The scent of the bay leaves will help keep bugs at bay.

image of pantry items neatly in a wooden shelf in pantry

Lavender and peppermint oil are also known for their bug-repelling properties. You can use cotton balls soaked in these oils or small sachets of dried lavender to ward off pests. Place them in corners, near doorways, or in areas where you’ve noticed bug activity.

It’s also important to refresh your natural repellents regularly to ensure they remain effective. Replace bay leaves every few months and reapply oils or replace sachets as their scent fades. By incorporating these natural repellents into your pantry maintenance routine, you’re so much closer to knowing how to get rid of bugs in food pantry— without any harsh chemicals.

Frequently Asked Questions: How to Get Rid of Bugs in Pantry

Dealing with pantry bugs can raise many questions and concerns. Whether you’re experiencing an infestation for the first time or looking for preventive measures, it’s helpful to have some common queries addressed. In the following sections, we’ll explore some frequently asked questions about pantry bugs, providing you with the knowledge and tools to keep your pantry pest-free.

What Are the Most Common Types of Pantry Bugs?

Pantry bugs come in various shapes and sizes, but some of the most common culprits include:

  • Weevils: Small, dark beetles that are often found in grains, rice, and flour. You can identify them by their elongated snouts.
  • Indian meal moths: These pests are known for their distinctive reddish-brown coloring and the web-like material they leave behind in infested food.
  • Flour beetles: These are tiny, reddish-brown beetles that thrive in flour, cereals, and baking mixes. They are often found in large numbers.

To identify common pantry bugs, look for both physical characteristics and the type of food they infest. Weevils, for example, are often found inside grains, while moths might leave behind webbing in nuts or dried fruits.

image of pantry items out on a table


How Can I Prevent Pantry Bugs from Returning?

Preventing pantry bugs from returning involves a combination of vigilance and good pantry management:

  • Regular cleaning: Keep your pantry shelves clean and free from crumbs or spills. Vacuuming and wiping down surfaces regularly can prevent bugs from finding food sources.
  • Proper food storage: Store food in airtight containers to prevent bugs from accessing and infesting your pantry items.
  • Periodic inspections: Regularly check your pantry items and container seals for any signs of infestation. Early detection can prevent a small problem from becoming a full-blown infestation.

Are There Any Chemical-Free Ways to Eliminate Pantry Bugs?

Yes, there are several chemical-free methods to eliminate pantry bugs:

Place infested food items in the freezer for at least 48 hours. The cold temperature will kill any bugs and their eggs. Diatomaceous earth is also a natural, non-toxic powder that can be sprinkled around pantry shelves and in areas where bugs are likely to enter. It works by dehydrating and killing the bugs upon contact.

And as mentioned, placing bay leaves in your pantry can be a natural repellent for many types of pantry bugs.

Keep Your Pantry Organized (and Pest-Free!) with Closet World

If you want to know how to get rid of tiny pantry bugs more than anything? Having a pantry organizational system you can count on. Closet World offers custom pantry solutions to help you achieve a clean and well-organized space. Explore our custom shelving, pull-out drawers and baskets, and professional design assistant services so we can help you have a clean, pest-free kitchen.

Schedule a free in-home consultation today!