Six most common bugs in your kitchen

Six most common bugs in your kitchen

Many types of bugs can become bothersome in your kitchen. Whether it’s a tiny black flying insect like a fruit fly or a drain fly that’s hovering around your face, or a pantry moth that has found its way into your pantry, you want them gone - and now. Here we will provide you with the needed information on kitchen bug identification and how to prevent and get rid of the six most common house insects in your kitchen. 

Identify the bug

Become the master of bug identification by observing the creature's distinct peculiarities. Note its size, its number of legs, its unique shape and whether or not it flaunts a pair of wings. These details will help unveil the nature of the intruder before you. 

What are the most common kitchen bugs? 

The six most common kitchen pests are ants, cockroaches, house flies, fruit flies, drain flies and pantry moths. These six insects have earned notoriety as the most common kitchen pests due to their adaptability, their attraction to food sources and their ability to thrive in indoor environments. 

1. Ants

Though ants are seemingly everywhere, certain ant species are common in kitchens due to their attraction to food sources and the availability of water and shelter.  These ants include the odorous house ant, the Argentine ant and the pharaoh ant. 

ant-species-in-your-pantry
  • Odorous house ants are attracted to a wide range of food sources, including sweets, meats and greasy foods, and commonly establish trails in kitchens.  
  • Argentine ants are attracted to sugary substances and can quickly infest kitchens, especially in warmer climates. They are known for forming large colonies.
  • Pharaoh ants are attracted to a variety of food sources, including sweets, proteins and fats and can establish nests in hard-to-reach areas of the kitchen. 

How to identify them: 

Odorous house ants are dark brown or black and emit a distinctive odor when crushed, whereas Argentine ants are small (2.2 to 2.8 mm) and light brown. Pharaoh ants, on the other hand, are very small (1.5 to 2 mm) and light yellow to reddish-brown in color. All types of ants boast six legs and multiple antennae. 

How to prevent them: 

Here are six prevention tips. 

  1. Keep your kitchen tidy: Clean up food crumbs, spills and sticky residues promptly and sweep and vacuum regularly. 
  2. Store food properly: Seal food in airtight containers, which will prevent ants from accessing potential food sources. 
  3. Wipe down surfaces: Our non-toxic spray, Six Feet Under, kills ants residually for up to 30 days. Use this where ant trails are likely to form (or where they have formed in the past), as it will help to remove the scent trails that ants use to navigate and communicate. 
  4. Seal entry points: Inspect your home for any gaps around windows, doors and utility openings. Seal these cracks and crevices using caulk or weather stripping. 
  5. Remove standing water: Fix any leaks or plumbing issues that create moist environments. Ensure proper drainage and address areas of excess moisture.
  6. Use Dust to Dust: Disperse our non-toxic insect powder around the foundation of your home and near any potential ant-entering points. Reapply as necessary, as heavy rainfall (outdoors) or constant foot traffic (indoors) can diminish the strength of the powder. 

Note: If you already have an ant infestation, fear not. If those little critters have invaded your property or home, take solace in the fact that with patience and determination, you can get rid of them. Dust to Dust (or diatomaceous earth) will become your most cherished allies in this endeavor. You can also repel ants using essential oils. Cinnamon oil, peppermint oil and clove oil can serve as your aromatic arsenal. 

2. Cockroaches

Cockroaches are resilient pests that can thrive in kitchen environments. Certain species of cockroaches are more commonly found in kitchen environments due to their preference for warm and humid areas, as well as their attraction to food sources. Two of these most common types are the German cockroach and the American cockroach. 

type-of-cockroaches
  • German cockroaches (Blattella germanica) are one of the most common species found in kitchens. They are attracted to food residues, grease and warmth and reproduce rapidly. 
  • American cockroaches (Periplaneta americana), while not exclusive to kitchens, are commonly found in areas with food sources. They prefer dark, damp environments and can enter homes through pipes and drains.

How to identify them: 

German cockroaches are small (12-15 mm) and light brown to tan in color, with two parallel dark stripes running lengthwise on the pronotum (the shield-like covering behind the head). American cockroaches are larger (38-50 mm), reddish-brown to dark brown, and have a yellowish figure-eight pattern on their pronotum. Both of these species have flattened, oval-shaped bodies and long antennae. 

How to prevent them: 

In addition to the recommendations for how to prevent ants, here are a few tips specific to cockroach prevention. 

  1. Dispose of trash properly: Use sealed trash cans and take out the garbage regularly to avoid creating a food source for cockroaches. Clean the trash cans periodically to remove any residue or odor that may attract them.
  2. Remove clutter: Reduce hiding places for cockroaches by decluttering your home. Keep storage areas organized and avoid excessive cardboard or paper accumulation.
  3. Do regular inspections: Conduct periodic inspections in potential cockroach hiding spots such as behind appliances, in cabinets and under sinks - and puff a thin line of Dust to Dust in these areas. 

Note: If you have a roach infestation on your hands, know how to get rid of them - and now. These filthy and unpredictable insects - the most hated pest in the United States - possess the uncanny ability to multiply with alarming speed. Should you find yourself specifically in the company of German or American cockroaches, allow me to share some expedient tips on how to get rid of them also. 

3. House flies 

house-flies

House flies (Musca domestica) are the most common type of fly encountered by humans, though there are several fly species, of the order Diptera, that you may find in and around your home.They are attracted to food sources and are known to infest areas where food is prepared or stored - your kitchen. House flies are especially drawn to moist or decaying organic matter.

They can enter kitchens through open doors, windows or small gaps in screens. Once inside, they will seek out sources of food such as uncovered food items, garbage or food spills. They can quickly multiply in numbers if suitable conditions are present. 

How to identify them:

House flies are best identified by their large, reddish-brown compound eyes that cover most of their head, relatively robust and compact body shape and movement - as house flies are agile fliers and move quickly and erratically.

How to prevent them: 

In addition to other pest-prevention tips already listed, here are an additional four fly-prevention tips

  1. Maintain good ventilation: Proper ventilation can help discourage flies from settling in the kitchen. Use exhaust fans when cooking or producing steam.
  2. Keep drains clean: Flies can breed in moist organic matter, including clogged or dirty drains. Clean drains regularly and use drain covers or traps to prevent flies from entering.
  3. Remove other fly attractants: Flies are attracted to odors, so it's important to keep the kitchen free from strong-smelling or rotting materials, including pet waste or dirty dishes.
  4. Use The Fly Inn: The Fly Inn features an open-top design with trap-and-hide inner walls to ensure you won’t see a pile of dead bugs. It is a non-toxic, all-natural, people-friendly, pet-friendly and plant-friendly flying insect solution. Attach one to your kitchen window. 

Note: Houseflies are insufferable creatures. If they have already made their presence known in your home, rid yourself of their incessant buzzing and unruly antics. Take action, my friend, to get rid of them now. Their presence can be quite unbearable. 

fruit-flies

4. Fruit flies 

Fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) are common kitchen pests. They are attracted to ripe or decaying fruits, vegetables and fermenting organic matter and can infest overripe fruits, unwashed produce or open containers of food. They can also breed (and lay eggs) in moist areas like sink drains, garbage disposals and mop buckets if there is organic matter present.

How to identify them: 

Fruit flies are small (3-4 mm), have a tan or brownish body color and distinctly large, red compound eyes. Their wings are transparent, with prominent veins. They are known for their characteristic flight patterns, which involve short, rapid movements. Driven by their attraction to the odors and fermenting substances produced by ripening or rotting materials, they frequently hover over food sources. 

How to prevent them: 

To prevent fruit flies, I offer three additional tips specific to fruit flies. 

  1. Store fruits and vegetables properly: Keep ripe or overripe produce in the refrigerator or consume it promptly. Dispose of spoiled fruits and vegetables in sealed bags or containers.
  2. Cover or refrigerate fermenting foods and beverages: Keep wine, beer, vinegar and other fermented products covered or stored in the refrigerator to prevent fruit flies from laying eggs on them. 
  3. Use Sweet Surrender: Sweet Surrender, powered by a handcrafted blend of vinegar, sucrose and citrus, is an easy, non-toxic way to attract, trap and kill the common fruit fly. You really can have your fruit and eat it too. 

Note: Sweet Surrender, a potent elixir, also serves as a reactive weapon. With one swift dose (and there are eight per bottle), you can quickly get rid of fruit flies. Halt that fruit fly infestation in its tracks and send those minuscule troublemakers - and all of their unborn larvae - into a blissful eternal slumber. 

5. Drain flies

drain-flies-gnats

If you have small black flying bugs in your house that are not fruit flies, they may be drain flies. Drain flies, also known as sewer flies, moth flies or drain gnats, can be common pests in kitchens, particularly in areas with moist conditions and organic debris buildup. They are often found near drains, sink pipes and other areas with standing water or decaying organic matter.

These flies lay their eggs in the organic matter that accumulates in drains, (such as grease, food particles or hair). The larvae then feed on the organic material present, developing in the moist environment, before emerging as adult flies.

How to identify them:

Drain flies are small (2-5 mm), have a fuzzy appearance - due to the fine hairs on their wings and body - and are typically gray or dark in color. They have long, delicate antennae. 

How to prevent them: 

To combat the nuisance of drain flies, allow me to present three additional targeted recommendations for prevention.

  1. Clean and maintain drains: Regularly clean sink drains, garbage disposals and floor drains to remove any buildup of organic matter where drain flies can breed.
  2. Cover drains: Install drain covers or screens on sink drains and floor drains to prevent drain flies from entering and laying eggs. 
  3. Dispose of food waste properly: Avoid allowing food scraps or debris to go down the drain. Use sink strainers or screens to catch food particles and empty them into the trash. 

Note: If you seek to remove these pests from the present-day, allow me to offer you a simple kill-drain-flies treatment. Directions: Mix together half a cup of salt, half a cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar. Pour this potent solution down the drain. Allow it to sit overnight, and then flush the drain with scorching hot water in the morning. This masterstroke should kill all flies, along with the organic material that fuels their existence. 

pantry-food-moths

6. Pantry moths 

The most prevalent pantry-loving pests are the Indian meal moths, although there are dozens more, including sawtoothed grain beetles, drugstore beetles, rice weevils, mealworms, flour beetles, cigarette beetles and warehouse beetles. 

Pantry moths are found in your dry food items, having initially found their way there at a factory or warehouse. Here, they will thrive and then branch out (to other food items) in your kitchen, whether this be to your spices, your half eaten (secretly hidden) bar of chocolate or that box of spaghetti noodles. 

How to identify them:  

Inspect the food. Look for wriggling larvae, webbing in tight places of a package or tiny holes in a food container. 

How to prevent them

These three tips are specific for pantry moth prevention. 

  • Store food well: Keep all of your dried goods in food containers with tight-fitting lids. If the food item arrived in a flimsy plastic container or a thin cardboard box, change this out for a glass container or a thick plastic container with a sealable lid. Therefore, if something is found to be alive (or hatching) in there, it won’t be able to get out and then contaminate other food items.
  • Freeze dry goods for 48-72 hours: Freezing dry goods - such as your oats, flours, grains, raw nuts, birdseed, pet food and corn-based cat litter - will kill any larvae that might be present in these foods, thus preventing an introduction of them to your pantry. 
  • Keep a pantry moth trap out at all times. Keeping a trap out to attract moths will alert you to a problem before it gets out of hand. Opened, our pantry moth traps are good for three months from the date of manufacture. Unopened, they are good for three years from the date of manufacture. Our pantry moth traps catch not only Indian meal moths (Tineola bisselliella), but also almond moths (Cadra cautella) and other food moths. 
Note: If you have this pantry bug, follow these steps to get rid of pantry moths and nip an infestation in the bud. Having several pantry moth traps out is key. Our pantry moth traps feature an advanced blue stripe formula - a synergy of double-potent moth pheromones and the stickiest glue that is proved to outperform all other pantry moth traps on the market. Don’t leave home (or be home) without one at-the-ready.

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