So, what are the tiny brown bugs in kitchen cabinets? Flour mites and pantry weevils are common tiny brown pests found in kitchen cabinets. They feed on dry foods in our cupboards and like dark, humid places with plenty of food. Do note that flour mites and weevils are two different pests. When you search for bugs in flour, you’ll find information about both, but they are not the same.
Differences Between Flour Mites and Pantry Weevil
Flour mites are tiny and hard to see, especially in flour. They have white bodies with light brown legs. There are various species of flour mites, also known as grain mites and kitchen mites, but they generally look similar. A flour mite’s size ranges from 0.33 to 0.66 mm in length.
Weevils look a lot like beetles because they are a type of beetle. They have the same oval shape. Weevils are bigger than flour mites and have darker bodies. The body of a flour weevil is dark brown, which makes them easier to see. They are also larger, measuring from 3 to 10mm in length, which is quite a bit bigger than flour mites. Weevils are famous for their snout-shaped nose, which makes them stand out from other insects.
Flour bugs, like many other pests such as bed bugs and fleas, are often brought into our homes unintentionally. This can happen when we buy things like cheap flour, wheat products, and grain starches. These items can lead to infestations of flour mites or flour weevils. Just a few of these bugs can lay many eggs, which are likely to hatch quickly, especially in warm conditions. Since we usually store these types of foods for a long time, the eggs have a good chance of surviving. The young pests that hatch from these eggs might even start laying their own eggs before you realize what’s happening.
How to Find Tiny Brown Bugs in Kitchen Cabinets
If you think your flour might have flour mites, there are a few ways to check.
First, take a little bit of flour and rub it between your fingers. If it smells like mint, that’s a sign you might have mites. Look for brown dust in the flour. It’s hard to see the mites themselves because they’re so small, but you might see their brown legs or bits of dead mites, which look like brown dust.
Another method is to spread some flour on your kitchen counter and smooth out the top layer. Leave it there for about half an hour. If the surface gets rough, it could mean you have flour weevils or mites.
You can also check your cupboards with sticky tape. Press it against the packaging of cereals, flour, and grains. Then, look at the tape with a magnifying glass. If there were mites on the packages, they’ll be stuck to the tape and you can see them more easily.
Usually, flour weevils are easier to spot than mites, so these methods are more for finding mites.
Tiny Brown Bugs In Kitchen Cabinets: What to Do
Dealing with tiny brown bugs in your kitchen cabinets is tricky because you can’t use pesticides where your food is stored. Unfortunately, you can’t just put carnivorous plants in there either. So, your best bet is to dispose of any food heavily infested by the bugs. Yes, this might mean saying goodbye to some of your favorite cereal, but it’s necessary to stop the bugs from spreading to other areas.
Once you’ve disposed of heavily infested food, do the following:
- Clean your cupboards thoroughly. Use warm, soapy water and pay special attention to the corners.
- You can also freeze flour and wheat products as soon as you bring them home. This kills any bugs and stops their eggs from hatching. It might seem like a lot of effort, especially if you’re only suspecting the presence of mites or weevils, but it’s an effective strategy.
- You also want to keep these pests away from your pantry. Store your food in clean, clear, well-sealed containers. Adding a few bay leaves around your stored food can also help, as they act as a natural repellent.
- Place a couple of leaves in each cupboard for extra protection.
- Use mini dehumidifiers in your storage areas. They not only keep your food fresh but also create an environment that pests don’t like.
Are They Harmful?
If tiny brown bugs get into our food in the kitchen cabinet, like flour weevils, they’re not really dangerous. Flour weevils don’t bite, sting, or have poison. So, if you accidentally eat some with your food, like cereal, it’s okay. You probably won’t even notice them.
Now, about flour mites, they’re a bit different. They also don’t bite, sting, or have poison, but they can spread fungus. This fungus can make your food taste moldy or even show visible mold. Eating moldy food can make some people sick. Usually, you can tell if food is moldy by looking at it or tasting it, so you wouldn’t eat much of it. But, if you are allergic to mites, eating them might cause skin problems, throat swelling, and trouble breathing. If that happens, it’s important to get medical help. But remember, this kind of thing doesn’t happen often.
Read also: Weevils in Bathroom – What to Do!