How to kill kitchen bugs

Updated February 21, 2017

Also known as pantry pests or cupboard pests, kitchen bugs feed on the food you store in your home. The biggest pest problem in the kitchen, according to the University of Nebraska-Lancaster, is cockroaches. Other kitchen bugs include flour beetles, drugstore beetles, booklice, Indian meal moths, rice weevils and Mediterranean flour moths. The tiny size of kitchen bugs makes them difficult to notice until they build up a large population. You can use several methods to kill kitchen bugs.

Vacuum any kitchen bugs you find in the cupboards and around appliances. This reduces the pest populations without introducing chemicals to your kitchen. Also vacuum spills and crumbs to eliminate the kitchen bugs' sources of food. Take the vacuum cleaner bag outside and discard the contents right away.

Place sticky traps in tight spaces where you suspect the kitchen bugs are. When the sticky traps are full, replace them with new ones. This allows you to find the hiding places of kitchen bugs, and over time will show you how well your control methods are working. If you catch fewer and fewer bugs, that means that you are succeeding in reducing the population.

Place pheromone traps in areas in your kitchen where you have seen Indian meal moths. Female Indian meal moths release pheromones when they want to mate, and the traps emit similar pheromones to catch male Indian meal moths. This reduces the number of Indian meal moths and helps you determine the location of the infestation.

Place insect baits in areas where your sticky traps catch kitchen bugs because they are likely to be in the area often. For cockroaches, use baits that contain fipronil, hydamethylnon, boric acid or abamectin. These baits come in gel form or in small containers. The University of Nebraska-Lancaster recommends using gel baits for cockroaches.

Apply boric acid dust to areas under appliances and in wall voids. When the bugs walk over the dust, it sticks to their bodies and eventually become ingested, poisoning them. You can also use silica dioxide or diatomaceous earth dust in wall voids. These kill kitchen bugs by wearing down their waxy cuticles and drying them out.

Place any small electronic appliances and foods that are infested by kitchen bugs into plastic bags. Seal the bags and place them in the freezer at a temperature of zero degrees Fahrenheit or lower for four to seven days to kill the kitchen bugs. Most kitchen bugs originate from the tropics and can't withstand freezing temperatures.

Heat the oven to 60 degrees Celsius and place any infested foods you can't freeze inside the oven for 30 minutes to one hour to kill any kitchen bugs inside.


To prevent a kitchen bug infestation from growing, place flour, grains and spices in glass or metal containers that bugs can't enter so they can't move from one food container to another. Place any new grain products you buy in the freezer for four to five days to kill any insect eggs and prevent infestations.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Sticky traps
  • Pheromone traps
  • Insect baits
  • Insecticidal dusts
  • Plastic bags
  • Freezer
  • Oven
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About the Author

Edriaan Koening began writing professionally in 2005, while studying toward her Bachelor of Arts in media and communications at the University of Melbourne. She has since written for several magazines and websites. Koening also holds a Master of Commerce in funds management and accounting from the University of New South Wales.