What Bugs Live in a Refrigerator?

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The last thing you want to see when you open your refrigerator door is a cluster of bugs run or fly out. Sadly, it's possible to bring bugs into your home through a variety of means, and those bugs may end up in your refrigerator and inside your food.

Once you identify the bugs and how they got into your house, you can start the process of removing them.

How it Happened

Believe it, or not, whenever you bring food into your home, you risk bringing in bugs as well. Certain types of bugs, including roaches, live off dried food. If your local grocery store has a roach problem, the roaches might live inside bags of rice, cereal or even potatoes. When you transfer those foods to the refrigerator, the bugs escape and begin living off other food in the surrounding area. Bugs will also live inside bags of dried pet food. Overripe fruits and vegetables will attract other types of bugs, including flies and gnats. You may not realise you have a problem, until you open the refrigerator and see the bugs inside.

Bug Types

The cold interior of your refrigerator remains perfectly chilled at all times, which should protect you because many bugs avoid colder climates. You may still have a problem with flying bugs, such as fruit flies, flies and gnats. Walking bugs like roaches will also live inside the refrigerator. If you rent your home, then the problem might have existed for longer than you think. The bugs may have climbed inside when the refrigerator was turned off and stayed after it was used again.


Never eat any food that bugs have touched, as they carry bacteria that is potentially harmful. If you use any type of bug spray or chemicals to eradicate the problem, throw away all of the food inside. Even a small amount of spray can reach uncovered foods, rendering it inedible.

Eliminating the Problem

After finding bugs in your refrigerator, fully clean everything inside. Remove all of the food and put it into two separate piles. Throw away anything that was uncovered or only loosely covered and only save foods that were in airtight or tightly sealed containers. Wipe down the shelves, drawers and door with distilled white vinegar, lemon juice or a chemical spray. If using a chemical spray, rinse everything with fresh water before use.