3 Different Kitchen Pests and How to Avoid Them

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Mon, Feb 25, 2019 @ 11:50 AM


The kitchen is a common place for people to find pests, especially cockroaches, mice, and pantry moths. Knowing where these pests come from, what they eat, and how you can get rid of them can help you take care of your home. Here's what you need to know about kitchen pests.

1. Cockroaches

Cockroaches are a common problem in urban areas and apartments. Cockroaches are generally associated with poor sanitation, but if you live in an apartment building with many people and several units, any of your neighbors could be the source of the infestation. This can make eliminating cockroaches very challenging.

What Do Cockroaches Eat?

Cockroaches eat food scraps, greasy foods, starches, and garbage. In the absence of human food, cockroaches will eat any decaying matter including trash, cardboard, paper, and hair.

How Can You Get Rid of Cockroaches?

A common saying is that for every cockroach you see, there are ten you don't see. If you see cockroaches in your kitchen, this means many others are in corners, under appliances, in cabinets, and in hidden parts of your home. To get rid of all of your cockroaches, you'll need to use a combination of bait, poison, and environmental controls.

For example, keep your kitchen clean. Use multi-purpose cleaner on all surfaces, including the counters, floors, and in the sink. Clean every night after dinner. Take out the trash nightly, and do not leave dishes in the sink.

Hire a professional to use poisons or baits as necessary. Your pest control professional can decide which poisons or baits are most appropriate given the number and type of cockroaches that you see in your home.

How Can You Prevent Cockroaches?

The best way to prevent cockroaches is to keep your kitchen clean with the methods described above. Also, use caulk or steel wool to seal your home and prevent cockroaches from entering through cracks. Your pest control person can help you identify some places where cockroaches could enter your home.

2. Mice

Like cockroaches, mice are attracted to places where people live because they like to scavenge on the food that people leave. Mice often live outdoors until winter and enter the home when the weather turns cold outside.

What Do Mice Eat?

Mice eat just about anything they can reach. They're excellent chewers that can easily eat holes through cardboard boxes and bags to reach foods like cereal, crackers, and bread. Mice are likely to eat any dry food. They're also attracted to water leaks because they need the moisture to drink.

How Can You Get Rid of Mice?

Poisons and glue traps tend to be the easiest way to get rid of mice. They do not respond to spray. A good pest control person can help you with this since they'll be trained to place poisons and glue traps in the most strategic areas.

Use environmental controls to make your home less hospitable for mice. Pack up your dry foods in hard containers like plastic tubs or jars, because this makes finding food difficult for mice. Fix any leaks in your home, or work with your landlord to have them repair leaks.

How Can You Prevent Mice?

You can prevent mice in the same way you prevent roaches: by keeping your home clean and food inaccessible. Keep food garbage in a trash can with a lid that closes tightly. Store all food in plastic tubs with lids that close.

3. Pantry Moths

Pantry moths commonly enter the home through food packages. Once they're in the kitchen, they can be very hard to eliminate. Infestations may start small, but over time, these pests can take over your kitchen.

What Do Pantry Moths Eat?

Pantry moths eat grains, nuts, candy, oats, rice, and flour. You'll find them living in close quarters with these foods. In fact, pantry moths will live in jars, bags, boxes, and other containers that contain these foods. You'll be able to identify them in your foods by their webs and larvae.

How Can You Get Rid of Pantry Moths?

To get rid of pantry moths, you'll have to get rid of all infected food sources (check all of your boxes and bags). Then, work with your pest control person to take further action. Your pest control person may need to spray your kitchen, but before this can be done, you'll have to clear out your shelves of dishes and foods.

How Can You Prevent Pantry Moths?

You can prevent pantry moths by inspecting all foods before storing them in your home and throwing away infected foods. You can also prevent pantry moths by freezing foods like grains and cereals before storing them in your cabinets; this kills all larvae.

Contact Us With Questions

If you have more questions about kitchen pests and how you can prevent them, contact an expert. At Greenleaf Organic Pest Control Management, Inc., we're happy to help. Call today!

Tags: cockroaches, mice, Moths

Kitchen Moth Infestations in Los Angeles, CA

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Tue, Aug 28, 2012 @ 08:13 AM


So you wake up rushing to get the kids ready for school and you grab the first box of cereal you can find and start to pour out a bowl full of....Moths?


 Kitchen moth infestation unfortunately is a common problem and infest flour, cereals, cracked grains, baking mixes and processed foods, crackers, macaroni, cured meats, powdered milk, dried fruits, nuts, popcorn and spices. Also decretive canister lids, refrigerator magnets that have been made from baked dough. Bird seed, dried flowers and pet food can also be a source of infestation. The Indian Meal Moth is probably the most common moth we see, but there is a list of other Pantry pest that will hatch from our food.

  • spider beetles
  • cigarette and drugstore beetles
  • flour beetles
  • granary, rice and maize weevils
  • bean weevils
  • sawtooth grain beetles
  • dermestid beetles  

These pests, for the most part have a complete life cycle, egg, larva, pupa, adult and can all be found at the same time in a food product.  Humidity and temperature typically is the trigger mechanism that sets off the infestation. These pest don't have to come from an open container, they can start from a brand new box of food and chew their way out as a worm (larva). The product itself takes on a different look, which may have lots of webs, cast skin and live and dead stages of insects. 

Meal Moth Larva resized 600

It's important to find the source of the infestation.  It may be spillage behind or underneath a drawer and old package of spice or a bag of bird seed.  Don't stop when you find a product that looks like it is the source. Food pest can be triggered by temperature and humidity, so the chance of just one grain product being the single culprit is highly unlikely. 

Your vacuum is a great tool in removing life stages and spilled food sources that may be in the cracks and crevices of your pantry shelves.  Sanitation is the key method of eliminating a pantry pest infestation.  Pheromone traps are available, but not really good for control, but serves as a way to monitor your efforts and to identify which pest(s) you are dealing with.  These traps are species specific, having an infestation properly identified will aid in the control program.  


  1. When shopping for items that can be an issue it is best to purchase smaller sizes that can be used up quickly. Rotate your food, using up older purchased items first.
  2. Inspect the packaging for damage and seals are intact.
  3. Keep storage areas clean from spillage
  4. When at all possible keep bulk items in sealed pest proof containers. This will aid in isolating infestations if they start.

Remember, sanitation is the method of control. Pesticides and/or pheromone traps are not used to control these pests.  Washing shelves with detergent, bleach, ammonia or disinfectants also doesn't control these pests since eggs are layed in a suitable food product. Your vacuum is the best tool and method for control.  If insects keep appearing, it is likely you have missed something that was overlooked.  If the problem persists, contact a professional pest control company.

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Tags: pantry pest, Moths, food pest