How To Get Rid Of And Prevent Kitchen Pantry Pests

Kitchen pantries are dark, room-temperature environments full of endless (well, to a bug) supplies of food. If you were an insect, you’d be in heaven. Certain species of pests gravitate more towards pantries than others. 

Once you know them, you can identify them in your kitchen and quickly eradicate them.

Fruit Flies

The fruit fly earned its name because of its preference for decaying vegetables and fruits. This microscopic insect loves other sources of sugar as well. They’re also great at hiding. 

Fruit flies can sneak into your egg cartons or your grocery bags, where they’ll get in your house and reproduce, making your life harder.

How To Prevent Fruit Flies In The Kitchen Pantry

To prevent fruit flies from infiltrating your pantry, make sure to store all fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator or sealed containers. Regularly clean up spills and crumbs, as these can attract fruit flies. Additionally, keep your trash cans tightly sealed and dispose of overripe fruits in a timely manner.
How To Get Rid Of Fruit Flies In The Kitchen Pantry

To get rid of fruit flies, start by eliminating their breeding grounds. Dispose of any overripe or rotting fruits, and clean out drains and garbage disposals. Create a simple trap using a container with apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap. 

Cover it with plastic wrap and poke small holes in the wrap. Fruit flies will be attracted to the vinegar and get trapped inside.


If the sight of a cockroach sends a shiver down your spine, then get to checking your pantries stat. Cockroaches will attach to boxes or bags or even crawl in through the drain or sewer. Then voila, they’re in your home, where they’ll hang around your wooden custom pantries.

How To Prevent Cockroaches In The Kitchen Pantry

Cockroaches thrive in damp and dark environments, so keep your pantry clean and dry. Regularly vacuum and mop the area around the pantry and ensure that all food items are stored in airtight containers. Fix any leaks and seal cracks and crevices where cockroaches might enter your home.
How To Get Rid Of Cockroaches In The Kitchen Pantry
For cockroach removal, use bait stations or traps designed for cockroaches. Apply insecticide or boric acid in cracks and crevices, but be cautious if you have pets or children. Keep the pantry and surrounding areas sanitized and dry to discourage their return.

Merchant Grain Beetles

Unlike the fruit fly, which does indeed enjoy fruit, the merchant grain beetle doesn’t care much for grains. They will, however, happily eat any chocolate, cookies, macaroni, cake mix, or cereal you happen to have stored in your pantry.

How To Prevent Merchant Grain Beetles In The Kitchen Pantry

Prevent merchant grain beetles by inspecting all incoming packaged food for signs of infestation. Store grains, cereals, and other susceptible items in airtight containers. Rotate your pantry items, using older items first to avoid giving the beetles a chance to multiply.
How To Get Rid Of Merchant Grain Beetles In The Kitchen Pantry
Remove any infested food immediately and thoroughly clean your pantry. Discard heavily infested items. Vacuum up any remaining beetles or larvae and consider using food-safe diatomaceous earth to deter future infestations.
how to organize a kitchen pantry

Flour Beetles

You may have never heard of a flour beetle, but you’ll want to familiarize yourself with it quickly. These beetles are very tiny, under five millimeters apiece. They have a brownish-red hue and love to eat pet food, cereal, and flour. 

Due to their size and color, it’s nearly impossible to detect them in anything but flour, especially if they start burrowing.

How To Prevent Flour Beetles In The Kitchen Pantry

Store flour and other grain products in tightly sealed containers and regularly check for signs of infestation. Keep your pantry clean and vacuum regularly to eliminate any spilled food particles.
How To Remove Flour Beetles In The Kitchen Pantry
If you find flour beetles in your pantry, discard any infested items. Thoroughly clean and vacuum the pantry, paying attention to cracks and crevices. Consider freezing flour and grains for a few days to kill off any potential eggs or larvae.

Grain Weevils

Wheat weevils, granary weevils, grain weevils, whatever you want to call them, they’re a nuisance. These pantry pests live for seeds, beans, and whole grains. They’ll burst through your plastic and paper packaging due to their lengthy noses.

How To Prevent Grain Weevils In The Kitchen Pantry

Prevent grain weevils by inspecting stored grains for signs of infestation before bringing them into your pantry. Store susceptible items in airtight containers and freeze grains for a few days to kill any potential larvae.
How To Get Rid Of Grain Weevils In The Kitchen Pantry
Discard infested products and clean your pantry thoroughly. Use vacuuming and targeted insecticides as necessary, focusing on cracks and corners where weevils might hide.

Indian Meal Moths

If you do have a problem with pantry pests, more than likely it’s the Indian meal moth’s fault. These insects don’t discriminate much about what they’ll eat. Their wide appetite encompasses processed foods, cereals, nuts, dried fruits, and grains.

How To Prevent Indian Meal Moths In The Kitchen Pantry

Use airtight containers for storing grains, cereals, and dried fruits. Regularly clean your pantry and inspect items for signs of Indian meal moth presence. Avoid mixing old and new products, as the moths can spread quickly.
How To Get Rid Of Indian Meal Moths In The Kitchen Pantry
Identify and discard infested items. Clean your pantry shelves, paying attention to corners and hidden spaces. Consider using pheromone traps to catch adult moths and halt their reproduction cycle.


Another common culprit in many a kitchen is the humble ant. Ants can get in through your windows and door seals, and they tend to bring a lot of their friends with them. 

Once that happens, more and more ants can accumulate, making them hard to get rid of without an exterminator.

How To Prevent Ants In The Kitchen Pantry

Keep your pantry and kitchen clean, wiping up spills and crumbs promptly. Seal all food in airtight containers, including sugary and sticky items. Seal any cracks or openings that ants might use to enter your home.
How To Get Rid Of Ants In The Kitchen Pantry
Locate and eliminate the ant trail’s source. Clean the pantry thoroughly, removing all traces of food that might attract ants. Use ant baits or non-toxic deterrents to prevent their return.
a messy kitchen pantry

How To Properly Maintain Your Kitchen Pantry Organization

You probably have the heebie-jeebies after reading about all those bugs, but it was necessary. Now, here are some expanded tips from the intro on how to get rid of these kitchen pantry critters for good.

Keep Your Pantries Clean

If you’re like most homeowners, you leave your custom pantries closed unless you’re using them, right? In the meantime, critters can get in there, reproduce, and cause quite a significant problem.

At least every few months, you want to open your pantries wide, take out everything in there, and clean the shelves from top to bottom.

Don’t just use soap and water when cleaning. Fruit flies, one common insect found in kitchen pantries, hate any cleaners with vinegar in them.

Before you put your food back in, inspect each item for tears and other signs of packaging damage. That’s one common sign of infestation for the pantry pests that can break through packaging.

Don’t Leave Open Food In Your Pantries

You’re always very cautious about which foods go in the pantry, but perhaps your spouse or kids aren’t. They leave open containers without clips, which is just inviting bugs to come in and invade your kitchen.

Make sure that anyone who opens food containers, packages, and bags have some means of sealing them back up. Clips work, as do twist ties.

Upgrade To Airtight Containers

What’s an even safer option is switching to glass, plastic, or metal containers with airtight lids. Remember, grain weevils can break your food packaging, so even if the top of the bag is clipped, if the weevil gets in through the bottom, then it doesn’t matter.

Labeling your foods or putting them in translucent jars and containers will allow you to easily identify everything in your pantry.

perfectly organized kitchen pantry

Clean Up Messes Right Away

This is an obvious tip, but it’s one worth mentioning anyway. If you or another member of the family happens to spill something (and hey, it happens), these messes cannot be left to sit.

Sure, the insect species on the list above will hide in your pantry, but they don’t have to live there exclusively. They’ll go wherever the food is. If that’s right on your kitchen counter, then hey, it’s a lot easier for the bug to eat than having to go all the way to the pantry.

Whether it’s a liquid mess (remember, fruit flies love sugar), crumbs, a few pieces of cereal, or some errant popcorn kernels, it’s got to go right away.

Use Bay Leaves

You can also try the bay leaf trick. Bay leaves are sizable leaves, with an aromatic flavor that makes them perfect for cooking garnishes. You can place a whole fresh leaf or add a few sprinkles of dried bay leaves to your custom pantry shelves.

If you use your pantries for storing grains especially, then add a package or two of bay leaves. Leave these packages open. Ants are especially averse to bay leaves, mostly because the smell is so strong to them.

kitchen pantry organization

FAQ: How To Get Rid Of And Prevent Kitchen Pantry Pests

Look for small insects, webbing in food packages, and holes in packaging. You might also notice tiny droppings or a musty smell.
Start by discarding infested items. Clean the pantry thoroughly with soap and water, and vacuum crevices to remove any remaining pests.
Pantry pests are often drawn to grains, cereals, flour, dried fruits, nuts, and spices. Make sure these items are stored properly.
Store food in airtight containers, keep the pantry clean and dry, and regularly check for signs of pests. Rotate food items to use older products first.
Yes, you can use bay leaves or cloves inside pantry shelves as natural repellents. Regularly cleaning and maintaining a dry pantry also helps prevent pests.


For those seeking a tailored solution to their kitchen pantry needs, look no further than Creative Closets. Our company specializes in designing and installing custom kitchen pantries that seamlessly integrate functionality and style.

If you’re tired of dealing with pests or simply want a pantry that maximizes your space, give us a call at (425) 428-5073 or send us a message.

Let our expert team create a kitchen pantry that not only meets your storage requirements but also adds a touch of elegance to your kitchen. Say goodbye to pests and hello to a beautifully organized pantry with Creative Closets.