Tiny black bugs in kitchen cupboards – What To Do Next

The idea of bugs coexisting with your food, plates, or cups is appalling. Yet, you can open a cabinet, and there they are. Even tiny black bugs in kitchen cupboards can give you the willies. 

Bug experts all tout the basic same plan of what you should do next. Finding them is just the first step.

Now you will need to identify them, find all infestation spots and eradicate them. That is followed by prevention. 

This article will explore the following:

  • How to identify tiny black bugs in your cupboards
  • How to figure out where they originated
  • How to trace all their infestation nests
  • Methods of eradication
  • Preventing them from returning

How Do I Know What It Is?

Most people don’t have extensive insect knowledge so the tiny black bugs are a mystery. It can be narrowed down by where you find them.

Bugs found in cupboards with flour and other grain products could be flour beetles or grain weevils. 

Flour beetles

Beetles are larger than weevils. Beetles tend to be flatter too while weevils look like a grain of rice in the larvae stage. 

Grain weevils

Bugs that fly in and out of the cupboards could be rice moths or fungus gnats. Rice moths lay eggs in grain or corn products. You’ll know when you see cobweb-type clusters in containers.

Fungus gnats go after things like rotten fruit or other similar types of things.

Bugs flying around cupboards that have more fruit-related items like fruit cups, rollups, and dried trail mix are gnats.

Roaches love cupboards but most will know what they look like. However, they may not know that the tiny black bugs that look like pepper are their eggs and larvae.

It can look like dirt in the corners of your cabinets but it moves!

When Is Bug Season?

Bug season is traditionally in the spring but different bugs have different seasons. Some bugs mate year-round if they are in a warm environment with shelter and food like your home. 

Those who live in warmer climates with moderate temperatures are going to see more bugs all year long.

Why Am I Seeing Them In Winter?

There are types of bugs, like roaches, spiders, and stink bugs, that move indoors as the temperatures drop.

They are seeking a milder climate. Roaches and spiders also are drawn to possible food sources while stink bugs are looking for a safe place to hibernate. 

How Do They Get Into the House?

Bugs can get into your home in any number of ways. Most just fly or crawl in through an open window or door but some come in through cracks around the window or through holes that also allow electrical and plumbing to run into the home. 

Some roaches and waterbugs crawl up through sink drains. 

Roaches and other bugs can also hitch a ride in boxes, paper bags, or newspapers you bring into the house.

They are prevalent in warehouses where groceries are stored so they can even come when your groceries are delivered. 

Bugs can also move from country to country in our luggage, so those who travel a lot or have a traveling family member may need to double-check and clean their luggage after they get home.

Is There Only One Nest?

There is likely more than one nest but that depends on how long the bugs have been moving around in your cabinets. You will need to track their movements and find any additional nests. 

Looking for infestation nests will vary depending on the type of bug it is. You will need to empty all your cabinets to see how extensively they’ve moved in.

You may need to pull out your refrigerator and stove too. 

Bugs that are heavy in one area are probably near the entry point. It would serve you well to put sticky traps around any possible entry point to get their exact method of entering and tracking them.

Are These Tiny Black Bugs Dangerous?

The tiny black bugs you find in cupboards are generally the common house bug type and are not dangerous.

These types of bugs, no matter what exactly they are, don’t bite or carry diseases like mosquitos and other types of bugs do. 

However, you still don’t want them near your food. The danger is in food infestation and germs carried across dishes and other things in cabinets that you use to eat.

Throw away any food infested and rewash any dishes, cups, or pans where you find bugs in a cabinet.

Methods of Eradication

Getting rid of any type of bug may take several efforts because they laid eggs that may hatch after the first round of treatment.

It can save you some money if you can eradicate them yourself but it depends on how much infestation there is. 

While your shelves are empty, clean them with soapy water and then use a disinfectant. You may need a scrub brush if there is a lot of bug debris and stains. Take out all shelving paper and replace it. 

Then, wipe down with white vinegar. White vinegar kills many different bugs in the home.

Put all your good food from your pantry in an airtight tub or bin. Open all your cabinets and use a bug fogger to finish off the eradication.

Make sure the fogger doesn’t come in contact with pet food, pet bowls, dishware, glassware, flatware, or boxed food. 

Put all those items in a sealed tub while you do this. Don’t just put them in another room as a fogger can drift into all spaces.

You, your family, and your pets will need to leave the home for about three hours once the fogger starts.

Continue replacing the sticky traps every five days or so. You may be able to use a targeted insecticide that kills eggs and larvae in places like under the kitchen sink, crevices around wood floors, behind the refrigerator and stove. 

Bugs on sticky trap

Some good ones have crevice tools to get in small spots. You can’t use it in the cupboard where you store food. 

You should call an exterminator if repeated attempts don’t resolve the problem.

Prevention Tips

The secret to preventing the tiny black bugs, or any bug, from getting into your cabinets is to make sure your kitchen and cabinets stay clean.

Take some time every couple of weeks to remove any food crumbs that may spill from flour or cookie bags in your cabinets. 

Mop and vacuum the floor regularly, making sure you get into all the tight crevices where bugs can hide.

Disinfect counters and sinks and reset your sticky traps once every couple of weeks if you are still getting bugs. 

Make sure all food is stored properly in airtight containers. That will go a long way to reducing the problem.

Other preventive measures help control bug populations in your home. Those include washing dishes you use right after you eat.

You can rinse them, put them in the dishwasher and run it once daily or wash them by hand. They should not sit out overnight. 

Don’t let the dog or cat food sit out overnight. Either put it in an airtight container or the refrigerator.

Dogs tend to eat everything at once so that may not be a problem if you have a pooch. Cats like to nibble so you may have to train your cat not to look for food at night. 

Keep the dog and cat food bags in an airtight container as well. 

Be sure to take out the garbage nightly. This will be a big help in reducing the chance of bugs returning.

It also pays to sanitize your garbage can about once a month. Even though everyone uses bags, food droppings, spill drinks from take-out cups and cans, and other things sometimes fall around the bag and into the can. 

That can draw bugs. Plus, garbage cans have a lot of crevices that bugs love. You probably will want to take it out and spray those areas with insecticide after you sanitize it.

Don’t keep boxes and bags in the house. Everyone loves to hang onto nice paper bags or boxes in case you need them. The bad news is they can carry bugs. 

Put boxes and bags in the garage or somewhere colder instead of in your house. Cold temperatures will kill any bugs in them.

Do a fall and spring cleaning. Cleaning your home from top to bottom will reduce your chances of bugs returning.

That means emptying your cabinets, washing and wiping them down, disinfecting them, and checking all your containers for any bug activity.

A thorough cleaning also means you’ll pull everything away from walls, clean tight areas where bugs hide, and will likely find any caulking or crevices that need repair.

That will not only prevent bugs but could save you money on energy bills too.


Bugs aren’t things you can live with. Most are harmless but can ruin our food supply and are unsightly. There are ways to win the battle against them and most are pretty simple solutions.

Alright, that’s it for this article, here are a few hand-selected articles that you might also find interesting reads:

Tiny Black Bugs on Your Kitchen Counters? Here’s What To Do

Tiny Black Bugs In Kitchen? What They Are And What To Do!

Tiny Black Bugs in the Bathroom? What They Are and What to Do!

Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page https://schoolofbugs.com/about-steve-foster/

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