Finding bugs in the kitchen can be unsettling. It’s the place where we eat, so we surely don’t want any pests around. But before you deal with them, let’s see what those tiny black bugs are.
There are several kitchen invaders those little black bugs could be:
- Carpet beetles
- House ants
Before you start panicking, know that these bugs are often visitors to kitchens around the world. Except cockroaches, they don’t really pose a threat to your health. However, that doesn’t make them any less annoying. If you want to know more about these bugs and what to do, read on.
|Wheat Weevil (Sitophilus granarius)||These bugs are 3-5 mm long with elongated snouts like an anteater. They’re black to reddish-brown and can’t fly.||They’re repelled by cloves, bay leaves and certain chemicals. But since they lay eggs in food, the only way to get rid of them is to freeze food for four days, and then store in airtight containers.|
|Carpet Beetle (Anthrenus verbasci)||Carpet beetles are up to 3 mm long and oval-shaped. Their larvae are fuzzy and can be brown or black.||Since they feed on just about anything, a professional exterminator is the only one that can truly get rid of them.|
|American Cockroach (Periplaneta americana)||Adult American cockroaches are reddish-brown, but their nymph are black. They can grow up to 50 mm in length and they have wings.||The first step towards keeping cockroaches out is by keeping the house clean. If they already invaded your home, store-bought baits and traps, as well as boric acid can help in dealing with these bugs.|
|Odorous House Ant (Tapinoma sessile)||These ants are 3 mm long and have brown to black color. When crushed, they release a rotten coconut odor, hence their name.||Vinegar kills these ants on contact, but doesn’t deal with infestation. The only way to get rid of the entire colony is to use a store-bought bait.|
Are They Dangerous?
This is obviously the first thing that comes to your mind when you find unfamiliar bugs in your kitchen. The good thing is, most of them aren’t dangerous to humans. When it comes to weevil larvae, we all have probably ingested them at some point in our lives.
When it comes to carpet beetles and house ants, although generally harmful to us, they can cause allergic reactions. These are not life-threatening, and usually manifest as a rash or a bumpy skin.
The situation is a bit more serious with cockroaches. Besides a potential allergic reaction, these bugs can also cause a wide range of diseases, from salmonellosis and E. coli infections to typhoid fever and cholera.
How Are They Getting In?
Since these bugs are tiny, they don’t need a grand entrance through the front door. Carpet beetles and house ants see an open window as an invitation to come in. Beetles have wings, so they can fly in, while ants stop by while on a scavenging hunt.
Cockroaches love warm, moist places, so they’ll find their way inside through even the tiniest holes. Vents, pipes, electrical boxes… anything will do.
Weevils can also simply walk inside your home through an open crack. However, they more often end up inside through our food. This happens because a female weevil lays eggs directly into the grain kernel. Those eggs can barely be seen with the naked eye, so they end up in sealed packages.
Do They Come At Specific Times Of The Year?
Generally speaking, all of these bugs can invade your home at any time of the year. They do become less active during colder months, but they don’t die out.
During spring and summer, these tiny black bugs enjoy the outdoors, but as days become colder, they’re in search of food. And your house has plenty of that laying around.
What Can You Do About Them?
There are different ways you can deal with each of these bugs. Besides chemical sprays, there are a couple of natural alternatives to get rid of weevils. They’re repelled by cloves and bay leaves, so placing them in your food containers might ward them off.
But, the only way to really prevent weevils from returning is to get rid of all the unsealed packaging, like cereal boxes. Put the food that can withstand cold temperature in a freezer for four days. That will kill all the larvae inside. You can do this with flour and rice, as long as you put them in freezer bags. After four days, keep them in airtight containers.
When it comes to carpet beetles, they feed on all kinds of animal and plant products, so they can be living in any corner of your house. The only way to really get rid of them is to contact a pest control specialist.
Cockroaches are attracted to dirt. Keeping your house clean is one way of dealing with these bugs. Another thing you can do is get those store-bought baits and traps. And if you’re looking for a DIY alternative, boric acid does the job just fine. However, this acid is dangerous to pets, so if you have one, forget about this trick.
Slow-acting baits are great for dealing with house ants. They’re protein-based, which ants find yummy. They bring those baits home to their queen and nest workers, so you’re effectively dealing with the whole colony.
How Are They Getting Into The Cupboards?
All of these bugs are the masters of sneaking. Most cupboards don’t really have any kind of air-tight closure, so even the smallest crack is enough for them to get inside.
As previously mentioned, weevils might have a “ride” directly into the cupboards. If your food contains weevil eggs, they’re basically born inside your cabinets.
Are They Attracted To Certain Types Of Food?
Weevils love the food they usually lay their eggs in. That means they’re big fans of flour, cereal, nuts and grain.
Carpet beetles, on the other hand, will eat just about anything. They enjoy most organic materials and, since they can fly, you might find them feasting in every part of your home.
Cockroaches love smelly things. They’re most attracted to cheese, meat, grease and rotten fruit and vegetables. That’s why they love scavenging your bin.
Finally, ants love sweet things above anything else. Leaving cookies on the counter is like an open invitation to these bugs. They also won’t say no to dairy.
Should I Seal My Bin Better?
Yes, you should. Your bin is filled with food leftovers that these black bugs see as snacks. As previously mentioned, cockroaches are attracted to smelly things, so your bin is like a Swedish table to them.
With that being said, don’t expect a sealed bin to fix all of your bug problems. The bin is just the easiest access to food, but certainly not the only one. Most of these bugs will find the place to snack all around your kitchen. From crumbles on the floor to a fruit basket on your table, anything will work.
Will They Go Away On Their Own?
If these bugs find your kitchen an inexhaustible source of food, why would they ever leave it? Besides, your house is warm and, when the winter comes, can serve as a shelter until the next spring.
In other words, these bugs won’t leave by themselves if they have access to food. That’s why you’ll need to be extremely thorough with cleaning. And even then, they’ll find something to eat. After all, no matter how hard you clean, a bread crumble will appear somewhere.
As you can see, most tiny black bugs you might see around your kitchen are harmless. That, however, doesn’t make them any less annoying. Hopefully this article has helped you figure out what to do with them.
Below you can find more about common household insect nuisances and how to deal with them:
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