How to Get Rid of Little Bugs & Worms in Cabinets

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Things You'll Need

  • Sealed plastic bags

  • Garbage bags

  • Vacuum with hose attachment

  • Clean rag

  • Bowl or bucket

  • Vegetable oil soap

  • Hot water

  • Dish soap

  • Nontoxic pheromone pantry pest traps

  • Glass, plastic or metal food containers

Tightly store foods to keep bugs out of the pantry.

Finding little bugs and worms in your cabinets can be unexpected and unpleasant, especially when in or around food. Small grain beetles eat foods that come from grains such as flour, cornmeal and breakfast foods, but they will also eat animal foods, nuts, candies and dried fruit. Indian meal moths lay eggs in or near dried food, which hatch into little worms. These larvae eat the same grain foods that grain beetles eat, but they also feed on rice, bird seed, pasta, dry mixes, granola, and dried flower arrangements. Rid your cabinets of these pests to protect your food from infestations.


Step 1

Open the cabinets. Remove everything from inside. Inspect the food items for bugs.

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Step 2

Place any food items with bug infestations into plastic bags and seal them closed. Place any open food items into plastic bags and seal them closed as well. Even if there do not appear to be bugs in open food items, there may be eggs or larvae that are too small to see.

Step 3

Place the sealed food items into a garbage bag and tie it closed. Discard the garbage bag outside of the home.

Step 4

Vacuum the inside of the cabinets well using the hose attachment.

Step 5

Fill a bowl or bucket with a mixture of vegetable oil soap and hot water, making it sudsy.


Step 6

Dip a clean rag into the soapy water. Wring it out.

Step 7

Thoroughly wipe the cabinets down with the rag, rinsing and re-wetting it as needed.

Step 8

Put all containers into the sink and clean with dish soap or wash them in the dishwasher.


Step 9

Place nontoxic pheromone pantry pest traps in the cabinets. They will kill any leftover bugs and are effective for about three months.

Step 10

Put all future food items in sealed plastic bags, pour them into sealed glass, plastic or metal food containers or store them in the refrigerator.

Step 11

Inspect the cabinets monthly and clean them well at least once a year to prevent future infestations.


Check food packaging while at the grocery store for signs of moth and larva presence, such as small holes. If you purchased food that had bugs, freeze the package for four days, which will kill the bugs. Return the food item with your receipt.


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