You are here:

Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Tiny brown bugs in tea and dried goods


QUESTION: There are little brown bugs everywhere!! I noticed them flying around the kitchen and sitting in groups in the top of the pantry. I opened a box of tea from a separate cabinet and it was infested with bugs and larvae. I decided to check every box of tea in the pantry and discarded each one. They were also in cereal boxes including cream of wheat and oatmeal. I threw away everything that was open, washed off all the cans, and tied everything else in clear plastic bags. I bleached, sprayed and bombed the kitchen and pantry. 3 months later they can still be found flying around the house. Some are babies and some seem full grown. Please help me get rid of them.

ANSWER: My guess without seeing these that they are Indian meal Moths. Look them up and see some photos. They have been breeding in the foods where you have found them. Since they are back you have missed something. Empty put your cupboards completely. Wipe them out and use a pyrethrum based spray in all the cracks. If you have pet foods check those also. If you have cornmeal and bread crumbs, check them.  Bombing the kitchen ,as you have seen ,will not work.
I had these pests in my kitchen for two years before I finally located the source, a box of cornmeal in a cupboard where we keep spices. Let me know if they resemble the photos

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I looked up Indian meal moths, and these are not the pests that I have in my home. The ones in my home look like tiny oval shaped brown beetles. They do not  resemble moths at all. Please help!

I have a problem here Tanisha because they are flying around the house. There are other kitchen pests, mostly beetles called dermestid beetles but they usually do not fly.  Without seeing a photo I can only guess. But my telling you what they are will not solve the problem. You must treat all kitchen pests the same. Follow all suggestions I suggested before. If you have any pet foods you must check there also. Keep me informed

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Walter Hintz


I can answer any questions about insects and spiders.


I have taught science for over 57 years. I am presently teaching biology at the college level. I have done extensive graduate work in entomology.

Momentum Magazine The Ohio Journal of Science

B.S. In Ed Kent State Unuv M.Sc The Ohio State Univ National Science Foundation Fellowships: Electron Microscopy Univ of California Entomology Kent State Univ

©2016 All rights reserved.