Bugs With Tiny Hard Shells in the Kitchen

Insects can be almost anywhere, even living in our kitchens and pantries to infest stored foods. A variety of hard-shelled pests are seen in the kitchen and feed on stored rice, grain, spices and flour. Sanitation and exclusion are just a few ways to reduce infestations of pantry pests.


Spider beetles are tiny bugs, measuring just 2mm to 5mm in length. These tiny beetles are oval or round and have a hard brown shell. Spider beetles are typically seen in stored food items and are common pests in warehouses that store large quantities of grain or seeds. Drugstore beetles and cigarette beetles are also common hard-shelled kitchen pests. Both beetles are usually 1/8 inches in length, brown or black and oval in shape. Drugstore beetles and cigarette beetles infest and feed on stored food items in kitchens, warehouses and restaurants.


Spider beetles feed on food items both in the adult stage and in the larval stage. These beetles and their grub-like larvae are usually seen in dried fruits, dried mushrooms, grains, seeds and dried meats. Spider beetles are also found in non-food items around the house such as hair, feathers, book bindings and animal droppings. Drugstore beetles feed on bread and any type of dried food products. According to the Oregon State University website, drugstore beetles can perforate tin foil easily to feed on the food inside and can chew through most types of packing materials. Cigarette beetles favor tobacco, but are also found in homes in cereal, spices, peppers and pet foods.

Cultural Control

Discard any food items in your kitchen that have signs of pantry pests. Inspect all your stored food items, as some infestations are quite large and infect many products simultaneously. Vacuum pantry or cupboard shelves and wash with bleach or other household cleaner. Place susceptible food items, such as dried foods and grains, in containers with tightly fitting lids to prevent future infestations.

Chemical Control

Insecticides can be helpful in controlling infestations of pantry pests if used in conjunction with cleaning and sanitation methods. Spraying the corners and baseboards of infested pantries can eliminate stray bugs. Take care to avoid food products when spraying for pantry pests. Insecticides alone will only provide temporary relief from pantry pests. Sanitation and inspection are necessary to prevent future infestations.