46 answers

Bugs in Cereal and Bisquick!

The past week I have had little black bugs about the size of ants, non flying in bisquick and cereal. Do you know what I can do to get rid of them? I cleaned the cubbard and used pinesol on inside of cubbard. Put all food in airtight containers but still see couple each day. What chemical would be safe to use around food?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi V.- Simple Green, is safe to use around food. It is non-toxic and is very affective. Give it a try, hope it works for you :) Happy holidays!!!!!!!!!!

Dear V.,

Put the air tight containers into the refrigerator for a while. Just starve the little devils. C. N.

Ya, if they're what I had then they get into everything - spices chocolate as well as grains. Lots of cleaning and throwing stuff out. Ziplocs work well, but the ones we had did eat through cardboard (got into the pasta boxes) and even plastic sometimes. They've come back almost every year for us. Good luck.

More Answers

Put whole "bayleaves" on the shelves in your cupboard and one or two in the boxes of cereal and bisquick. (Be sure and remove them if they end up in your bowl) Bugs don't like bayleaves.

1 mom found this helpful

Size of an ant it's probably a sawtooth beetle. They are commonly brought home in flour in egg or larvae stage. I find it best to just put all new purchases in the freezer where the bugs cant develop any further. Freezing usually kills the eggs and larvae. Here's a website on how to deal with pantry bugs. http://www.pantrypest.com/

1 mom found this helpful

Dear V.,
Don't know if this will work but is worth a try. Use
bay leaves, some critters can't stand them. Fresh large
bay leaves.

C. C.

I had the same problem 2 weeks ago, so I did some research- everyone's ideas here are good, but I wanted to add one note. Someone mentioned spearmint to keep them away, but I heard that that actually attracts them (in order to bait them). So stick with the bay leaves!

Freezing & refrigerating is good, and with things like cold cereal, you can usually eat it right from the freezer with no need to warm it up- it's just a little bit colder. :)

I well remember this scenario. Yuch. Unfortunately the only solution I know is to completely eradicate any possible food for these critters. Once they infest you can find them in many dried foods, cereals and grains. Look at it as an opportunity for some serious cupboard cleaning. You'll need to inspect EVERYTHING and when in doubt toss it, especially if it has been opened. Once you've cleaned every last crumb, they should be gone.

My mom has had these..and there is virtually no way to get rid of them. She has something she plugs into the wall that helps a bit..and little sticky paper all throughout the cabinet..but she's had to pretty much buy tupperware containers or seal everything in plastic bags(they cant seem to eat through plastic to get in).

Good luck!!

Try puttin a bay leaf in the flour and cereal. It doesn't change the taste. I was born in Hawaii and my dad was a chef. He had us put a bay leaf in our flour, cereal and rice. It kept the bugs away.

Don't use pinesol in your house, supposed to be quite toxic! Bugs probably won't hurt anything, so pick them out, or throw away. All natural cleaning products can be found, for a high price at Woodlands market. P.

i have the same problem, my mom said anything you open you should put in the fridge. it was hard for me to do but whatever had bugs in it i threw away.

They are called weevils, and can get into your flour, sugar, cereal, etc - take everything out of the cabinet and throw them away. Clean it out real well in there with a mild bleach and water solution in a spray bottle (like a capful of bleach), and just buy new food items (once weevils are in a cabinet or in the food in the cabinet, you really have to throw everything away and start anew). They arent poisonous or even dangerous, but still kinda gross - you just have to make sure the NEW things you buy are always closed and stored in tightly closed plastic containers.
These bugs have nothing to do with cleanliness, they just happen sometimes. They like cool dark places with food!

Throw away any foodstuff that is not canned. You can sometimes see little holes where they have eaten their way either in or out of a product.

They could have already been in one of your products, especially if you bought it in bulk. I'm thinking that you will have to do several cleanings,to get rid of any eggs that have been laid. Once that is done, you shouldn't have any problems.
Hope this helps.

My grandmother used to put unwrapped sticks of chewing gum in the cupboard. Supposedly, it kills those little bugs.
Cheap and safe...worth a shot!!

I had this problem in my old apartment. I did a major cleaning of the cupboards that all the food (like flour, cereals, rice, pancake batter etc.) was in. I had to toss out ALL of the food because the darn things were in everything. I didn't have kids then so I probably used 409, but I think it was more about removing every last trace of them or the food they'd made homes in than about a chemical killing. I bought airtight containers for everything and now I zip up opened pancake mix boxes or the like in big Ziploc bags. I also read online that Bay Leaves are a good deterrent for these things. So I put loose bay leaves on the shelves (back in the corners) as well as tossed 'em into the ziploc bags. Haven't seen 'em since. Good luck.

We've had larder beetles that migrated from a covered with doggie treats in the dining room all the way into the kitchen. I'm sorry to say that if you still see them, you should probably get rid of all of your drygoods, even unopened ones. I know it seems wasteful, but if you only toss the ones in which you can see adult bugs, you may miss containers with eggs in them. Then any new products you bring in can get contaminated and you'll never get rid of them. They seem to be able to get through plastic, both bags and caps. I've had good luck with the Snaplock brand of clear plastic container. I've seen them at both Target and Smart and Final. We've also had infestations of meal moths from bulk drygoods from Whole Foods. There is a pheromone-based trap for these pests made by Safer. There's a scent tab inside a cardboard box with sticky walls-the moths are attracted inside and stick to the sides. These are available at the hardware store. Unfortunately I've never seen something like that for the pantry beetles. I really liked the website for identifying bugs in one of the previous responses.

V., you did the absolute right thing. I had the same problem and I threw away the affected cereals and moved out my stuff onto a clean surface for a couple of weeks while I sprayed an insecticide and then washed out the areas again thoroughly. The bugs are insidious and the only way to keep them away is to be vigilant about keeping the bags sealed! Hope this helps!

HI V.,

I can help you. I am in a health and wellness homebase business. All of our products do not have chemicals that are harmful for the health and home. We have different products that cleans while disinfect and at the same time kills insects like ants flies etc. You can check our products at Melaleuca.com. You can try and I guarantee you will love it. If interested call me ###-###-####. This is also an opportunity to earn extra money. Once you tried it, you will stick to it. That is how I decided to do this as my home base business. Thank you for reading. B.

Those are what we called back in the day "bo weevils." They tend to infiltrate flour and flour products. My Italian grandmother-in-law used to place a bay leaf in the flour and seal it up tight and that did the trick. I have done it a time or two myself, but I have not had problems in recent years. Try it! C. Dewey

Hi V.- Simple Green, is safe to use around food. It is non-toxic and is very affective. Give it a try, hope it works for you :) Happy holidays!!!!!!!!!!

We had that recently in our apartment. You have to throw away anything that contains grains - wheat & rice, etc.
Disinfect your cabinets and keep all your new products in airtight containers - including bread, cereal & cookies.
I even found the bugs in an unopened bag of rice!
They live in grains - & lay eggs so you can't keep stuff for very long. oNly buy enough flour to last a few months at a time.
Sorry it's such a hassel!

Hello V.,

I had the same problem two weeks ago . and i took out all the open bags of the dry food i have and i through it out in the garbage.

even i saw one closed bag of dry food that have little tiny hole full of these bugs .
no matter how much u clean if they are in the dry food they will never leave until u put every thing in the garbage .

Good luck .

Dear V.,

Put the air tight containers into the refrigerator for a while. Just starve the little devils. C. N.

Ya, if they're what I had then they get into everything - spices chocolate as well as grains. Lots of cleaning and throwing stuff out. Ziplocs work well, but the ones we had did eat through cardboard (got into the pasta boxes) and even plastic sometimes. They've come back almost every year for us. Good luck.

I think these are call weebils or weevils or something? I guess very common. The best way and probably the safest is to keep your mixes in the freezer.

When my flour gets old and stale in freezer, I move it out and keep it in a ziploc to use to make play-doh.

If you are buying in bulk and not using items quickly enough, you may want to consider buying smaller boxes that you can use sooner where you won't get a bug problem.


Hi my gramma always told me to put a stick of peppermint gum in my flour, bisquick, cornmeal, etc. It seems to work. Those mid-west bakers know their stuff! good luck.

Hi V.,
Those little black bugs are I believe weables. I know they like beans and other boxed powders. I had a relaxing bean pillow you put in the microwave and put around your neck. well they completely ate all the beans in it and left only powder. I think they just go away after you get rid of their food source. Good Luck

you have moth larvae (not sure what the proper name is)...you have to thorw away all infested food and clean your pantry really well...make sure you throw away all infected foods otherwise you will get them again...make sure to check all flour like foods, they love dry peppers, cereal and dry fruit...so check all those for signs of infestation...they also like some spices....if you buy bulk grains or rice, cook them quickly because that is usually where they are. Sorry, its a pain in the neck...but they do go away eventually.

You should throw away all the items that have the bugs and always keep those items in airtight containers. I have found those bugs in flour type items in my pantry before. Tossing them and starting new has always worked for me. I would not use any chemicals around food items. You can remove everything and wipe the shelves down with 409 because it contains bleach it may help to eradicate the problem.


Friends in Mazatlan, living on their boat, say that anything and everything they have is in airtight containers, with a bay leaf. This seems to be a common practice in tropical areas. Some foods they leave in original packaging, and put that package in a zip-lock, with the bay leaf in the zip-lock (not in with the food itself).

Good luck,

I store goods like that in my fridge. Keeps the bugs out.

Dear V.,

I found that the bugs get into everything even sealed ziplock bags. But there is one place they never got into, is Glass jars with Metal lids. So I started to use them instead of plastic containers. I especially save those large ones with the wide mouth.

We never had them, until we changed our Kitchen Cabinets, I found that my old cabinets, while dated where made from wood. The newer cabinets now possibley are made with laminated pressboard, and these critters love to live in them. When we moved the next house was redone with we opted to spend the extra money upgrading to plywood when remodeling the kitchen, just for this critter reason.

Good luck!

aloha V., my name is M. i live in hawaii, we all had this problem, i just stopped leaving foods like this out, i put all flour,bisquik etc. In the fridge, i dont know what those bugs are, but after years of wasting it to these grose pest that i have found tons of larva inside as well, i just now freeze it or just
put in fridge. I think it must be the food itself that "turns ransid or somthing
because think about it? Air tight and there still getting in? Somthings happenig
within, maybe no preservatives, any way hope it helps.
Aloha, M. zimmerman

Hi V.,
It sounds to me like it is just specific to those two things
(bisquick and cereal) and that happens when you have had them in the house for too long. I sure hope that's the answer at your house!

Happy Holidays!

Hi V., If your problem is the same as my mum used to have, you probably have weevils. My mum threw out everything with weevils in it (even if you can't see them, sometimes you can see fine little "webs" in the boxes of Bisquick). She cleaned the cupboards thouroughly. She had an old house so she could actually remove her cupboard boards. She hosed them down outside, scrubbed them, and let them dry in the sun. Then she put fresh bay leaves from our bay tree in the cupboard. It always worked like a charm! Over time, though, once the bay leaves lost their frangrance, the weevils came back, so you have to keep up on adding the bay leaves. Oh, and also, if we had room in the freezer, she'd put flour, pancake mix, and things weevils like in the freezer. Hope this helps and good luck with getting rid of the little critters!

The bugs are called Weevels you just need to throw away what ever has them and but new stuff.

Sounds like weevels to me, we had them a couple of years ago and lost hundreds of dollars of food! It's horrible! You need to completely empty and clean out your cupboards/pantry and wipe everything down with bleach. Throw out any contaminated food and buy lots of plastic containers to put new food in. After everything is cleaned and contained put a couple of bay leaves on each shelf to keep them from coming back. (they can't stand the scent) I've also heard that spearmint gum will work to keep them away too. We used the bay leaves and have never had a problem since. Good luck!

I'm so glad you asked! I have been having this problem lately too. They seem to really like whole wheat pasta!

There are little black weevils that grow inside of many grains, like pasta and rice. They are inside the food when you buy them and then when they are ready they hatch out. They have long noses. The best defense against these is to only have a little bit on hand and rotate through food often - don't leave it sitting around for a long time. Anyway, if I have bugs in food, I just throw it away and start over. But don't stock up on too much!! I live in Hawaii, so I also keep any open food (cereals, snacks, pasta, flour, sugar, etc.) in sealed containers.

Hi there..

These are a major pest to get rid of. I never found any chemicals to use to get rid of them. If ALL your food is now in airtight containers and you are still finding them, then they are probably still somewhere in your cabinet, like on the edges of shelves etc. If not all of your food are in airtight containers..check again. Look into all areas of bags and packaging.They like to cut little holes into the bottom of bagged and boxed foods to gain access. Look around and you'll be surprised to find itty bitty little holes. Just clean really well with Pinesol and in every nook and cranny. It's hard to finally get rid of them but you will eventuially. I always check my new foods I buy now..because surprisingly these little nasties get in to the bagged food sometimes before you even get them home. Like in stock rooms etc. Soo good luck.

p.s. I only know all this info becaue my friend is an Entymologist (studies bugs) and she came to my rescue when I had them.

wipe around with vinigar then place dryed bay leaves that helps keep bugs out

I know of what you speak, I battled them for a while. What I did:

Kept most of my flour, bisquick, etc. in the freezer. The bugs can't get in there! (Even now, if I buy a lot of flour, I store the extra in the freezer.)

I made sure that all of my airtight containers went through the dishwasher (or a hot water wash and a rinse with bleach water).

Even the smallest spill in the cupboard got wiped up in an instant.

It took a while, but that seemed to do the trick.

Hello V., I would check the dates on the boxes and always store the grains and flower and bisquick in airtight containers. There is always a chance with grains and flower products that if they are out of date the bugs are already there, odd as that sounds, and they appear after the food is expired. Instead of having things like that on hand I buy them when needed. If you want a food safe cleaning product, bleach diluted properly is the best bet, let it air dry in a well ventilated area. Do some reasearch online, there are articles out there that detail what happens to outdated flower and grain products. Also always rinse rice or similar products before use because there is no way for growers and packers to assure us a completely "clean" product. The FDA gives them a small percentage of leway for dirt or other debris that may get in our food and is impossible to remove. I have no idea what bugs would crawl into it, but this is what I learned thru 19 years of foodservice work and education. My mantra is buy fresh, it saves space and avoids tummyaches. Good Luck, and Healthy Cooking, A.

Hi V. P,
I had the same problem a while ago. First, I placed a bay leaf on each shelf and inside containers that had any grain or flour type product. Second, the thing that finally got rid of the bugs and moths was a solution with products that you probably have in your home already. I don't remember where I found this remedy but it worked. You take cornmeal and mix it up with 20 Mule Team Borax about 50/50. Place a small container (like old jar lids) with the combination on every shelf in your cupboards. The bugs will be attracted to the cornmeal but will also get a mouthful of the Borax. Eventually, about 2 weeks or so, the bugs die out because the Borax will dry them out and then there will be no more bugs to multiply and drive you crazy. Hope that helps.

V. that happen to me,after going thew everything i had a bag of potatoe on the bottom self looking at it nothing looked wrong,picked it up and there was a rotten one on the bottom ,bug went away J.

Hi V.,

This sounds like what we used to call "weevils" in the South. The only way we could ever get rid of them was to throw out all the infested flour etc and start over. They spread like wildfire too! Get some more stuff and clean the cabinet and containers before putting new stuff in them again.

Good Luck!

I've had those little critters! What worked for me was tossing everything that they were in, cleaning the shelves, and buying all new stuff. I put everything in the freezer for 24hours first and then put it away in the pantry. Freezing things like flour and flour-based products right when I bring them home from the store is a habit I've develoved since then. I haven't had them back, so I guess it's working! Plus, I find that the products actually last a little longer in general after I've frozen them first.

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