Common Kitchen Pests

Here’s a quick rundown of the types of pests you’re likely to see in kitchen settings.

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June 22, 2015

Here’s a quick rundown of the types of pests you’re likely to see in kitchen settings: 
 
Cockroaches
Types: German (by far the most prevalent), American, Oriental
 
What attracts them: Food debris, grease, moisture, clutter (especially cardboard), heat
 
How they access the kitchen: Hitchhiking on deliveries or crawling through cracks, crevices and holes from adjoining areas or from outdoors on warm summer nights; (American and Oriental) storm drains, utility tunnels and steam tunnels; (American) sewage systems 
 
How to treat them: Sanitation plus an integrated program including vacuuming, baits (possibly in conjunction with IGRs), dusts, aerosols and water-based residuals
 
Small Flies
Types: Phorid (humpbacked), vinegar and drain (moth) flies, fungus gnats
 
What attracts them: Grease, grime, moisture, organic matter
 
How they access the kitchen: Through sewage and drain pipes, cracks in the slab or flooring, on produce, or in from the outside
 
How to treat them: Locate and eliminate the breeding site. Prevent their return through sanitation of drains, equipment and trash cans/dumpsters; application of microbial foams, gels, liquids or sprays (sometimes in combination with IGRs); insecticides labeled for kitchen use 
 
Rodents
Types: House mice, Norway rats, roof rats (commercial)
 
What attracts them: Food, harborage
 
How they access the kitchen: Through holes or gaps in foundations, walls, floors, windows and dropped ceilings
 
How to treat them: Seal entry points, set traps inside (prebaiting is recommended) and rodenticide baits outside
 
Ants
Types: Odorous house, pavement and Argentine ants, plus regional species
 
What attracts them: Food, moisture, grease
 
How they access the kitchen: Trailing through even the tiniest openings from outdoors or nests situated in wall voids
 
How to treat them: Find and seal entry points, spray outside foundation, use baits indoors/outdoors
 
Stored Product (Pantry) Pests
Types: Moths and beetles such as saw-toothed grain beetles, Indian meal moths and rice weevils 
 
What attracts them: Dry pantry and pet foods 
 
How they access the kitchen: Hitchhiking on packages of food brought into the kitchen or flying into open windows and doors, usually found in oldest and least-used products
 
How to treat them: Eliminate the food source(s) responsible for the infestation, clean the pantry/cabinet, treat cracks and crevices with insecticides labeled for kitchen use