I have been finding these small worms around the kitchen, sometimes around packaging of salt, for example, sometimes on the ceiling.

This is what they look like: enter image description here

Are they dangerous? Are they early state fruit flies or anything to do with fruit flies? What food are they most likely coming from or how do they get in our kitchen? How do I get rid of them?

  • 3
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because we don’t identify bugs here. Possibly a question for Biology SE.
    – Debbie M.
    Oct 3 '18 at 19:14
  • There are other similar questions on this site, which are not closed. This is more about the kitchen, then about the biology of the bug. Oct 3 '18 at 19:19
  • 5
    This is a larva of a pantry moth and as they infest food sometimes cooks have to deal with them. We do have more Q/As about insects in kitchens.
    – Stephie
    Oct 3 '18 at 20:34
  • 1
    Related: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/13304/…
    – Stephie
    Oct 3 '18 at 21:29

The photo together with the description of their behavior shows that you have an infestation of pantry moths. What you found are the larvae at their last stage before pupating, they tend to wander around a bit before doing so. Before, the larvae were munching on food somewhere in your home, leaving their feces and often webbing behind.

An infestation of pantry moths means you need to check all your food that may be a food source for them - and they enjoy a surprisingly diverse diet. Main food sources are grain-based products, legumes, dried fruit, nuts and other seeds, but the will also munch on pet food, chocolate, spices... The general rule is that everything in cartons or plastic bags needs to be either discarded or be treated (frozen for a few days or microwaved). This may sound excessive, but if only a few eggs remain, the cycle starts anew. Don’t forget potential moth hideouts outside the kitchen, the larvae wander rather long distances and the adults fly. Clean out the cupboards, vacuum them (especially all cracks and corners), wipe them out. If possible, store your susceptible staples in sealed jars, this will prevent wandering female moths from laying eggs and keep hitchhikers from stores confined in one jar, preventing a larger infestation in the future.

  • Could it also be rice? Oct 3 '18 at 22:10
  • @user1721135 It could definitely be rice. When we've had them (a couple times now) they started out in a bag of flour, but lasted because we didn't notice they had migrated into a bag of rice.
    – Erica
    Oct 3 '18 at 23:53

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