Drugstore beetle infestation

About a week before our move, in the last apartment I started noticing these tiny little bugs around the kitchen and kitchen window. They were no bigger than a sesame seed and were reddish-brown in color. And worse: they had WINGS. Eventually, I started seeing them flying in the bedroom and bathroom. I had no idea what was causing them. At first, I wondered if it was because of fruit I purchased that I left on the counter. After this, I started spraying all fruit on the counter with boiling water before leaving them there (everything else goes in the fridge, but alas, you are supposed to let mangoes, kiwis, and stone fruit ripen at room temperature). Then, I inspected my spider plant a few times to ensure that it was not the root cause and found nothing. I just couldn’t figure out the cause. Then finally, yesterday, while moving a plastic storage bin with pantry item foods, I discovered at least 10 of them in the bin! Something in the bin was causing this nonsense!

Through process of elimination, I separated out all canned and bagged items. I inspected the plastic bagged items for holes. And finally, I found the culprit: it was my dried Mexican chilies that I’d purchased at a market in Corona, Queens, last year. The beetles were crawling around, gnawing their way at the chilies; it was just awful. I immediately wrapped up the chili bag and tossed it down the shoot. Then, I sealed the plastic bin to contain any beetles and hopefully suffocate them.

I read about these drugstore beetles online, as I’d never heard of them before or noticed them. They are specifically drawn to spices, particularly CHILIES and PEPPERS, and they are like cockroaches in that they just keep multiplying and are super resilient. They can go days and days without food or water and still survive. It’s just hideous. I’m confused, though, because I’d had these chilies for so long, and they’d never had any bugs before until now. I have no idea where these disgusting critters originated from to begin with…?!

Some of them unfortunately got out in the new apartment. In the last couple of days, I’ve had to kill at least 5-6 every day. Today is the first day when I haven’t seen any. Fingers crossed I killed them all. Bug infestations are truly the worst. Now, I’m trying to remove almost everything like rice, flour, etc., out of their original packaging and into sealed glass or plastic jars/bins. I also threw my other chilies and peppers into the freezer (plus all my rice flours because I’m paranoid now) temporarily to kill any potential bugs. I cannot have this happen again.

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