Flour Power

It was a dark and stormy night, as I walked the halls of Club Nissen.


A scream rang out.


A man came.


Well, actually, it was a teenager, and I’m the one who screamed, and, truth be told, it wasn’t storming, but it was dark, and I was at home, and I did, in fact, scream. It wasn’t one of those blood curdling screams like in the movie Halloween, it was more like an, eww gross, what the heck is this, sort of holler. But I digress.

It was a dark night. The evening settled in and I flipped off the television and lights. Halfway towards my bedroom, I realized I wanted some water. I wandered back to the kitchen, keeping the lights off, and found a cup in the cupboard, stepped two paces to the left and plunged the glass under the water dispenser in the refrigerator. Leaning my right hand on the cool door, I noticed a gritty feeling; the surface had been cleaned with a dirty rag.

I set the glass on the counter and picked up a bottle of Windex and rag while flipping on the lights. Looking for the offending grime, I noticed, almost imperceptibly, it moved. I screamed—or shouted—or swore in some sort of breathtaking manner.


My sixteen year old appeared. “What?” he asked in that sleepy but irritated tone in which all uninterested teenagers respond to their mothers.


“Is that dirt moving?”

flour might

“What? I don’t see anything.”

“There. See it? Look.” I pressed the button on the fridge door and the area illuminated.

Hundreds, no thousands, of little minuscule creatures lined the outside of the stainless steel door.

The kitchen, now bright, became a combat zone. Every safe-for-stainless product lay on the counter next to rolls of paper towels.

The bugs would not defeat me.

Little did I know, however, their force would be stronger than my midnight resolve. For two hours I sprayed and wiped and sprayed until I realized I must retreat.

I consulted Google: tiny kitchen bugs; tiny white bugs in kitchen; kitchen door crawling with white bugs. Finally I got a hit. Flour mites. “Very tiny little creatures…soft white body…eight legs, except in the larval stage when it has only six legs.”

flour mite life cycle

These practically invisible creepy-crawlies don’t live long but females lay 800 eggs a day. By morning, my refrigerator was swimming in a swarm of flea cousins.

I called the bug guy. He could be there in the afternoon. Once he arrived, he had no advice. Any chemical he could use would ruin my stainless steel and, he added, “I’ve been doing this for over twenty year and I’ve never seen these guys before.”

My day just went from bad to worse.

Wikipedia told me to starve them to death. I gathered all my food from the kitchen and tossed it into the garage freezer or the trash. Then I discovered the solution to my problem. The little guys with pinkish-brown legs couldn’t crawl through WD-40. It didn’t kill them, but who would have thought a little lubricant would make reproducing so difficult.

alison with wd40
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