Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Unidentified bug


Unknown bug 1
Unknown bug 1  

Unknown bug 2
Unknown bug 2  
I was taking out some Christmas ornaments today & I came upon some tiny little brownish-black insect. I found a lot of living ones inside a small Christmas candle. I noticed a lot were coming up from cracks on the side of the candles as well. As I started to go through the rest of my holiday ornaments, I noticed the same bugs on a lot of the fabrics. I was worried that these were bed bugs but they seem much more thin. Can you please help me identify this insect? How do I get rid of it & what are they caused by? Thank you so much!!

Dear Susie - First off, I can assure you that these are not bed bugs! The ones in the first image appear to be grain beetles in the genus Oryzaephilus (saw-toothed and merchant grain beetles); they will feed on an extremely wide variety of organic materials and often are pantry pests. See http://tinyurl.com/yl2hx6l for a fact sheet with more detailed information, including control measures. Some of the insects in in your second image may be something besides grain beetles, but the image is not clear enough for me to be certain. In any case, they do not appear to be serious pests of any kind.

Hope this helps,

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad


Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.


21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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