Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Bug Identification


Dear Mr. Saugstad,

I recently found this bug crawling up my leg on my pants and trapped it in a container to take a better picture of it. Trying to get as detailed of a shot as I could. I live in South Western Kansas, USA.

Is this a bed bug? It is about the size of a grain of rice. It has plates like a cockroach would have, but hope it won't be a roach or a bed bug. The insect is quick and it's body is fairly thin even though it is round as in circle shape, but not in thickness.

I've also seen a few of these in the past as well. Always freak thinking they are bed bugs or a type of roach, mainly due to their color and plates.

Dear Lauren - This does, unfortunately, appear to be a bed bug (please note that some bird and bat bugs can be very similar in appearance, but they too will feed on humans when their normal hosts are absent). See http://tinyurl.com/5l5y95 for a very comprehensive fact sheet on these insects, it is about the best I've seen available on the web.

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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