Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Mystery bug


Mystery bug
Mystery bug  
A few weeks ago, I noticed several black specks on the tile in my laundry room.  After a closer look, they looked dead so I just swept them up. A few days later I noticed the bugs again, only there were a few that were stil crawling around. I ended up spraying "Black Flag Extreme" home pesticide, and they appeared to have went away. I then went on a ten day vacation, and when I retuned home to Arkansas, the bugs were back and were on the floor everywhere! I swept them up, and didn't spray the pesticide again because our dogs were inside. That same night, I got up at 3am to switch a load of laundry to the dryer and the bugs were too numerous to count. At that time, they were on the walls, on the floor, and on a laundry cabinet, both inside and out.

I went back to bed and when I got up the next morning, the bugs were practically gone. There was no evidence of the bugs on the walls or in the cabinets; only a few bugs remained on the floor. I'm wondering if the bugs are living in the laundry cabinet - my mother in law gave me the laundry cabinet, and she is by no means a housekeeper. I disinfected the cabinet when she gave it to me, but I really wonder if I should set it at the curb with the trash this week. Please help!!

I have three questions:
1-did they likely come in with the laundry cabinet?
2-how do I get rid of them?
3-what are they?

Dear Jillian - What you have here is one of the grain/granary weevils in the genus Sitophilus. Their larvae feed within seeds of grains, including wheat, rice, and corn (maize), as well as some others such as chickpeas. You should check all areas where any grains (including bird seed) are stored for signs of insect infestation. They would not be living in the laundry cabinet unless there was some food source for them in there. See http://tinyurl.com/cff3o6r for some good advice on controlling these pests.
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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