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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Please help me to ID this

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QUESTION: Hello there,

I found these under my bed on some loose tape that had fallen behind there, they appear to be white with brown heads and looser brown dots scattered around. How do I get rid of them?

Thank you for your help in advance.

ANSWER: Greg:

The images clearly show insect LARVAE of some kind.  The bad news is that I'd have to have the actual specimens to even tell you what ORDER of insect it is (beetle?  moth?  fly?).

My guess is that it is some kind of "stored product pest," and if you "Googled" that term you might find a good website to help you out....

Here's one that I find very useful:

http://spiru.cgahr.ksu.edu/db/insect/search_results.asp?family_id=&genus_id=&gen

The loose black dots are "frass," by the way (insect poop).

You need to find out what they are eating, and discard that item (or clean under the bed very thoroughly).

Hope this helps a little.  There are limitations on what I can do in some cases when images alone are not enough.

Eric

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Eric,

Since there is no food, and only clothing in my room, I am not sure what the source would be. In any case, I have vacuumed the area but I just wanted to ask
1) is finding these larva a sign of a much larger problem? or could it possibly be at an end now since these larva are dead?
2) what else can I do to kill all and end the problem ASAP?

Thanks for your help

Answer
Greg:

Accumulated dust= mostly shed skin flakes of people and pets which equals "food" for stored product pests that feed on dried animal products.

Accumulated shed hair from people and pets= food, too.

Wool clothing and blankets=animal hair=food.

Store woolens in a cedar chest when not in use.  Cedar has proven repellent qualities.  Forget mothballs (naphthelene is totally ineffective) and moth crystals (paradichlorobenzene is at least a *potential* carcinogen).

Store vulnerable foodstuffs in glass or metal containers with tight-fitting lids.

That is the best advice I can offer, not knowing exactly what you have there.

Eric

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton

Expertise

I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.

Experience

Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Publications
Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Education/Credentials
Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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