Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Bugs causing bites


Bug photo
Bug photo  
We have some people complaining about being bitten at work, yet do not typically see the bugs.  Some have small red bite marks, others have no marks at all.  We have caught a bug that we believe may be the bug responsible and need help identifying the bug to rid us of the problem.

The bug is only 1-1.5 mm long and I have attached a photo.  It is captured under a yellow tape dot.

Dear Earl - This appears to be a trips, a tiny insect in the order Thysanoptera. Some species such as the western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis) will bite humans for reasons that are not completely clear, but their bites cause no damage other than mild skin irritation in some people. See http://tinyurl.com/nstfb7f for more detailed information.

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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