Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Identification


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Dear Ed,

I was wondering if you could help me identify a beetle. I get these most times of the year. They vary in sizes and some appear to have antenna and some not. They also vary from a brown to black colour.

They appear most in my bathroom and mostly in the bath. However I have found them in other places in the house on occasion such as in the living/kitchen and in the wardrobe. The property I live in is more than 100 years old.

I have attached two photos. One in a bath and one of two beetles in a jar.

I have also seen one play dead and allowed me to scope into the jar without any movement at all.

Any help you could provide in identifying them would be much appreciated.



Dear Chris - Unfortunately, the resolution of your images is not sufficient for me to make a positive identification. The good news is that they do not appear to be anything that would pose a serious threat to anything in your home (such as woodworms); the worst case scenario is that they might be something that could infest food items stored in your pantry, see http://tinyurl.com/6qmzkm for some examples. If you can obtain clearer close-up images of your 'house guests,' please attach them to a follow-up question. The vast majority of insects found indoors usually will turn out to be accidental intruders that will cause no harm.

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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