Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Mystery bug


Hello Ed,

I came across this site looking at pics of small bugs..   Ok so my story I have a scare of bed bugs going on right now.. But the bug I keep seeing does not look like the pictures I have seen... And I have seen this random bug in my house for around 2 years and there had been no mysterious bites until now. There is not a ton of the bug like I see one then maybe a week or two later another...  Recently I have seen alot more but then like I said I'm on a bug hunt since I think I have bed bugs also. The bug is so small I couldn't count the legs or anything.  I hope the pic will help.

Dear Holly - I cannot be absolutely certain from your image, but it could be a carpet beetle (and definitely NOT a bed bug!). If this is the case, you also should be finding at least an occasional larva or shed 'skin' of one. Go to http://tinyurl.com/y36wnwu and look at the information there that includes images of some larvae along with advice on control of these pests. If after reviewing this material you believe that you have something other than carpet beetles, I suggest that you take some examples of what you find to your county office of Illinois' Cooperative Extension Service (see http://tinyurl.com/3wha9bx for links to contact information) for assistance in identification as well as any necessary control advice. Extension Service offices usually are an excellent resource when dealing with most home/yard/garden pest problems.

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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