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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Tiny sesame seed bugs in house and on body


Brown specks being found
Brown specks being fou  
I recently had a wall in my bedroom demolished due to water damage. Once we moved our furniture, we discovered tons of mold on the wall. Needless to say, once demolition began, we were disgusted to find tons of mold on the insulation too. Although the people doing the work tried to cover our carpet, dust and debris got everywhere!!! I've been finding these tiny, sesame seed size debris. I'm not certain if they are mites, lice, termites, or droppings from one of these insects. They don't seem to move,  but I find them on the floor, my skin,  pillow, and even on comb after running it through my hair. We have also found tiny, white specks moving on furniture, cell phones, and dog toys.
I've been vacuuming and mopping like crazy, but I still find them:(
Please help!
-Jes (NYC)

Dear Jes - Unfortunately, I can see no details in your image that would enable me to discern whether or not they were insects or even insect-related. As for the moving 'specks,' possibilities include mites and booklice, both of which may feed on mold. I suggest that you use a moistened toothpick, Q-Tip or similar object to place some of them into a small container of rubbing alcohol and submit the specimens to your local office of Cornell University's Cooperative Extension Service (see for contact information). Someone there should be able either to assist in identification and provide any necessary control recommendations, or forward the specimens to the appropriate Cornell University office. Extension service offices usually are a good 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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