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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/unidentified bug in my bed


Hi. I just moved to an apartment in Baltimore, Maryland from out of state. I found a dead bug in my bed this morning and am concerned that it could be a bed bug. It doesn't look like the pictures I've seen on the internet though (it's not flat, does not have ridges). In any case, I'd like to know what it is (or isn't). I have not seen any evidence of bed bug droppings in my bedding, although I had a few itchy spots on my skin over the past week. This bug is shiny, a dark brown or black. It's body is pretty rounded in appearance. I'm sorry I can't manage a higher quality picture. Thanks for your time.

Dear Kathryn - This most definitely is not a bed bug. The overall shape and appearance is consistent with it being a spider beetle (Coleoptera: Anobiidae; subfamily Ptininae). They basically are nuisance pests that occasionally may infest dry stored food products. See for a fact sheet with more information, including control recommendations, on these beetles.

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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