Entomology (Study of Bugs)/little black beetles?


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QUESTION: I recently moved to southern Texas, and I've seen some large things since then (a couple of scorpions and giant cockroaches), there are some tiny black beetle-like critters roaming my house. I've seen them mostly in my bedroom and bathroom (on the first floor) and yesterday on the stairs (close to the bottom). During the night, I woke up to one crawling on me. I turned on my light and checked around the room--found one on the carpet, one near my bed on the floor, and one in the bathroom. This morning I found another one crawling from the direction of the kitchen to my bedroom door (near the kitchen). These things are black, have hard shells, six legs, three distinct body parts, and when I put them in a bottle and they rattle around. The three I caught in the bottle during the night were huddled together this morning. I'd say they're about half a centimeter in length.

ANSWER: Laura,

These are one of the carpet beetles (several species), possibly the black carpet beetle. See http://www.livingwithbugs.com/carpet_beetle.html for a related species. They infest dry foods like dry pet food, cereals, grains and so forth. They are harmless and very common but large numbers can be annoying. See the page cited above for control info and post a follow up if you have questions.

Jack DeAngelis

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks so, so much for answering! Is there anything that would make them attracted to humans? I mean, I've woken up twice in the past twenty-four hours to two different ones walking on me. They haven't bitten and they're really slow. (Seeing them on my bed had concerned me that I had bed bugs, but they don't look anything like the pictures of bed bugs.)

Again, thank you!!

The source may be near the bed such as spilled food. Check around the bed. Even a small amount of dry pet food for example, or a discarded cookie, can produce and lot of beetles. They are not attracted to us per se but won't avoid us either.

Jack DeAngelis

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Jack DeAngelis


I can answer questions in any area of entomology (study of insects, spiders, mites, ticks, and other terrestrial arthropods). Contact me about home and garden insects, insects that bite and sting, and insects that damage homes such as carpenter ants and termites.


20 years as university extension entomologist, now retired; currently publish a website about home and garden insects.

see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html

Ph.D. in Entomology

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