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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/little bugs on Window sills


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We just started seeing these little black or brown bugs on our window sills.  They seem to be dead but if you look closely sometimes you'll see one with its legs moving.  They all seem to be lying on their backs.  One point to reference is that we have firewood in our house.  We have recently brought in Applewood and Oak that has been drying in our back yard.  We have had a wood stove for 3 years and this is the first year that we've ever used Applewood and the first year that we've ever seen these little bugs.  I don't think they are anywhere else in our house, except the window sills in the living room, where the wood is located and also on a small window sill at the top of the stairs right above where the wood is kept.  Wait... I decided to look and there are a few on the window sills in our first floor... 2-5 per window sill.  We don't see things flying around, so I'm not sure how they get to the window sills... your help and advice on how to get rid of them (besides vacuuming them up) would be greatly appreciated.  (i attached 2 pics and tried to upload a movie where you can see the legs moving.  It would not upload so let me know if you want me to email it to you)

Hi, Vicki:

Happy New Year!

Thanks for including the images with your question, but with such small beetles, it doesn't help much.  I *can* rule out carpet beetles, and indeed confirm that these things are likely wood-borers of some kind.  Here are the possible suspects:

Family Ptinidae (subfamily Anobiinae) is most likely in my opinion:

Family Curculionidae (subfamily Scolytinae):

Family Bostrichidae (which tend to be a bit larger than what you show here):

Not much you can do except keep your firewood *outside* until you are ready to burn it.  Still, the likelihood of the beetles boring into furniture or baseboards is relatively remote.  You see them on the window sill because they orient to the sunlight and are trying to disperse outdoors.

Hope this helps.



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Eric R. Eaton


I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.


Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

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One of the top 50 experts in all categories for, 2009.

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Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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