Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Help! Bugs


I hope you can help me in identifying some critters that started lurking in our condo.  We've always kept the place beyond clean since we've lived here for the last five years.  

I've never seen these types of bugs until most recently that they are crawling up the walls and in my bathroom floor.   Since wiping down my room with virox wipes (clearing out a few old shoe boxes that have been in my carpet room for the last year), they're appearing all over the place :(

Hope you can help me in identifying these bugs!
In desperate need of advice on how to tackle this issue.

I've attached a link to an album here with the photos (more than two).


Thank you so very kindly,

ANSWER: Dear Gerald - You have two different types of household pests here, grain/granary weevils in the genus Sitophilus and dermestids (skin/carpet beetles) in the genus Attagenus (black carpet beetles and allies). Grain weevils attack mainly whole seeds such as wheat, rice, corn (maize), bird seed, etc., and usually gain entry to homes through the purchase of products already infested. This infestation may not be visible at the time of purchase if the beetles are still in the larval stage within the seeds. In spite of their common name, carpet beetle larvae will feed on an extremely wide range of organic materials in addition to fabrics containing wool, silk, or other animal-derived products, including the small accumulations of dead insects sometimes found in light fixtures, behind baseboards, etc. The adult beetles themselves are harmless pollen feeders, and often enter homes on cut flowers or other floral displays.
   See http://tinyurl.com/bw2oa8f http://tinyurl.com/cff3o6r and http://tinyurl.com/yun78p for some general control recommendations for granary weevils and carpet beetles, respectively.

Hope this helps,

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

Thanks so much for letting me know the bug types.  Should I be worried about the grain weevils attacking me if it lands on my bed or skin?   I will certainly be checking all my kitchen drawers tonight for the source of the grain weevils as they started to appear about two weeks ago.  Are there any remedies for them for permanent removal? Or should I throw away all grains/rice/soy beans/fruits/tea packets in ziplock bags in my kitchen area then wipe down with virox wipes and call a pest control company?   I took out close to 10 when they started crawling on my walls after using the Virox wipes on my floors. I think the chlorine smell triggered them to disburse - yet I still need to find ground zero.  I was a bit amazed how one of the grain weevils escaped my mini ziplock bag this morning.

Sorry to trouble you but for the carpet beetle larvae that is most notably in the carpets, would moth balls work in preventing them from eating my closet? or any remedies that you could suggest?  (I'm assuming carpet vacuuming/switching to hardwood floor?)  

You are one terrific entomologist!  

Dear Gerald - If you follow the guidelines in the last two citations in my earlier answer (http://tinyurl.com/cff3o6r and http://tinyurl.com/yun78p), that should pretty much take care of things. Calling in a pest controller IMHO would be justified only in cases of extremely heavy infestations of long standing. Routine vacuuming of carpeted areas and along baseboards certainly would help keep carpet beetle populations at a minimum. I'm not sure how much good mothballs would do in a closet, but it might help to put some in with woolen/silk clothing items that are going to be stored for an extended period of time.
  As for the grain weevils (or any other stored food pests for that matter), simply clear out all pantry areas and thoroughly clean the shelving and any crevices where shelves and walls/sides of the pantry meet, discard any items definitely found to be infested (we use our fireplace for this purpose!), and then keep all infestable items either in sealable insect-proof glass, metal. or plastic containers or in a refrigerator/freezer. Several years ago, we were plagued with an infestation of Indianmeal moths, but since following those guidelines ourselves, there has been no recurrence.

Good luck with your endeavors,

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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