Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Bug Identification


QUESTION: Hi -- I would love to know what bug this is. I had bite marks on one arm far apart 4 days ago, and fearing bedbugs, I called in an inspector with a trained dog. He found nothing. Then two days later, I had bites in a row on my abdomen. I had a different inspector with a different dog, and this one did a thorough inspection in addition to the dog finding nothing. She took apart my platform bed completely, stood up the mattress (which has been covered with a plastic bedbug/allergen protector for 6 months), and spent 40 minutes checking for bugs, feces, or casings -- nothing. Later in the day, when I went to put the bed back together, I saw three extremely tiny bugs crawling on the protective plastic cover of the mattress. I put clear tape on it and rushed it in a bag to the inspector. The dog did not alert to sniffing it, and the inspector looked under a magnifier and said he was sure it wasn't a bedbug. It's hard to see in the photo, but it's very tiny, maybe half a mm?

ANSWER: Susan,

There's no image attached. Did you intend to attach an image?

Jack DeAngelis

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QUESTION: Whoops, I sure did, sorry. It's a JPG but doesn't go through. As soon as I click on Attach Image, it says Cancel Image Upload. I don't know how to fix it, darn.

The image is small and blurry but it looks like a psocid (booklouse). These small insects are not related to true lice and do not bite. They often occur in damp areas because they feed on mold and occasionally infest dry food. Also, there are many things that can cause marks that resemble bug bites (see http://www.livingwithbugs.com/unknown_bug_bites.html for a list) including many allergies. If the bite marks continue I'd talk with your doctor about the possibility of allergies.

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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