Entomology (Study of Bugs)/bugs biting at night


QUESTION: Hi Jack - I am getting bitten in bed by something and I live in NYC.  I found a small beetle in my bed after getting a few bites one morning - it had wings and kept trying to fly away.   I have attached a photo - it is difficult to capture the detail.  It has a couple of brown spots on the body.  I have seen more of these flying around the apartment and many of them keep flying around me during the day.  

I also found a spider beetle in my laundry basket.  I saved both and showed them to the exterminator. The exterminator immediately said it was the spider beetle and sprayed around the baseboards.  I did a search and it sounds like spider beetles don't bite.   I am consistently getting bitten almost nightly, often times under my clothes and often on many different body parts.  But sometimes in groups of 2.   I'm also finding no evidence of bed bugs.  I have bright white sheets and mattress cover and am not seeing spots or casings on either.  

The only other thing I will add is that I would not be surprised if there are mice in the building.  And there is an active pigeons nest on one of my neighbors windows.  I have many neighbors with pets. So I also wonder if it could be mites.

I have been vacuuming my throw rug and hard wood floors daily.  And did a thorough cleaning of my room, behind furniture, in the closet, etc.  

Do spider beetles bite to your knowledge?   Do bed bugs feed regularly every night?  

Any thoughts on if the beetle could be the culprit or what else it could be?

Thank you in advance for your help.

ANSWER: Roberta,

I can't see enough detail to id but since there are no beetles that bite as you describe (not even spider beetles) an id may not matter in this case. The bird/rodent/nest mites can bite at night, see http://www.livingwithbugs.com/bird_mites.html for a picture. These mites are usually fairly easy to detect since they are large enough to see with the unaided eye. Bed bugs are also easy to diagnose by checking the mattress, see http://www.livingwithbugs.com/bed_bug.html for ways to detect bed bug activity. If you have not been able to find a culprit the last option is to consider allergies. Allergies can closely resemble "bug bites". Hope this helps.

Jack DeAngelis

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QUESTION: Thanks, Jack.   Do you think that natural grade diatomaceous earth can be useful in getting rid of mites and other bugs?

Probably not in this case. DE is sometimes useful for crawling pests like cockroaches (see http://www.livingwithbugs.com/diatomaceous.html) when you can identify areas where they move. In the case of the bird/rodent/nest mites general cleaning (to remove the mites) is usually a better option.

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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