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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Mystery bathroom invader

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Question
Bug
Bug  
Hi there! I live in Des Moines, Iowa. Recently I've been noticing these little tiny, almost reddish colored bugs. Mainly in the bathroom near the sink, but I found a few crawling on the walls as well. They are very tiny, with small antenna. We had an invasion of springtails earlier this summer, but they look much different than these. I attached a photo, so hopefully that helps. I'm paranoid about creepy crawlies! And my google searches are coming up empty. Any idea what these are? Thanks in advance!!

Answer
Hi, Claire:

The picture is not terribly detailed, but it looks to be some kind of beetle, of which there are many potential household suspects.  All are collectively known as "stored product pests" because they can infest everything from flour to medicines.

You may want to browse this website to see if you can find a match:

http://spiru.cgahr.ksu.edu/db/insect/search_results.asp

Meanwhile, do look in the medicine cabinet, pantry, dry pet food, birdseed, etc, and see if you can find the source of the infestation.  Dispose of any infested products.  Store all vulnerable foodstuffs (including dry pet food) in glass, metal, or durable plastic containers with tight-fitting lids to prevent future problems.

There is little you can do if the product is already infested when you make the purchase, but I would report such instances to the grocery store and manufacturer so you get a refund and they know that they have a problem in their processing line.

Lastly, as far as I know, no stored product beetle pest is a threat to your health or the health of pets....BUT, in some instances they can be an indicator of mold or fungi, and those organisms CAN be very dangerous.

Eric

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

Publications
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.

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

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
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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