You are here:

Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Need help identifying tiny black bugs


Black bug
Black bug  
These very tiny black bugs have started showing up in my condo over the last week & I can't tell what they are. I usually see them at night when I'm lying in bed and they are just crawling on the sheet. Also sometimes I see them in the kitchen on the wall. They do fly sometimes but I usually just see them crawling. I have a few bites on one of my legs but they don't itch or anything. They are just tiny red dots. The bugs are so tiny they are probably like only a centimeter long. I live in Ohio. Thanks for any help you can give me in identifying these.

Hi, Shaina:

Thank you for including the clear image with your question.  I know how small these beetles are and that is a remarkable image considering that.

You have either "Drugstore Beetles" or "Cigarette Beetles," both in the family Anobiidae (recently re-classified as Ptinidae).  They are considered "stored product pests" of non-perishable foods and other substances in the pantry.  Here's more:

Note that chemical treatment is seldom effective in eradicating these beetles; nor is it advisable to use toxins in the kitchen where there is risk of contaminating food.  Be sure to check on dry pet food as a possible source of the infestation, along with human food.

As far as I know, the beetles themselves, and their larvae, pose no threat to human health, though they could set the stage for mold or fungal infections that *are* potentially dangerous to people.  So, it is highly recommended to throw out any infested items.

Store all vulnerable foods in glass, metal, or durable plastic containers with tight-fitting lids. Even plastic does not always deter a determined beetle, but cardboard, cellophane, and other flimsy containers offer *no* resistance.

Best wishes for a successful resolution!


Entomology (Study of Bugs)

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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.

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

©2017 All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]