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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Possible bed bug or carpet beetle?


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QUESTION: Hello, I found about a dozen of these insects on my sheets and then started noticing them on my carpeted stairs.

They are 1-2mm in length and have a white spot on the abdomen, with only 6 legs. I live in North Carolina.

ANSWER: Justin,

This is not a bed bug or a carpet beetle but I can't see it clearly enough to be certain of an id. Do you have dog(s) in the house? Do they sleep on the bed where you found some of these? It looks like a tick but again I can't see enough detail to be certain. Post a follow up and I'll help you figure this out.

Jack DeAngelis'

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Thanks for ruling out the bed bug. That had me worried.

I do have an indoor-outdoor cat, and I just ran late on her monthly frontline medication, so ticks might be a possibility. The strange thing is that they haven't tried to bite me, and they are all of roughly uniform size. I've attached a few more photos.

They don't swarm and seem spread out. They look like small gray-glossy beads on my carpet and are easily mistaken for dirt. I picked up one and it got away from me (mild jump), but otherwise they are pretty complacent.  Another did exhibit some digging into the carpet as I tried to fish it out. No bites on me, as far as I can tell.

Would you recommend taking my cat to the vet to see if they find any engorged ticks?

Thanks again for helping me with this!

The more I look at these the more they look like ticks. You might want to collect a few into alcohol (use the damp Q-tip) and take them to your county Extension office. The county office will send the sample to NC State where they have a good insect id clinic (with microscopes!). There's probably no need to go to the vet but I would re-treat with Frontline and comb well before application. Sorry I can't be more definite.

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.


Ph.D. in Entomology

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