Entomology (Study of Bugs)/bugs EVERYWHERE!


I recently moved into an apartment in Southeast Idaho, and we have a major bug problem.

The bugs seem to be tiny black beetles. They leave a tiny brown dot (you can see it in the picture next to the bug) anywhere they spend some time. As far as I can tell, our doorway is the only one in the complex covered in little brown dots. We talked to the landlord, and he said we can't exterminate for them because they just fly away. He gave us some spray that "kills on contact," but it didn't phase these bugs.

Sometimes I'll brush them off the wall with a tissue and notice a weird smell. The smell is also on my hand any time I brush a bug off of something. They also seem pretty indestructible. I've tried to squish them, but it doesn't work.

They show up in masses when it's warm out, but they are so here when it's cold out.

What are they? Is there anything we can do to get rid of them?


If you had intended to attach an image with your question, it did not come through; and, without at least some kind of clear, fairly detailed visual clue, I cannot possibly give you a definitive answer.  It would be irresponsible of me to guess.

There are many, many types of true bugs in the order Hemiptera, suborder Heteroptera, that produce odors and gather in masses such as you describe, usually seeking shelter for the coming winter.  These include several species that are not native to North America but that have become established here.

I would strongly suggest collecting intact specimens and taking them to a local entomologist at a university (U of Idaho in your case), natural history museum, state department of agriculture office, or Cooperative Extension Service office (usually located in the county seat), even the public health department (vector control division will have at least one staff entomologist).  He or she can then put the specimens under a microscope, give you a positive identification, and recommend control measures.

You have my best wishes for a swift and conclusive outcome.



Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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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 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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