Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Mystery Black Bug


black bug 1
black bug 1  

black beg 2
black beg 2  
I recently did a deap cleaning of my car after learning a client has beg bugs and found the following bug in the carpet, two dead and one moving.  They were all in different locations with one dead all the way in my cargo area.  The client was not in my car long so I found it odd that bugs would be transferred.  Does this look like a bed bug, I originally thought so but each bug was very dark and black very different from the brownish red color I have seen while researching beg bugs.  Please help.

Hi, Alena:

Thank you for including the images with your question.  Rest assured these are not bed bugs.

The insect shown is a "carpet beetle" of some kind, probably genus Trogoderma in this case.

All carpet beetles in the family Dermestidae have a similar life cycle.  Adults are not really pests, and some are even pollinators of flowers.  The *larvae* on the other hand....

Larvae of carpet beetles feed on all manner of dried animal products, including but not limited to:  dry pet food, cured meats, taxidermy mounts, wool linens and garments, silks, furs, insect collections (including mine!), even the shed hair and skin flakes of people and pets.  It takes very little to sustain them.

Cleaning your car and keeping it that way is the best way to keep carpet beetles under control (it is virtually impossible to exclude them completely, so even the cleanest of homes and vehicles may occasionally have carpet beetles).

Store all vulnerable foodstuffs, including dry pet food, in glass, metal, or durable plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.  Store woolens, silks, furs and the like in a cedar chest.  Cedar has proven repellent qualities and is non-toxic.  

Forget mothballs (naphthelene is totally ineffective) and moth crystals (paradichlorobenzene is at least a *potential* carcinogen).  Cleanliness and proper storage are your best weapons.

Hope this gives you peace of mind.  I'm glad you are aware of bed bugs, and taking proper precautions to avoid them in your own travels (always inspect your lodging thoroughly before settling in, keep your luggage off the floor).

Take care, thank you for your query.



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.

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

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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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