You are here:

Entomology (Study of Bugs)/I need to know what type of bug this is.


Bug like the ones i have
Bug like the ones i ha  

Bug on my bed
Bug on my bed  
A few days ago I saw a gross bug on my pillow a little ways from my arm. I killed it and continued on with my life. But then, that kept happening over and over and over, so I got mad and brought in some bug spray to kill them as I saw them. Eventually, I started moving when I saw them and would find more under the pillow or running away on the bed behind me. When my can of bug spray ran out I knew there was a problem so I brought in my ortho home defense spray and used that. I thought I was clean before I got comfy and one showed up on my pillow. Again. Now, I've picked up both mattresses (they're situated on the floor) and sprayed under and around them. Since the bottom one has a rip I sprayed inside it as well. I put them back and soaked the edges and top of the bed. I must've killed at least 10 during the process that I saw out in the open. While doing that I found gross black stains under the edges of mainly two of the corners. I think that's where they used the bathroom because it's on the corners closest to the wall and the one clean corner is the only one not by a wall. After I sprayed I moved over to a friends bed to chill. I nodded off and when I woke up I had to kill 4 that were running away from me. It seems like they only come out when I'm asleep or I suppose sitting still since they showed up while I was chilling on my computer first. Im sure they've been biting me since im itchy- on my arms, wrists, shoulders, and lower back sometimes. Now I know that when I see one I need to Get Up because there will be more. I live in Portsmouth, Virginia and they show up around 11:00, at least that's when I see them. Most could fit on my finger and they seem round but not quite. They're all brown. My grandma is convinced they're bed bugs but the treatment isn't quite working and I want to be fully sure what they are before I treat them as bed bugs. One of the pictures is one I found on the internet that's closest to mine; the second is one I photographed on my bed. Sorry for the bad quality. I need to know what kind of bugs these are so I can get rid of them. Quite frankly they are pissing me off and seeing them makes me all the more angry. Please answer as soon as you can.

Hi, Kelley:

I cannot glean enough from your own image to tell what the object or organism might be; the image from the internet is definitely a bed bug.

The other observations you have shared are also in line with bed bug behavior and signs (stains on mattresses, box springs.

I would take specimens to a local entomologist for positive identification.  Try a natural history museum, university (not sure if Virginia Tech is close, but they have a terrific entomology department), state department of agriculture office, County Extension Agent (Cooperative Extension Service), or even the public health department (vector control division will have at least one staff entomologist).  He or she can then put the critter under a microscope and give you a concrete verdict.

Here is my blog post about bed bugs that might also be helpful:

If you travel, you *must* inspect your lodging accommodations before settling in.  Most folks with bed bugs at home "contracted" them from travels, or the travels of a spouse or roommate.  Multi-family dwellings mean the potential for multiple bed bug recruitment events.

Should you have bed bugs, heat treatment is the most effective answer.  It is expensive, but it does not usually require more than one treatment.

Please feel free to come back to me as you go through this process.  Please do *not* depend on a pest control company to make the identification of your insect.  You need an unbiased opinion first.  Good luck, happy holidays!



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.

©2016 All rights reserved.