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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/pellets in bed - Please Help!


Pellets close up
Pellets close up  
pellets under covers
pellets under covers  
QUESTION: These cylindrical pellets were in my bed 3 nights in a row, right under the area I was sleeping (under duvet and sheet). I vacuumed, washed sheets, put on clean pj's, went to sleep and they were there when I got up the next morning. Can you identify from these photos? Last night I slept on the couch and went back in the morning to check under the sheets but there was nothing. Tonight I am going to sleep in the bed again but I am nervous! Please help! I'm in Vancouver, Canada.

ANSWER: Dear Cheryl - Although I cannot tell you exactly what these are, I can tell you that they are not rodent droppings of any kind, nor do they look like the droppings (frass) of any common household insect pest that I know of. If you should encounter any more, please note the exact circumstance(s), take more close-up photos, and resubmit.

Hope this helps a little,

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

pellets on sheet
pellets on sheet  

smaller specs on pillow
smaller specs on pillo  
QUESTION: Hi Saugy. Thanks for your feedback. Last night I slept in the bed again after thoroughly vacuuming the entire room, under the bed, headboard, edges of the mattress. This morning I woke to find more pellets right under the area I was sleeping. The only difference is that there were some on the pillow as well. I didn't do close up photos but they looked exactly the same as the others. A friend was asking about silverfish droppings? Or termite? So far it only appears when I sleep in the bed. Thanks for your help!

Dear Cheryl - First off, my apologies for the delay in answering, I did not have time to reply this morning before leaving on a caving trip. That aside, I still do not have a definitive answer; I have never seen a good image of silverfish droppings, but I have heard them described as resembling pepper flakes, and finding them in the situation would seem a bit unusual for them, given their habits. The only termite droppings that might occur where you are finding these mystery objects would be those of drywood termites, and those have a very distinctive shape - see for some images.
  About the only other suggestion I have at this point is that if you have a suspended ceiling in your bedroom or an attic space over it, that you examine those spaces for any debris that might be kicked out/knocked down by rodent/insect activity.
Wish I had better news,

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad


Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.


21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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