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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Identity of Small White Bug


Dear Jack:

Your opinion is sought as to the identity of a small white bug that was seen crawling in the afternoon on a desk in a corner office in an office building located in New York City.

The bug was very small in size and white-ish in color. The occupant photographed the bug with a cell phone camera. When the occupant thereafter tried to contain the bug by placing a small jar over it, the bug seemed to hop upward from the desk while contained in the jar. A copy of the photograph is attached. The bug was ultimately captured and enclosed in the jar.

Two previous events may bear on the analysis. First, a few hours before the sighting, the occupant brought a newly-purchased plant into the office, placing it a few feet away from where the bug was sighted. Second, several days previously, in another office on the same floor over 100 feet away, another employee received a thick file from an outside sender. When that employee opened the file, a bug emerged that seemed to have the reddish-brown appearance of an adult bedbug.

Concern exists that the whitish bug seen in the corner office might be a bed bug nymph. It has also been suggested that the bug might simply be a book louse.

Any opinions that you might be able to offer or other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your attention.


I'm going out on a limb and guessing this is a law office:). The bug in the photograph is not a bed bug nymph but I can't see enough detail to id further. It appears to be a mite, not a booklouse, and may well have fallen off the plant that was brought into the office. See for photos of bed bugs, the young look like adults except smaller. If you can get a closer, more detailed photo I'd be glad to take another look.

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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