Entomology (Study of Bugs)/What is this insect?


Insect in question
Insect in question  
Just recently discovered these tiny things flying around in my building. Are they harmful? Will there be a lot more coming? Ie I've had bad problems with japenese beetles and termite swarms will it get bad like that?

This looks like a carpet beetle (Coleoptera: Dermestidae) in the genus Anthrenus, such as the varied carpet beetle (Anthrenus verbasci). The beetles themselves are harmless pollen feeders, but their larvae feed on an incredibly wide variety of organic matter, including woolen/silk fabrics, furs, feathers, taxidermy mounts, accumulations of dead insects such as found in light fixtures or behind baseboards, and some dry stored food products. This makes control rather difficult, as one must locate the larval food source in order to effect complete control. See http://tinyurl.com/yun78p for a publication that gives some control recommendations.
Hope this helps,

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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