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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Are these bed bug skins?


Skin cast 1
Skin cast 1  

These look different?
These look different?  
Okay, so I moved in with my folks for a few months while my new house is being built. I have a big bug phobia and bed bugs are basically my worst nightmare, I check thoroughly for them in hotels etc. A friend of parents recently discovered he has bed bugs so naturally I decided to check their bed, he doesn't stay over but they see him often. I found a few bugs which my pest guy who has always seemed very knowledgeable said were absolutely not bed bugs and he found no excrement etc. I am still weary...couldn't find anymore live ones but found these cast skins. The first looks like a carpet beetle larvae but the others? I don't know. Please help!

Dear Kristin - Your first image indeed appears to show the cast skin of a carpet beetle or close relative in the family Dermestidae. The objects in the second image are not identifiable (at least by me), but at least I can say is that they are NOT bed bug skins! If they are insect-related at all, they might be the remains of a very small caterpillar.
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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