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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Tiny black winged bugs in bed-do not suspect bed bugs


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QUESTION: Hey there! I have recently noticed these very slow moving TINY TINY bugs in my bed. It wasn't until I put one on my finger that I realized it had wings not seen at first. I took a photo of it and zoomed in as far as I could. It looks as though it has 6 legs and a distinct body. I live in coastal Virginia within Hampton Roads and have indoor plants and a dog. Please help!

ANSWER: Hi, Kayla:

Thanks for including the pictures....

The most I can tell you is that it is a beetle of some sort, probably either a flour beetle (Tribolium sp.) or some sort of grain beetle (Silvanidae family).  Without putting it under a microscope, I really can't be certain.

I know of no beetles that pose a health threat to pets or people, but you should probably check dry pet food, and the rest of the pantry items, for signs of an infestation.  Store all vulnerable foodstuffs, including dry pet food, in glass, metal, or durable plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.  That will help exclude pests, and/or contain an infestation.  Many products can be infested when you buy them, unfortunately.



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QUESTION: Thank you so much for getting back to me!

Considering there a few of them (about 10) I have found in my bed, is this normal? My bedroom is pretty far from the kitchen and I feel like it's a bizarre place to find them.


Most beetles can fly, and quite well at that, so getting from one room to another is no problem.  They may also be coming indoors from outside, attracted to the lights at night or something.  Again, without seeing an actual specimen, I can't tell you for certain what they are.

You might take some intact specimens to a local entomologist at a university (Va Tech has an entomology department), natural history museum (in Charlottesville If I recall correctly), county extension agent (Cooperative Extension Service, usually with an office in the county seat), or even the public health department (vector control will have at least one staff entomologist).  He or she can then put them under a microscope and render a more informed verdict on their identity.

Good luck.


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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.

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One of the top 50 experts in all categories for, 2009.

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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.

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