What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

bed bugs? please help
Location: wa
April 17, 2012 6:19 pm
hi my name is josh i have no idea about bed bugs we have been seeing there pod looking things for a couple of weeks now just on out sheets none on the matress it self and we do sleep with a yorkie that just started going outside and has all her shots and we gave her flea treatmeant the night before and a bath and the next day i found these all over the sheet and but them all together and tooks some pics and i have no idea what they are can your please help me thank you i hate not knowing what it is
Signature: josh

Sesame Seeds or Tapeworm segments???

Hi Josh,
Though there has been a significant rise in the occurrence of Bedbugs in recent years, the internet hysteria on the topic is greatly disproportional.  Do you eat sesame bagels in bed very often?  These are sesame seeds and you are not the first person who has contacted us with this paranoia.  See this account from our archives which is the second most popular posting on our site.

Correction:  January 29, 2018
After receiving more than a few hostile comments challenging our knowledge and credibility in this matter, we concede we were hasty in jumping to the conclusion that these might be sesame seeds, a conclusion we made after a prior posting that more than likely were sesame seeds as the submitter admitted “We have no pets” and “Realize, suddenly, you were EATING SESAME SEED CRACKERS IN EACH OF THE DISCOVERY LOCATIONS.”  Indications are that in this particular posting, what we initially mistook for sesame seeds are more than likely Tapeworm Segments (prolottids) like the ones pictured on Kentucky Pest News with the caption “Tapeworm segments (prolottids) can be found where pets sleep. The tapeworm eggs in the segments can be ingested by developing flea larvae.”  Our editorial staff never claimed to be entomologists, and we frequently respond with a disclaimer that we are not qualified to dispense medical advice.  We have no legitimate credentials to identify insects, and we have no shortage of misidentifications on our site.  We turn to experts when they are available, and we frequently defer to comments correcting our mistakes.  Our mission has always been to promote tolerance of the lower beasts and to educate the public regarding the interconnectivity of all creatures with whom we share our fragile planet.  Still the internet trolls post hateful and insulting comments seeking to discredit any benefits we might provide.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Washington

54 Responses to What appeared to be Sesame Seeds are likely Tapeworm Segments

  1. sauermk97 says:

    I’m not going to say I know for sure what your issue is, because I am not an expert. However, I can tell you I had something similar to what you are describing several years ago. I found out that those little sesame seeds were coming from my cats rectum. He slept on my bed, and yes they were all over my bed, including up by my head on my pillow. Can you say grossed out? They are segments of some sort of intestinal worm that is transmitted to the animal via fleas. I can’t recall exactly what parasite worm it is, but I took the cat to the vet and got him on some medicine and low and behold the sesame seeds stopped. Good luck. Repost when you find out for sure what it is. I’d be interested to see if I am right on this.

    • bugman says:

      Thank you for your perspective and experience in this matter. We hadn’t even considered the possibility of sloughed off segments of a parasitic, intestinal worm. The photos are not perfectly focused and that might be a good possibility. We still favor the sesame seeds in this case, but it will be interesting to see if the person who submitted the question follows up with us.

      • Ashley says:

        It is definetely tape worm segmants im going through the same thing righf now! Who ever runs this site is extremely ignorant dor just telling people their just eating food in their bed!

        • bugman says:

          The staff of What’s That Bug? is greatly appreciative that you have showered your brilliance upon us. We feel blessed by your comment. We thank you heartily for broadcasting to the web browsing public, on our own site, that we are ignorant. Please tell us where you were so well schooled in the nuances of the English language so that we too can take advantage of an education so critical of spelling and good grammar.

          • BigDawg says:

            But hurt much? LOL I also agree. Saying that these are sesame seeds based on just a picture is worthless. They are not sesame seeds. This site sucks. Nobody knocked your use of the English language. They were knocking your bogus fact finding skill. Which is 0. Site sucks.

          • Caysea says:

            Not only are you ignorant, you are rude. Someone reaches out to you for help and without even an attempt at investigating this reader’s issue – pictures included for your convenience – you treat him or her with embarrassing sarcasm. Where were you schooled in social etiquette and manners? Or were you? A simple search of the World Wide Web and you would see that these “seeds” are in fact dead parasite segments. Your loyal reader needs to take the cat to a vet to be dewormed. Hopefully THIS will help anyone else who stumbles upon your worthless site.

          • bugman says:

            A Yorkie is a dog, not a cat, so who is the ignorant one now? Try as we might, we cannot find a single insult or incidence of name calling in our response, so who is the rude one lacking in etiquette?

    • Darcy says:

      Definately tapeworm segments. Sorry, gross but easily treated with broad spectrum wormer. Good luck! Darcy

    • Bridgett says:

      They are indeed your cats new Uninvited friend the tapeworm thanks to their nemesis,the Flea! PLEASE do not mistakenly eat them assuming its a sesame seed!!! Luckily i never did either lol. Eww! Actually,i 1st assumption about those were Flea eggs! I was close,but wrong! You and I are apparently not the 1st or only ones questioning wth are these tiny seeds/grains of looking rice im finding in my bed or etc.? Your pet will need to get the appropriate De- worming/worm medication and then they will no longer expel these things around your home and bed hun.

  2. Bugophile says:

    Periodically our inside/outside cat picks up a tapeworm, which results in him shedding segments occasionally in locations where he sleeps a lot. They tend to look more like dried up rice grains than sesame seeds, though.

    • Shannon says:

      Omg …..I have it

      How do you think i got it

      I knew that I am not fckn crazy but my husband has been saying that I am going through a series of events that may have made me think that it was real

  3. samsara says:

    Sauermk97 is exactly right! These are the dried up segments of worm more often found in cat areas, but also with dogs. Yep, disgusting! I’ve had a lot of past experience with this.

    Have your dog de-wormed!

  4. fayebulous says:

    My vet saved me $90. I had the same fear and instantly called a pest control company. I made an appt for them to come out to do the inspection. Luckily, my puppy had a vet appt the next day. Per the vet, my puppy had an intestinal worm. The droppings are eggs from the worm which produce fleas when hatched. 1 pill will clear it up.

    • Lonna says:

      I may not be an expert in science, but I am pretty sure that no matter what circumstances it may be the “egg in droppings” will not produce a flea. Only a flea can produce a flea and that is generally in the fur, not in the intestinal track.

      • Dee says:

        The flea bites an animal and the tapeworm gets into the blood stream . The adult Tapeworms are in the intestines and Shed Tapeworm eggs through the stool.

        • Yaya says:

          Tapeworms are not transmitted through a flea bite. Animals have to swallow the flea in order to get infected. The only worm that is transmitted through the bloodstream (in the case of dogs and cats) is the heartworm via mosquito bite. Not all mosquitoes, just the ones that have bitten an infected dog and picked up the larvae.

  5. JessicA says:

    I”m having the same problem started in the middle of march I got an exterminator he said he had no idea and then I paid $175.00 for a bed bug dog to come and the exterminator said the dog gave a positive bed bug determination my son had a viral rash at the time it now shows but I thought he was getting bit by bugs my kids been back in their room for 5 days no bites those egg things are still showing up on my daughters bed in bunks the cat sleeps with her and I know the cat did have worms when we first got her so its probably right some kind of worm thank you so much I’m taking the cat to the vet tomorrow

  6. Rachel says:

    Something similar was happening to me, and it ended up being beans from a stuffed animal that was leaking.

  7. Tammy says:

    They are without a doubt from worms. We have 3 kittens and it is in their bedding. They have been dewormed and are inside kittens and yet they keep coming back. But yes, they’re from worms.

  8. Lela says:

    Those are eggs from Tapeworms. I foster dogs and see this often. The litter I have now where infested with flease. The dogs bite at the fleas, ingest them which causes the tapeworm. The worming medicine (which you can get from your vet), will kill the tapeworm and cause the eggs to shed when they poop. If the dogs are inside, clean the area were they have pooped very well. 🙂

  9. Amanda says:

    My dog has these little red seed things in his bed he sleeps in between my husbands and my pillows can we get these things? Im getting a vet appt soon

  10. Ray says:

    How can a worm egg hatch and make a flea??!! That is very confusing to say the least. Anyway, I find these exact looking things in my poop. But every time my doctor sends poop to lab. Everything comes back negative. Even when you can visually see them in the poo. Symptomss are constipation, dull belly ache , weight loss, fatigue, mucus in poop. This has been going on for a year. And my doctor just acts like its all in my mind. I had a doctor give me a one time dose of biltricide about 1500 mg. next day I had diary ah . Then everything was quite, no stomach rumbling, no ache. That lasted about a month.and returned with a vengeance . Somebody please help me. Any knowledge will be greatly appreciated. Raydio12@comcast.net

    • Dee says:

      A worm is not making the fleas. Fleas are a carrier of the tapeworms which get into the animas intestines where they shead the tapeworm eggs out through the animals stool.

    • Jules says:

      I am not a dr. but oil of oregano and/or Diatomaceous earth (food grade) is anti- parasitic and dies wonders in a natural way to eliminate intestinal parasites, D.E. can be used in animals mixed in their food, i wouldn’t use oil of oregano in animals though. Humans can take both.

  11. Ramona says:

    Ray, you need to see a GI specialist. Please look at the article below, it covers this whole topic.
    Good luck!

  12. Ray says:

    Hello everyone, just wanted to update you. Those sesame seed looking things turned out to be flea tapeworm eggs. After sending specimens to quest diagnostics twice and both times getting a negative (even though eggs were in plain site) I insisted my doctor send another specimen to a different lab. And Lo and behold . Positive flea tape worm diagnosis!! They say some how that I ingested a flea. That flea had a tapeworm egg. Now my doctor has given me a prescription for 1200mg of biltracide ( praziquantel ), problem is, I was once given this exact drug and dose. It seemed to get better for a month or so then gurgling ,constipation ,dull belly ache, returned. Is it the wrong dose? Should I have taken it with food? As I write this I am looking at the pills. And I just want them to work. Any suggestions guys? Awaiting your reply – Ray

    • Yaya says:

      Sorry I have no idea about human treatment. It’s been a while so hopefully you got that sorted out.

      I just wanted to chime in to clarify for others. You’re wasting your time trying to get a positive tapeworm diagnosis with a fecal exam. The best way to identify a tapeworm infection is when you see the segments being passed in the stool. Sometimes you can even see them moving before they dry out. Which I have. Ew.

      That’s because the eggs are not released directly in the intestines, it’s all confined inside that tapeworm segment that looks like sesame seeds, or rice. If it bursts they’ll spread throughout the stool and they’ll be easy to see under a microscope. Never happened in my experience, but I guess it could. Other parasite eggs (like hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms) are easier to find under a microscope because the eggs are released directly in the intestine.

      So folks, next time you see sesame seeds or rice in your dog’s or cat’s poop, it’s tapeworms. Don’t waste your time with lab tests. Unless you see spaghetti, those are roundworms. Don’t ask me why all the nasty things in the vet world are compared to yummy food! 😛

  13. Ivy says:

    Wow… gross…… wow. I’ve woken up with one of these coming out of a broken tooth TWICE in the last two weeks. I have a cat (a rescue) who I have been fairly certain has at least one parasite if not more. Problem is I lost my home AND job in a shady sale with my boss. Have spent over $6,000 on hotel rooms trying to keep my cat & get both of us into good health. My ENTIRE college fund is gone. My family are all deceased. And my best friend & roommate of 8 years I’m no longer even friends with over him insisting I was being crazy & all this was in my head. Went to the ER 3 MONTHS AGO to have them say it was in my head as well! When all I needed was to run across your website. Uuugh! I knew it wasn’t “in my head”! Good luck Ray & Josh. Thank you guys SOOOO MUCH for the candor! Had you not been so candid I’d still be hopeless!

  14. Emma says:

    @Ray Hi Ray, tapeworm infections are relativly easy to treat, especially outside the united states. You can take Mebendazole, a cheap over the counter drug, 100mg twice a day for 3 days.

  15. Kyle says:

    I had this problem with very similar looking seed and was similarly worried. However, after looking around online and thinking about the source of the seeds I realized I had a seed-filled pillow that was leaking the seeds into the bed very slowly. Some stuffed animals are filled with similar seeds and if either form a small hole they will disperse throughout the bed. If you have a similar pillow or stuffed animal check it out because this is likely the source, not tape worms or bed bugs.

  16. experienced A. says:

    Hate to say, but I cook with sesame seeds, have had pets carry infestations of tapeworms and lived through a nightmare year and a half with a building heavily infested with bedbugs (so bad that they crawled on my walls in daylight – inspected and verified, I’m not crazy.) The pic above shows tapeworm segments. I’ve actually seen a “live” segment “crawl” off my cat’s rear and dry up into that hard little thing that is almost sesame seed like. Moderator, please don’t be so ready to say people are spreading paranoia.

  17. Megan says:

    I’m going through this right now with a puppy I just adopted last week! So gross…waiting on fecal results even though you can clearly see something in her stool samples, plus I brought in what is being left on the bed at night but the vet through the rescue didn’t care to look which I thought was weird.

    Does anyone know why the “seeds” only migrate out at night? I’ve checked the areas she lays in during the day and nothing, but for 3 days in a row I’m waking up to those nasty worm things around where she’s slept.

  18. Jody Mac says:

    I know this may sound unbelievable…but after a 15 months of being called a liar I just don’t care anymore….here goes, I have these exact same seed like things in my bed too, the difference is no pets in my bed.
    These things are always present along with other unknown hard little pieces varying in color size and shape. My life is a tortuous nightmare.
    Oh and there are definitely symptoms . Tingling crawling burning stinging… The whole gamete of agonizing discomfort of which I’ve found no relief. In addition….I’ve been through every available resource which includes the major pest control industry,medical doctors,and two separate entomologists. It’s been disappointing to say the least. Although I have learned its not bed bugs…that fact brought no comfort.
    Truthfully I thought the professionals I sought out would have shown a little more enthusiasm to the prospect of unraveling my mysterious problem.
    I apologize to you all,but I guess finding this site offered some glimmer of hope to find the answers I desperately need.

    • Lexa Lee says:

      I hate to tell you this, and I hope I’m wrong, but your symptoms sound like Morgellons. Morgellons is absolutely not Delusions of Parasitoses, but no one knows definitively what it is. I have those same things that look like sesame seeds around my house. One brole open and out came an irregularly shaped ivory stick with red dots on it, and the black cap was something associated with Morgellons.

  19. patti says:

    please let me know what you have found out, ive been having same thing, plus they seem to have migrated to my body

  20. Sarah says:

    I’m experiencing the same symptoms. I’ve found various species of mites on my own body, ear mites and am another unknown on my cats and then demodex mites along with these sesame seed things on my dog. Talk about infestation. I have also lost friends and been told it’s in my head. The crawling and itching is agonizing. I pick them off and it’s humiliating. I believe I suffer from morgellons and a fungal infection that attracts all sorts of parasites. I believe I have also found some larvae or worms on my skin. I want to jump in a fire or roll in something toxic to rid myself and my home of these ungodly pests. With so many pets, I find it nearly impossible to clear my environment completely. Menthol and cedar oil help as does salt baths nightly and coconut oil.

  21. Jessica says:

    ok something weird is going on over here. I just found out my indoor cat has fleas. Since she is indoor I never knew what to look for. Anyways, I noticed flea or bed bug dander under my mattress pad and some rice like particles. My mom also noticed rice like particles at her house too and my cat was there for a few months. So bed bugs or flea tape worm eggs…the mystery continues. I am having a bed bug sniffing dog come tomorrow.

  22. Jalena says:

    How do you get these eggs if no animals ever present?

  23. Yaya says:

    Humans CAN get tapeworms from eating raw or undercooked meat, fish, etc. It’s not common in first world countries but of course it can happen.

    I found this page because I saw something questionable today. Between working near all sorts of parasites for years, to the hair-raising tapeworm infestation all over my bed thanks to my darling cat about a year ago, and eating an ungodly amount of (also questionable) sushi a few days ago and also a few weeks ago, I don’t like my chances. I don’t care if I’m being a hypochondriac, I’m asking my doc for meds tomorrow. o_O

  24. Laurie says:

    I have been having symptoms for 7 months I have found rice like things in my bedding I have also black thing in bed no bites at all I have seen when I wipe after going don’t mean to be blunt
    I have seen several dr all saying I am crazy now I am seeing same stain in my 7 yr underpants we were treated for pinworm in December everything settled down only to start again I do not do drugs and I am not a hypochondriac
    I am losing my mind
    I am terrified something is inside me
    My repro system is completely out of sync please advise me
    I am growing more desperate

  25. Laurie says:

    Thank you anyone who can help me
    I would rather die than live like this
    Also my child and I have bathed in same water can it have transferred that way

    • Yaya says:

      You need to keep looking for a doctor who will take you seriously, or ask one of them to give you a referral to someone who will, especially a pediatrician for your child. Take gross pictures of evidence if you have to. Ask your friends or family if they know non-judgmental doctors who can help you. I don’t know why they don’t believe you if you already had to be treated for worms.

      It can get more serious than just having gross worms in your GI tract. Some parasites can end up in your eyeballs (like roundworms) or form cysts in your brain. You both need to be properly treated with medications. Unfortunately I wouldn’t trust home remedies for something serious like this.

      Most (all?) intestinal parasites have to be swallowed in order for you to get infected. Maybe if your kid swallowed dirty water either with you or from elsewhere? But just from bathing together? I don’t think so. Some parasites can also be transmitted from contaminated soil, like if your kid plays in the dirt and sticks his dirty fingers in his mouth.

      • Bridgett says:

        My concern is,can these fleas jump into your mouth if your sleeping at night with your mouth open? I know many do as they snore or whatever. They can leap a good distance,ive seen them do it! They may not fly but they certainly are high jumpers! Honestly,everyone says “dont worry,unless you ingest a flea,you have nothing to worry about” and i frankly think thats awfully unrealistic! These suckers can jump into your mouth even if you hug your pet,let alone sleeps with your pets! They can get up your nose,into your eyes or heck maybe up your arse if they manage to be under your covers,so why is it downplayed so much? Had I KNOWN they had worms sooner,i would have treated them that 1st one! But i didnt know! See,i am a lint rolling queen! Lint Rollers are the BEST thing to have in your home regardless if you use it for pet hair,but using it on your furniture,little rugs,bedding and even floors,you get a very GOOD look at what little things are lurking around your home and thats how i found them seeded looking rice things that i found out were tape worms from my cats fleas! Now that i KNOW what it is,it helps so i can treat the cats,but what about me,my husband and my kids now? Do you know how hard it is to not let your cat go anywhere in your home when they always are welcome in your bed and on your furniture? Heck,i cant stop them from jumping onto my kitchen counters if im not around to see it either! This is far more of a problem than most think! A classmate back in school years ago became blind in 1 of her eyes because of fleas,so i know the “what ifs” are! Think this is a bigger problem than most think and i dont think anyone here has lost their minds! Im realistic and anything can happen.

  26. Ruby says:

    maybe came from outside birds too…have seen flea looking lice on birds, but good to know all this info about tape worms. my dogs came in scratching and they had all these black gnats on them then my bed became filled with them, they didn’t bite but just crawled around, but then all these other things started showing up including the sesame seed things, they have been coming out of my mouth when I eat, sorry to be gross, but I have been told by two doctors that I am delusional, and I didn’t know where to turn to get help, I have had parasite testing too and it came back with a negative report, although they covered themselves by saying that does not mean there is not parasites, but we could not find any, and I saw a person in another comment say that happened to them also and after having the specimen sent to another lab besides quest, which I think is my lab, they diagnosed it as cat tape worms…..wow so many of us and this should be a given in the medical world. If there are thousands of us with the same complaints you think that once it was diagnosed that our problem would be a Mcdonald’s drive thru solution, not that we are crazy…..the world will come to an end by parasites and over educated and unknowledgeable doctors….God help us all

  27. Sandi says:

    Dr’s can be so clueless. When my son was 2-4 he had these in his bed every morning. I took them to the doctor and he actually smirked at me and made me feel stupid, insisting they were sesame seeds. I knew otherwise. Finally, after insisting they said he had pinworms. Everyone else says tapeworms. So gross! Anyway, a nasty liquid medicine for the whole family and never saw them again.

    • Vee Austin says:

      Can you please advise what doctor finally listened to you and gave the prescription? I have the same specimens (that look like sesame seeds or corn kernels) come out in my stool, and I have not had any luck with Doctore or labs properly diagnosing me. Pls advise. Thank you.

  28. thejinn says:

    please help me.. i have noticed the same seeds in my stool,sometimes i woke up with abdomen pains, feeling very drained and weak,, please help me get rid of these demons.

  29. thejinn says:

    sandy can you please tell me the name of the liquid medicine,,, please thanks

  30. Jessica the Ravenclaw says:

    Look on the internet to see the difference between sesame seeds and tapeworm segments tapeworm segments are brown like this picture shows real sesame seeds are white the difference between the two you can tell from the picture that Joshua posted that they are tapeworm segments

  31. veronica says:

    anyone know what species of tapeworm this is?

  32. Alain says:

    3 months I went on a short Thailand trip, came back to my new home in Shanghai and had a the top of my right foot swollen and painfully itchy, almost felt like the top part, near my last small toenails was broken. The pain and swelling went away in less than a week.
    then, about a week or so after, came the itching, inside my upper legs, in my back, aisles, then arms, ankles, in my private parts. I started having these weird rashes, would come and go.
    first doctor told me I was dehydrated, my skin was dried up so he game some steroid lotion, and pills to make the itch go away.
    That didn’t work so went to see another doctor. He thought I had either hives, scabies, syphilis. So he gave an antibiotic shot that kills syphilis and other infections. At that time I noticed these larger bug bites, so I thought at that time I really had scabies but there wasn’t any signs on my hands, elbows, although there were red bumps all over my scrotum, on my penis as well, and near my rectal area (sorry for the too much details, gotta give the facts).

    Weeks cam by, I now have at least 50 to 60, if not more bug bites or red pimples, on the sides of my body (mostly the left side) from the upper legs, bum area, thighs, sides of my torso and near my armpits. Almost nothing on the front and back, although there are smaller bites here and there.

    I also noticed these past few weeks sesame-like seeds, small beige for the most art (or off white), in the bathroom, living room, always near where I mostly stand or hang out (none in the bed yet). I also found 4 or 5 beetle spiders or they look like them). I haven’t seen yet any bed bugs or fleas.

    all I know is, with all the treatments I got so far, I feel less itchy ut I do feel at night or int he evening a burning sensation at times, stinging and the occasional itching that feels like someone is barely touching me or tinkling me.

    I have rashes only in the back (aisles). I get around 1 new red dot (bite?) every day or so, and the bites from 6 weeks ago are still visible, they got even a bit larger and more red, although the itch is way less.

    I have no idea what I have, fleas? Bed bugs? Intestinal worm breaking the integrity of my skin?

    I put on my body, from time to time : Tea tree oil, lavender oil, baking soda with water, white vinegar, olive oil, tried crotamiton cream a few times, and now using desoline cream (the last dermatologist I saw gave me this, says I have an ending case of scabies, and am bitten by fleas or bed bugs)

    Not sure if she is accurate, so I’ll see another specialist. At this point, I feel I know more on the subject than them anyway…

    Thanks for reading, if you have a clue, please send a reply.

  33. Karen T,. says:

    I have had sesame seed looking things coming out of my skin for months now and have invested in several pairs of tweezers in which it seems i spend the majority of my time picking them out. I have found out that they actually spread, whatever this is. I also had brown and red flecks of something coming out as well. It is in my head, on my back, my legs, my face. my eye and my arms. It itches immensely and im becoming so depressed i dont know what to do. I am an intravenous heroin addict and also had two abscesses in which i had to have drained. When the results from the lab came back from the drained substance it appeared i had mrsa. I was given two rounds of Doxcyclone and mupricon cream to put up my nose. Well my rash is still spreading and all these seed things are grossing me out. I cry every day and my whole family thinks im insane or on some other kind of drug that is making me hallucinate. I had some Ketanazole cream and after looking on the internet found one woman had the same thing and had a biopsy done and it came back she had a fungus. Well, this cream is for fungus so i put it all over and low and behold it started to look better and all these seed things which you can see under my skin as well before they pop through, were coming out and dying. Until it started again and now has come back full force. I have found them in the car, on my floor beside my bed and even on my cats back now. Please help me i feel sucidal and cant take it anymore i cant live like this anymore i look like a meth user and feel dirty all the time. I was on my road to recovery when all this started and now i dont even want to live. Please help.

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