Household Intruder: Bark Beetle or Ambrosia Beetle

Tiny bugs on windowsill
January 11, 2010
Every hour I have to vacuum these MANY tiny bugs from my window sills in the front room of my home. They sometimes appear on my kitchen stove (although less often), and the kitchen window sill as well. Most of the time they are either dead, or are dying (or they appear to be). I have even found them crawling on my neck! I can’t seem to find out how they are getting in my home, although i suspect they are crawling in through cracks or small openings in and around the windows. They seem to accumulate near the window where my wood stove is located. Thank you for your help in identifying these pests, and please let me know if I need to exterminate.
Baffled New Englander
Southeastern Massachusetts

Unknown Beetle
Bark Beetle or Ambrosia Beetle

Dear Baffled,
WE are also a bit puzzled.  The distinctive shape of your beetle and the clubbed antennae disqualifies most of the typical household pantry beetles we typically identify.  We have eliminated the North American Flour Beetle, Tribolium brevicornis, which can be viewed on BugGuide.  We believe your culprits are in the superfamily Bostrichoidea, which contains many household intruders, including Carpet Beetles, Powder Post Beetles, Deathwatch Beetles, and Spider Beetles, but we had no luck sorting through the superfamily on BugGuide.  We can tell you what it is not, but not what it is.  It is the middle of the night, and we will have to wait until tomorrow for a response, but we hope Eric Eaton will have more luck with the identity of this curious specimen.

Eric Eaton provides information
Good news:  The beetles are not infesting any foods in the pantry, or clothing in the closet.  The image shows some kind of bark or ambrosia beetle, family Curculionidae, subfamily Scolytinae.  I am not a specialist in these, but I do know someone who is (Dr. Stephanie Dole), and will see what she has to say.  I’d bet these are emerging from stored firewood.

I’m very relieved to hear that! Thank you very much! I wonder, though, why these bugs seem to be coming in from where the windows are (One window is about 2-3 feet away from the wood stove). Our firewood is stored outside, and only brought in as needed. If they are somehow in/on the firewood, how did they get on the windowsills? We have two Bay windows, and each are approximately 9-10 feet apart from one another.

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BugMan aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

5 thoughts on “Household Intruder: Bark Beetle or Ambrosia Beetle”

  1. Eric’s comment came up just as I was posting this (I knew he would have the answer), but I got this far so I will post anyway…I agree that this does not look like one of the normal household beetles. At actually looks kind of like a bark beetle (Curculionidae: Scolytinae); something like Orthotomicus sp. perhaps. It sounds like they may have been trying to get out of the house not in – is it possible they were emerging from some wood that was brought into the house, like firewood? There was mention of a wood stove by the window in question. K

  2. Hi, I came to your site to try and find out what kind of bug I am having a problem with and it looks identical to the beetle in this photo. I live in a townhouse, I do not have a fire place or fire wood anywhere closeby. I don’t even have any trees in my yard and have hundreds of these little beetle things around. Mostly around the kitchen, have seen them in my pets food bowls and in my pantry. They seem to like dark places. Most that I find are right outside of the pantry door and mostly dead. Please help, I can’t seem to get rid of them.

    • Dear bdudney,
      We suspect you have some species of Pantry Beetle or other stored food infesting Beetle. It is generally the larvae that do the damage to the food, and the adults feed on pollen. We believe adult Weevils may eat the same foods as the larval Weevils. Check out our Pantry Beetles Category.

  3. I purchased a cutting board made out of ‘ambrosia wood’ about 3 years ago. A description card from the man who made it said that it was ambrosia wood. He described how the beetles helped make the tiny holes and so forth in the beautiful wood. I put it in a walk-in closet, where I sometimes store gifts. I went back later to get something and noticed powder everywhere on the board! Guess what…I unknowingly brought in ambrosia beetles. I started looking in the closet and noticed that the beetles were everywhere. They had also eaten on other pieces of wood that I had in the closet. I vacuumed the ones up that I saw and also vacuumed eveything in there, piece by piece. Then I put Sevin Dust everywhere and left it for about two week with the door closed. I thought I had taken care of my bug problem. Fast forward two years…a few days ago I opened a bag of wood chargers that I had put in a plastic bag when all this happened. There were no telltale signs at that time that I put the chargers in the plastic bags that they had been infested…I did not see any holes or powder. However…when I opened the bag a few days ago…there was wood powder everywhere! I did not see anyone mention in the above comments that they had wood powder anywhere…just that they saw the beetles. These ambrosia beetles probably only eat certain kinds of wood. My question is how do I get rid of them. The ones I saw in the bag were dead…but, I believe I saw one fly off. I don’t want them to start eating my furniture. Does anyone else have any experience with them?! Thanks in advance!!!

  4. We also have found these IN the house. They seem to be coming from the mulch we purchased, but are not finding hundreds a day inside the house! We have no powder or he’s so I don’t think they are powder post beetles. we have been told that they are shot hole borer beetles, which is another type of Ambrosia beetle. They seem to be coming in through cracks in the window but everytime I wipe them up there seem to be dozens more just an hour later. Has anyone been able to get rid of these?


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