Currently viewing the category: "Pantry Beetles, Grain Weevils, Spider Beetles, Meal Worms and Carpet Beetles"
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What this bug?
Dear Bugman,
First, congrats on a great site!
Attached are two closeups of a bug, possibly a bed bug, found when stripping the sheets from our mattress. (We do this every week, but this is the only ‘visitor’ we’ve ever seen). Bug was not dead, but just lying there waving its little legs slowly. Could be because we had had a flea infestation (we>lying there waving its little legs slowly. Could be because we had had a flea infestation (we>sprayed the house and mattress with flea spray last year. Any way here it is…

Dear Richard,
I really wasn’t positive, so I sought out a true expert, Weiping at the Museum of Natural History in Los Angeles. Here is his answer:
“Thank you very much for your image. This is a Thylodrias larva (Coleoptera: Dermestidae: Thylodrias). It is very common in Los Angeles area. I collected it many times in our museum. Hopefully, the information will help you. Sincerely, Weiping”
I can add the Dermestidae is a family of beetles known as Carpet Beetles or Buffalo Bugs. They are fond of eating skins, furs, woolen materials and dried animal matter, and as a family, are the bane of the entomologist since they can quickly devour a prized insect collection.

Many thanks for the reply – I’m greatly relieved that its only a carpet beetle, and not something worse! Attached the second picture, which was of the head/jaws of the grub.
Best Regards, Richard

Dear Richard,
Thank you for the additional photo. I did find some additional information for you. The beetle Thylodrias contractus does not have the typical form of most Carpet Beetles. It is more elongate with long legs and antennae. I did find an interesting anecdote in Lutz’ book Field Book of Insects. He writes: “In 1908 Mrs. Slosson, the author of such charming stories as ‘Fishing Jimmy,’ published a description of a strange beetle that was eating her collection of insects. She playfully called it ‘Ignotus aenigmaticus.’ This name was in proper form and by the rules of the game remained the scientific name of the beetle until the discovery was made that the beetle was an introduction from Transcaucasia and had a prior name. It is now Thylodrias contractus. It eats like a Dermestid but does not look like one. The female is wingless and the male has no hind wings.” The beetle was originally described in Transcaucasia by Motschulsky.

Thanks again Daniel – two further questions,
1. do you have a picture of an adult?
2. Will my bug make it onto your website?

Hi Richard,
I have your letter ready for posting, but the site is currently down due to heavy traffic. I was expecting it to be up today, but still no luck. I know the site is up on the east coast, since I began getting additional letters. Check in a day or two. I have a photo of an adult and will attach it. It was previously identified only generally, but now there is an exact species name. Thank you for your interest.
Daniel

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We live in Columbia, SC. The first picture is a beetle type bug I found crawling on the bottom of our entertainment center in our living room tonight. What is this bug?
The other pic is of a little tiny guy I found on our kitchen floor. It reminds me of a baby rollie pollie. It’s real tiny. It’s tan in color and looks like it has little hairs all over it’s little body and it does have some little legs underneath. It’s real weird though because, especially if it’s turned upside down or on it’s side, it bends it’s back backwards almost in half a lot. What’s this bug?
We keep our house so clean, so these little bugs I am finding are driving me crazy because I don’t know where they are coming from and why they’re in the house!
Help Bugman! I found 2 different bugs in our house in one night! I can’t stand it! Yikes!
Thanks
Seriously Curious

Hi again Bugman,
This is a picture of a little tiny bug I had found in our kitchen last night on the floor that I emailed you about earlier this morning. We live in Columbia, SC.I noticed when looking at this little guy closer under a magnifying glass that he only has 3 pairs of legs (6 legs). He’s got such fuzzy little hairs all over him that we thought he had more legs than that. The bottom end of it’s body is darker than the rest of it’s body and it does not have any legs in that area. It has a segmented body and when it’s crawling it’s body moves in an accordion style.Hope this helps you more with this little guy. What’s this bug?
Thanks Bugman!
Seriously Curious

Dear Seriously Curious,
My better guess on the grub is a pantry or larder beetle, a Dermestid, which infests stored food, hence its appearance in the kitchen. I would put my money on Thylodrias contractus. You have an adult specimen as well as the larval form.

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Hello, we live in Tampa, Florida and we have recently been seeing these beetles in our home. They are brownish in color, about 1/16 of an inch in length, are more active at night, can fly and seem to be attracted to light. They also appear to like linens and laundry. I am trying to find their access to the home as they disturb my daughter at night.
Thank you,
Adam Matthews and Family

Dear Adams Family,
Most of the time when small beetles appear in the home, they are some type of pantry beetle. The larvae feed on a wide variety of grain products in the pantry. They can be found in flour, cookies, dog food and pasta among other things. Adults which fly are pollen feeders. Perhaps your fabric softener is attracting them to the clothes. Check your dry goods and try to track down the source of the infestation.

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HELP! What Are These Bugs?!
Dear Bugman,
HELP! These bugs are driving me crazy trying to figure out what they are and how to get rid of them! They seem to be more of a nuisance to me more than anything because I do not know what they are and I cannot find any info on them to be able to know what they are. I keep finding them on our hardwood floor, mainly along the baseboards, in the hallway between our baby’s room and our room (which are right across from each other). We live in Columbia, SC.
The first time I ever saw one of these bugs was in my baby’s baby cereal box, which I then threw out the whole box after seeing that. After that I started storing her baby cereals in sealed tupperware containers. Then, not too long after that I found a couple of them on the kitchen counter. But, I haven’t seen any of them anywhere in the kitchen since then.
Ok, now I cannot find any in the kitchen at all. I’ve looked through our cabinets and cereals, (we do not have any flour), and I’ve also looked all through our pantry and cannot find any there either. The only place I’m finding them now is in the hallway where I told you, between the two rooms, closer to the baseboards. And I have found a couple on the bathroom floor also. There are a few on the floor in the linen closet, also closer to the baseboards, which is between the two bedrooms in the hallway where I keep finding them.
What really confused my husband and I about these bugs was that one time when we were going through things in our attic, we got out some older VHS video tapes and a few of these bugs had fallen out of the VHS tapes. Then my husband continued to keep knocking the video tapes on the floor and they just kept falling out of the tapes. They were all dead though. Finally, after so many of them, they stopped falling out.
Then when we brought down the box with our Christmas decorations in it, to our surprise, there were all these same little bugs (a whole bunch of them) stuck to, and stuck underneath, the masking tape on the outside of the box. Yuck!!! I kept thinking "Why are these things so attracted to the masking tape like this?!" I’ve attached a few pics of these little creatures that are on my last nerve, one of the pics being of them stuck on the masking tape. So, obviously they’re in the attic also.
Our neighbors have them in their cupboards every now and then. They call them Weevils, but I don’t think that’s what they are. I’ve been looking all over the internet trying to figure out what these things are and I cannot find anything that looks like these bugs. They are like tiny little brownish beetle looking bugs.
I don’t see how they can be Pantry Beetles, because I haven’t been able to find any in the kitchen anywhere. They are driving me crazy, because everytime I pick up the ones that I keep finding on the floor in the hallway between the bedrooms, a few hours later a couple more have showed up around the same spots. And you know, they don’t move unless I nudge them a little.
WHERE ARE THEY COMING FROM?!
WHAT ARE THEY?! AND HOW DO WE GET RID OF THEM?!
PLEASE HELP BUGMAN!
Thank you,
Seriously Curious

Dear Seriously Curious,
You do have Pantry Beetles, but there are many species, some of which are weevils. You might have the Merchant Grain Beetle, Oryzaephilus mercator, or a member of the genus Cathartus. These beetles are especially a problem in the humid South. These are small elongate reddish beetles that feed on grain and dried fruits in the larval stage, but when they mature, they fly away to a new food source, often pollen. You might have large numbers of adults congregating where they think they can get access to the outdoors, hence the attic. Aslo sticky tape will trap them like fly paper. The larvae will also eat dried pet food or even a forgotten box of cookies in some seldom used closet. Could someone in the house be hiding (hoarding) food and have forgotten it? If they are really that plentiful, you might want to fumigate, though we believe that could do more harm than good.

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Hello there,
I came upon your site by accident trying to identify a species of moth that’s been living with me. I just moved into a new apartment a few months ago and noticed that there were several moths in the apartment. I have no picture, but they are small, maybe 1/4 inch long, and very thin – they look a lot like a tiny segment of a stick. The head end tapers down slightly narrower than the wingtips. They are a mottled dark brown colour. They tend to sit on walls for long periods of time very still and only fly away when approached. Their style of flying is erratic and fluttery. I found a dead one in my pancake mix and the mix itself had a sour smell to it. I also found a small larva about the same size as the moth, white with an orange head, hiding under my teapot. I’m not sure if this was a larva of the moth or something else, though. These moths tend to hang out in the kitchen, so I have a sneaking suspicion that they may be after food. In some corners under or inside the cupboards I have found dead (or possibly the molted skins of) moths attached to the corner within a thin layer of silk. Any ideas on what these are, and if they are bad to have in the house?
Thanks,
Catherine

Hi Catherine,
You have pantry moths which will infest all types of grain products in the pantry, hence the appearance in the pancake mix. The larvae do the damage by devouring the foods. Mature moths will lay new eggs and the infestation perpetuates. Clean out the pantry and store drygoods that you
are not going to use immediately in a tightly sealed container (though this does not prevent eggs that have already been laid from developing) and better yet, refrigerate or freeze flour products. Do not stockpile drygoods when you have a potential problem in the pantry.

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Dear Bugman,
My roomate and I recently opened up a chocolate bar only to find a fat worm/maggot had eaten a hole right through the bar. The chocolate was in a box full of more chocolate bars that are maybe a year old. We were totally disgusted, and when we opened up the remaining bars, we found a few more that also had the worms. The worms had eaten holes right in the chocolate and on some, they seemed to shave the top of the bars off – there was chocolate shavings on the surface. Some of the worms looked like they had spiny tails, but it was hard to tell for the others whether they also had the spines. Do you know what kind of worms are these? And how did they get into our chocolate??
Kate

Dear Kate,
Pantry beetles are known to infest chocolate. The immature beetles are wormlike grubs, much as you describe.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination