Currently viewing the category: "Flat Bugs"

Subject: Bed Bug, Bat Bug ?
Location: New Jersey
January 22, 2013 2:49 am
found this near my bed in the middle of the night…It appears to have many similarities to a bed bug, but not sure.
Signature: bo

Flat Bug or Minute Pirate Bug

Dear Bo,
This bug is narrower than any Bed Bug or Bat Bug images we have seen, but it does have some similarities.  We checked BugGuide and found this image of a Minute Pirate Bug,
Xylocoris cursitans, and it looks very similar to your Bug.  The species page on BugGuide indicates they are found “under bark of dead trees.”   Minute Pirate Bugs are in the family Anthocoridae, and according to BugGuide:  “many are common on flowers and trees, some live under bark or in mammal/bird nests” where they feed on “small arthropods.”  BugGuide also notes that:  “Some species are used as biocontrol agents. Some may be a nuisance: they are known for their irritating bites, mostly after landing on one’s naked arm or neck.”  Interestingly, according to BugGuide, both Bed Bugs and Minute Pirate Bugs are in the same superfamily Cimicoidea.

Minute Pirate Bug or Flat Bug

yes i do have a dead tree right outside my window, and the house I live in has issues being correctly sealed.  Might you think that these bugs could live near where that gap isn’t correctly sealed along the floor board.  Key question what are their typical habits, would they come in to bite me and leave, as this has been a long standing problem of mine and I have the bite marks to prove it.

Hi again Bryant,
We haven’t learned much about Minute Pirate Bugs, but if we do in the future, we will add to the posting.

We just received a comment indicating that this might be a Flat Bug in the genus Neuroctenus, and that also looks like a good possibility.  We don’t feel there is enough detail to be certain.  According to BugGuide, they are found:  “mostly under bark, on fallen logs & tree limbs, bracket fungi.”


Bug under bark
Location: Worthington, OH
January 23, 2012 3:01 pm
Happy New Year to WTB!
Towards the end of December, we had a pretty warm couple of days here in central Ohio. I went outside to pick up some logs for the fireplace, and grabbed some maple logs with fairly loose bark on them. I peeled the bark off and found a ton of these little guys. The longest of them was maybe 1/4” max. To say they were lethargic was an uderstatement. I left them in the sun for about 10 minutes before they even started to move. It appears that they have a healthy appetite for wood, but I have no clue what they are. Any ideas?
Signature: Ed Huston

Flat Bugs

Dear Ed,
You have uncovered a colony of Flat Bugs in the genus
Aneurus, both adults and immature individuals of various stages known as instars.  Flat Bugs do not feed on the wood.  According to BugGuide, Flat Bugs are found “under bark” just as you found them, and they feed on fungi.  

Flat Bugs

Thanks for getting back to me. That was much quicker than expected. I’m glad to know that they aren’t human eating micro-zombies or some such thing.
Thanks again!


wood boring beetles
Location: Central Maryland, US
December 7, 2010 12:04 pm
What’s this bug?? A huge colony of them had eaten a large part of a red oak in Maryland, and killed the tree.
Signature: steve

Flat Bugs

Dear Steve,
These are not beetles, but True Bugs.  We are quite certain that they are Flat Bugs in the family Aradidae, and your image is the first in the category of Flat Bugs on our site.  According to BugGuide, they are:  “Oval and very flat bugs found under or on bark. Abdomen extends beyond wings. Antennae and beak have four segments. Lack ocelli
” and that they are found “mostly under bark, on fallen logs & tree limbs, bracket fungi.”  BugGuide elaborates by indicating they feed upon “mycelia or fruiting bodies of wood-rotting fungi” and “many bark-dwelling spp. are greagrious”, though there is no indication that they are injurious to trees.  We suspect the tree was in poor health for some other reason and that it was riddled with fungi, and that provided a likely habitat for a robust population of Flat Bugs.