Drugstore Beetle Vs. Bed Bug: 4 Key Differences

Call for pest control services now.

There are a lot of tiny, brown insects that infest homes. Below, we will compare two pests that can cause a lot of trouble: drugstore beetle vs. bed bug. 

Finding small, brown dots milling all over your beds and carpets? Before you panic, take a closer look! Tiny, crawling insects over your bed may not necessarily be bed bugs.

In fact, almost 84% of ‘bedbug’ reports to pest control end up actually being some other form of infestation. 

There are many other impostors who have similar aesthetics and behavior – a common one being the drugstore beetle. 

While both pests should be taken seriously and investigated, drugstore beetles do not usually bite or feast on your blood like bed bugs.

What Are Drugstore Beetles?

These beetles belong to the family of Anobiidae – known for burrowing into wood. Two types of beetles, however, have developed unique tastes. 

This includes the cigarette beetle and the drugstore beetle, which choose to attack food products. 

Drugstore beetles commonly infest drugstores (hence the names), pharmacies, bakeries, or places with packaged food items. 

Drugstore Beetle Vs. Bed Bug
Bed Bug

Large food manufacturing units are especially susceptible to their infestation, and they can cause significant economic losses. 

These pantry pests eat pretty much anything – be it chocolates, sweets, grains, or even books and wood. 

What’s That Bug’ Product Recommendations:

Wondercide – Preventive Indoor Pest Control Spray Wondercide uses natural, plant-based essential oils to naturally repel pests. Cruelty-Free.

Dr. Killigans Non-Toxic Pest Control Specializes in non-toxic, natural products focused on removing ONLY the unwanted pests – not all insects.

BUG BITE THING Suction Tool – Natural Insect Bite Relief We love this simple product because it works without chemicals! Great for kids!

Large Bat Box for Natural Mosquito Control Too many mosquitos in your yard but don’t want to spray heavy chemicals? Try natures method!

Uncle Milton’s Giant Ant Farm The perfect gift so your kids can take an even closer look at the amazing underground world of ants. It’s the original.

Giant Butterfly Garden: Watch Caterpillars Change Into Butterflies! The perfect activity to do with your little ones to inspire them on how wonderful bugs can be.

While we do enjoy and use the products recommended above, they are affiliate links where ‘What’s That Bug’ may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps to financial support this website from hosting to expert entomologists and writers who identify your bug requests and create the content you love.

What Are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are parasitic bugs that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals. They commonly burrow and infest carpets, beds, and other upholstery – lending them their name – bed bugs.

They are fast movers and an invasive species. Moreover, they are ‘hitchhikers’ – picking up rides and spreading over from home to home. 

Drugstore Beetle Vs. Bed Bug
Bed Bug

The only way to completely get rid of them is through professionals who will thoroughly fumigate your place. They might even have to throw out some unsalvageable items. 

Bedbug infestations can often be mistaken for that of other insects. Common signs of bed bugs are::

  • Brown color fecal spots on upholstery
  • On biting, they leave two dots close to each other on the skin, which might show swelling after a few days.
  • Their young leave behind pale white, broken eggshells 

What Are The Differences Between The Two?

While bedbugs and drugstore beetles may seem the same to an untrained eye, there are many ways through which you can differentiate between the two. Some key points include their appearance, food habits, and dietary preferences.


Adult bedbugs grow up to 1/4th of an inch. Their body is segmented into three parts, with the abdomen being almost circular and flat (when unfed). 

They have six legs and two antennae. Generally, bedbugs have a mahogany-brown color, but they change their color to reddish-brown after feeding on blood. 

Young bedbug nymphs have a yellow-white color. 

On the other hand, adult drugstore beetles are reddish brown in color with an elongated, oval-shaped body. 

They grow up to 1/7th of an inch. Hence they are significantly smaller when kept side by side with bed bugs. 

They also have six legs and two antennae, but their body has a singular vertical ridge running through the center. 

Their larvae (or grubs) are white in color. The biggest difference between the two is that drugstore beetles have wings and can fly, whereas bed bugs cannot. 

Drugstore Beetle Vs. Bed Bug
Bed Bug

Life Cycle

Bedbug eggs are pearl-white and hatch into a nymph instead of larvae. There are five stages of growth as a nymph, during which it feeds on hosts and increases in size. 

It also changes in color from yellow-white to brown and finally emerges as an adult bedbug. Adult bedbugs may live for 4 to 6 months. 

Drugstore beetle eggs are usually laid inside food items such as grains and dry pet food. They hatch into hairy, white grubs that tunnel through the material and finally build pupae. 

After around 18 days, they emerge from the pupae as an adult that may live for up to 65 days

Their entire development cycle is dependent on the temperature as these beetles hatch only when the outer temperature is warm. 


Bedbugs solely feed on blood. Some, like the Cimex lectularius, are partial towards human blood. 

However, any warm-blooded animal, such as dogs, cats, and rodents, can be fair game for bedbugs. 

Drugstore beetles mostly feast on and are found only in dry food sources. This includes flour, grains, pet food, packaged food, and cereals. 

Apart from this, they can easily chew through tin and aluminum. They are also fond of pills and drugs found in drugstores.

A running anonymous joke about these beetles is that they can chew through anything except cast iron!

Drugstore Beetle Vs. Bed Bug
Drugstore Beetle


Bedbugs tend to stay close to humans. They are commonly found in niches and cracks of wood, metal, and other surfaces. 

They can also burrow within thick mattresses and upholstery. Other areas may include behind pictures, bedframe cracks, and paneling. 

Drugstore beetles can be found in a variety of places. While they are mostly found in food items, they are also a common occurrence in pigeon nests. 

In earlier times, they used to frequent apothecaries and pharmacies. They prefer warm areas and are not restricted by what material they are feeding on. 

Which is More Dangerous To Humans? 

Bedbugs use a structure on their mouths called a proboscis to pierce and draw blood from humans and other animals. 

They are especially harmful as they can cause allergic reactions and rob you of a peaceful night of sleep. 

While they are not fatal, these infestations are very hard to get rid of. 

Drugstore beetles, on the other hand, do not harm humans. They tend to burrow into food, and this makes them a huge pest for pantries and other food storage units. 

A drugstore beetle infestation makes the stored food unviable. You might even need to do a complete pesticidal solution if they are present in large numbers. 

Drugstore Beetle Vs. Bed Bug
Bed Bug

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you tell the difference between a bed bug and a beetle?

A simple way to differentiate between a bed bug and a beetle is based on how they look and act. 
Bedbugs are rounder and bite, whereas drugstore beetles are longer and do not bite. Carpet beetles bite but only grow to only 1/8th of an inch.

Why are there drugstore beetles in my bedroom

There are two things that attract these beetles – light and female drugstore beetle pheromones
If you do not have food in your room but still see a drugstore beetle infestation, it could be that they are in the kitchen but have come here attracted by light.
Moreover, these critters have wings, which makes it very easy for them to infest one room if they are already present in another. 

Does the drugstore beetle bite?

The drugstore beetle does not bite, but sometimes parasitic wasps may co-exist in their colonies, and these do bite. 
However, both bedbugs and drugstore beetles may cause an allergic reaction. For drugstore beetle, this is due to the hair on their larvae, whereas for bed bugs it is their bite that can cause the problem.

Is there a bug that can be mistaken for bed bugs?

Due to their small size, many other insects can be commonly mistaken for bedbugs. 
A few common culprits are – spider beetles, stinkbugs, carpet beetles, and drugstore beetles. 
But closer visual observation is quite enough to distinguish between them if you know what to look for.

Wrap Up

Due to their small size, identifying bedbugs vs. beetles is a common confusion point. So keep an eye out for other clues that point out to their habitat or eating habits.

It is important to know the distinction between various insects and their infestations so one can identify the best course of action against them. 

We hope this information helped you identify them more easily. Thank you for reading!

Call for pest control services now.

Reader Emails

Over the years, many of our readers have become confused between these two common pests and have taken our help to identify the bug that has been pestering them.

Shared below are some of their emails, with a few pictures as well, showing how closely drugstore beetles resemble bed bugs and why they can be such a major cause for concern.

Letter 1 – Invasive Firebug reported in Ontario Canada


Subject:  What is this bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Brampton, Ontario, Canada
Date: 02/26/2018
Time: 09:04 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  There were many of these bugs last summer. I’ve never seen them before. They were near my blazing stars, wild geraniums, clematis and lilies. They are not the same as the bugs that attacked  my lilies the year before.
How you want your letter signed:  Dying to know.


Dear Dying to know,
This sure looks to us like a European Firebug,
Pyrrhocoris apterus, a species that has been introduced to North America, but according to BugGuide, there are only reports from Utah.  If it has also become established in Canada, you should probably notify your local agricultural agency.

Letter 2 – New Invasive Exotic Species: Firebug found in Utah!!!


infestation of red/black bugs in neighborhood
April 17, 2010
for the last two months we have had an infestation of black and red bugs in our lawns on our entire street. i thought they were boxelder, but looking at your pictures, they are different. i can’t find a picture anywhere on the internet like these. they live in the lawn and if you stand and look down at the lawn, it appears the entire lawn is moving they are so plentiful. hitting a stump, thousands immediately ran out. they were covering a part of the garden so thick all you could see is red. they are in every crack in the sidewalk and every square inch of the lawn. they don’t appear to be able to fly. you can see them mating constantly which looks somewhat like the pics of the boxelder bugs mating. please help identify these! ps there do not appear to be ma ny spiders out there this year. are they eating those? will they ruin the lawns?
desperate for help
salt lake city, utah


Dear desperate,
This is a European species, Pyrrhocoris apterus, commonly called a Firebug.  We have numerous images posted to our site from parts of Europe, but this is the first report we have gotten from North America.  Out of curiosity, we checked BugGuide, and several photos of Firebugs were sent in March 2010 from Utah, and considering the details of your letter, the Invasive Exotic Firebug is already established in Salt Lake City.  You should probably contact the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) regarding this outbreak.  We will copy Stephanie Dubon at
npag@aphis.usda.gov regarding this unusual sighting.

thank you so much for your quick reply.  you guys are awesome! i notified the aphis like you suggested.  sonja

Reply from APHIS
Dear Daniel,
I don’t believe anyone has shared Stephanie’s news with you, so please allow me. Stephanie accepted a new job with the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization) in Rome, Italy.  …   All of us here miss her, personally and professionally!
Meanwhile, your emails are still reaching our group through this email (NPAG@aphis.usda.gov), and are much appreciated. I hope that you will continue to think of us when you receive information about new pest species in the US.
Best regards,
Christie Bertone

Letter 3 – Firebug from Iran


Do you know whats this bug?
Location: Kerman, Iran
May 27, 2011 7:27 am
I find so many of them in our garden.
Signature: MNZ


Dear MNZ,
This distinctive European Hemipteran is commonly called a Firebug.  It is in the Red Bug family Pyrrhocoridae and its scientific name is
Pyrrhocoris apterus.  We learned on the British Bugs website that it feeds on mallow and limes.

Letter 4 – Firebugs from Hungary


These were spotted in Hungary on the stump of a tree. The adult was about 2mm long. Is it a box elder bug? I took the photo mainly because, upside down, it looks like a very scary African mask!
Delia Campbell

Hi Delia,
These Hemipterans are commonly called Firebugs. Firebugs, Pyrrhocoris apterus, are in the family Pyrrhocoridae. Boxelder Bugs are in the Scentless Plant Bugs Family Rhopalidae.

Letter 5 – Firebugs from Kazakhstan


Red Bugs From Kazakhstan
My husband and I recently returned from Kazakhstan, having spent the summer over there. We saw these bugs everywhere (northern and southern parts of the country). This particular photo is from a park in the former capital of Almaty. Can you tell us what they are? These seem to have two different patterns – are they they same thing? Thanks!

Hi Amy,
These are Firebugs, or Fire Bugs, Pyrrhocoris apterus, a True Bug that is found throughout much of Europe and Western Asia. Since it is a True Bug, it has incomplete metamorphosis with the immature insect resembling the adult, but without wings. You photo shows both immature and adult Firebugs.

Letter 6 – Firebugs from Turkey


Need your help for identification
Location: Yalova, TR
April 15, 2012 1:05 pm
Dear Scientist,
I’ll be very glad if you’d help
with identification of the bugs
that I encountered in the forest
This picture is taken in Yalova,
Marmara region of Turkey.
Signature: Mr. Ercan Arısoy

Firebugs from Turkey

Dear Ercan,
We are not scientists, nor do we have a terribly extensive formal background in science.  We are artists who are trying to promote a better understanding of insects and their importance to the web of life on our planet.  These are Firebugs, Pyrrhocoris apterus, a benign species found throughout much of Europe.

Letter 7 – Firebugs in Russia


Subject: Bugs behaviour
Location: Moscow, Russia
June 24, 2014 12:50 am
Dear What’s That Bug team,
Why those bugs are gathering into groups? there were quite a few of those groups.
Kind regards
Signature: Slava Smirnov


Dear Slava,
These are Firebugs,
Pyrrhocoris apterus, and they are known for forming large aggregations containing both immature nymphs and adults.

Letter 8 – Invasive Fire Bug in Utah


Subject: Fire Bug Utah
Location: South Ogden, Utah
August 10, 2017 6:50 am
I just wanted to submit a photo of a single fire bug I found in my yard on 8/6/2017. I live in South Ogden, Utah
Signature: Jason Fabert

Fire bug

Dear Jason,
Thanks for submitting your image of an invasive, exotic Fire Bug which we first reported from Utah in 2010.

Letter 9 – Maybe French Milkweed Bugs are Firebugs


Would you identify these bugs? I live in S.W.France. Are they harmful to the lime tree that they have infested? if so, how do I get rid of them? Many thanks for your help.
Michael Warrack

Hi Michael,
I am not as familiar with French insects, but it appears you have an aggregation of Seed Bugs, Family Lygaeidae, of some sort, possibly a type of French Milkweed Bug. Seed Bugs are True Bugs and most suck juices from developing or dry seeds or the sap of grasses. They are known to form aggregations, sometimes to hibernate. My best guess is that they are not harming your lime tree, but using it as a gathering site.

Update: (07/28/2008) Species ID for “Maybe French Milkweed Bugs” pic
Hi there!
I’ve been a fan of your site for some time now. I used to live in central Florida and your site was an invaluable resource in helping me identify all manner of insects while I was there…during that time, I sent you a couple photos I’d taken of insects in that area. (I don’t think any of them made it onto the site, but then, I wasn’t actually requesting IDs for the pictured species and I know you’re inundated with requests, so I didn’t really have any expectation in that regard.) I have since moved to Brno, Czech Republic, and am now encountering a very different (but no less interesting) selection of creatures. Anyway, on to the point of this message! While browsing your site recently, I noticed the photo under the heading “Maybe French Milkweed Bugs”, which was submitted by a reader in France…I thought I’d send an email because I think I can help with its identification. The picture in question appears near the top of your first page of true bugs. I suspect the species pictured is Pyrrhocoris apterus, commonly known as a “firebug”. I have seen aggregations of them here in Brno, as well, especially during their mating season in mid-Spring. The information I’ve found indicates that this species is fairly prevalent throughout central and southern Europe. The fact that the submitter of the photo mentioned that they were found on a lime tree supports this identification, as well, as lime tree seeds are one of their primary food sources. Thanks for all the effort you put into the site, keep up the good work!

Hi Sharon,
Thanks for catching this and bringing it to our attention. We have subsequently identified Firebugs on later postings, but we didn’t realize we had an old letter still listed as unidentified. We also apologize for never posting your photos. At times we are inumdated with mail.

Letter 10 – Two from the Netherlands: Firebug Aggregation and mating Colorado Potato Beetles


Are you identifying European insects?
I am glad I came across your excellent web site with wonderful images of insects. I was in the Netherlands and tried to identify the insects in the attached images but I wasn’t very successful in finding photos that match the species I photographed. The two specimens surrounded by leaves were in a field of beans. The common red and black insects were up and down the length of a trunk of a tree by the side of a road which ran along a river. It looks like I will be buying an insect identification book in the not-too-distant future. Thank you for any help you can provide. Best Wishes, Yours sincerely,

Firebug Aggregation Mating Colorado Potato Beetles (range expansion???)

Hi Richard,
The aggregation of red bugs are Firebugs, Pyrrhocoris apterus, a common species in continental Europe. We recently received a great poster from a French pharmacy calling them Gendarme. The mating Leaf Beetles look suspiciously like the US native Colorado Potato Beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata. This beetle once had a limited range in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, but with the spread of potato cultivation, it became a nationwide pest. Perhaps it has invaded Europe as well. BugGuide substantiates that this agricultural pest has gained a foothold in Europe.

Letter 1 – Drugstore Beetles


Do Drugstore Beetles Bitelittle bugs in my bed and cupboard.
Location: West Virginia
August 9, 2011 1:07 pm
My wife and I found these tiny brown beetle looking bugs in our bed and cupboard. Their body is in two sections, head then body. They also bite.
Signature: willyp

Drugstore Beetles

Hi willyp,
These appear to be Drugstore Beetles to us.  Drugstore Beetles are generically and unscientifically categorized on our site with other small but unrelated insects that infest stored foods in the pantry.  According to BugGuide:  “larvae feed on prescription drugs, flours, dry mixes, breads, cookies, spices, chocolates and other sweets, plus a variety of “non-food” items (see Remarks section below)  adults do not feed … Larval non-food material includes wool, hair, leather, horn, and museum specimens. Larvae have been known to bore into books, wooden objects, and, in some cases, tin or aluminum foil and lead sheets.”  You can start by checking the pantry for food items that are infested.

Letter 2 – Drugstore Beetle probably


Black bug in my pantry
Location: Gilbert, AZ
December 4, 2010 4:42 pm
We found these little black bugs in our pantry. They appeared to have eaten rice in a box of uncle ben’s wild rice and it apparently was deadly, because most of them were dead. We live in Gilbert AZ, which is just SE of Phoenix. Thanks.
Signature: Pete

Drugstore Beetle, we believe

Dear Pete,
There are numerous small and unrelated beetles that will infest stored foods in the Pantry, and we unscientifically categorize them as Pantry Beetles.  Some are quite difficult to tell apart.  We believe this is a Drugstore Beetle,
Stegobium paniceum, which you may read about on BugGuide.

Drugstore Beetle to scale


  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com 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.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

63 thoughts on “Drugstore Beetle Vs. Bed Bug: 4 Key Differences”

  1. We’ve found a massive infestation of these Firebugs here in Huntington Beach, CA. This is in Orange County near the ocean. The description matches everything posted here. What should we do? They’re pretty much everywhere. Thanks!

    • Dear birdlover,
      Here is the information we recently received from the USDA: “Right now the best thing for people to do is to try and get the actual specimen and submit it to their state department of agriculture or to contact their county extension agency.”

    • I built a garden in back yard, and bought several trucks of compost, and now have these beetles everywhere. Need to know how to get rid of them with out pesticides.

  2. I just came across a mass amount of these bugs in my barnyard. I can’t find where it describes much about them. Do they bite like fire ants? Are they harmful to livestock? Or pets? We live in rural Atascadero, Calif.. we’re in an “epic” drought. NOTHING is growing here so I don’t know what has attracted them. I found them nesting in abandoned ground squirrel holes.

  3. We’ve had the firebugs in Modjeska Canyon (Eastern Orange County, CA) for several years, and this year they’re in our yard in the hundreds, perhaps thousands. Turn over something lying on the ground and you’re likely to see a dappled red carpet of them spreading out looking for new cover. Was able to report it to USDA thanks to the email you have posted above.

    • Yes they do bite they are in my bed as well and i wake up to them next to me one on my pillow and I noticed a bite Mark on my cheek that feels like a knot. One on my arm and inner thigh. Haven’t slept in my bed because the bites are a pain in the was. No signs of bed bugs. Where do they come from, where are they hiding their flying around my room. I can’t sleeppp please someone help me. I just cut my finger moving my fan because i noticed one crawling on the bed. I’m going to go insane if i dont get helppppppp

  4. Thank you for your site! I live in Pennsylvania just outside city limits. These Lil buggers are ALL over our property! They are squeezing their way in thru our windows n screens. The outside of our home is a kind of wood siding…they are loving it . They migrated from our trash cans. You can literally look down and follow the sea of red heading from one side to the other. We have flying adults and crawling larvae. Oh yay! I will forward an email as suggested to the department of agriculture. Thank you again for solving the mystery.

  5. Does anyone know if the Firebug eats trees? I’ve seen a Cedar of Lebanon that’s infested with them and want to know if anything can be done to protect the tree. The tree is in Geneva and was planted in the 1800’s and is huge – but the trunk of the tree is being attacked and the beetles are living induced the bark. Hope someone can advise so that this tree can be saved!

  6. Guys, I am from Eurasian Continent. These bugs are not harmful to humans or animals, but they plant their eggs inside plants and their larvae will feed on juices of a plant. They don’t prefer any specific plant. They will probably won’t be able to kill a big tree, but they will damage vegetables and greens in your kitchen garden for sure. If you are growing grapes or cabbage you might wanna try to control their population on your property. The adult insect is harmless, its the larvae that you should be worried about. To get rid of the pest using organic methods try: 1. Spray ash dissolved in water solution, 2. Onion peals infusion, 3. Solution of mustard dissolved in water. Find mixing proportions that work for you with trial and error. Peace.

    • Thanks for providing control tips. We have one correction: the immature stage are known as nymphs, not larvae. Nymphs resemble the adults, though they are smaller and wingless. Insects with larvae undergo complete metamorphosis, and progress from a wormlike larva, that after pupation emerges as a drastically different looking winged adult.

  7. I believe I have these bugs in NH also – at least they look like the photo. Seem to be congregating on my blueberries.

  8. I went blueberry picking in Kinderhook, NY last weekend, and I saw some of these bugs there. They stood out to me with their color and markings, as I’ve never seen them before. They were crawling on the ground under the blueberry bushes… I sure hope they don’t eat the blueberries! It bothers me that we have yet another invasive species in our area. My lilies were devastated this summer by another invasive species… the red lily beetle.

  9. These things have taken over my backyard! We’ve had chickens for years, which has really cut down on things like earwigs, spiders, snails, ants, and flies, but my girls don’t think these red bugs are good eats. I really want to get rid of this infestation, but I don’t want to hurt my chickens. I will try some of what has been suggested (1/2 C soap to 1 gal water, mustard in water, etc) and hopefully let everyone know how it goes, but if anyone else has suggestions, please advise!

    • Laurel, any luck? I have the same issue with these all over & my chickens not eating them. I don’t want to use pesticides, but really want to make a dent in the population in my yard.

  10. Yes! I looked up several people who’ve had success using plain water mixed with a bit of dishsoap (can be name brand or not). Put it in a squirt bottle or pump and apply directly on the firebugs. In fact, this actually works on any bug! I’ve now used it on spiders, flies, even seen a guy going at some wasps on a youtube video and it takes’em right out.

    What’s happening is insects of all sorts generally breathe through their skin, and this soap mixture instantly covers over their body, causing them to suffocate. Dead and dead. It’s amazing! Kills them in a mere minute or two. Talk about empowering 😉 …

    Use enough soap in the water (I’ve seen recipes that recommend plus or minus 1/4 C to a gallon proportion) that it will coat over the whole bug. BTW, doesn’t work to squirt down your yard, preventatively. This is a contact-only gig. Doesn’t kill eggs (so they do come back), so you’ve got to be diligent in getting them via direct contact and then keep going out and doing it until you can get their numbers down.

    But it does work WELL and is safe to use around pets or anything else! I like that part the very best (because I love my chickens and don’t want to endanger them, nor my kids or anything else).

    Good luck. I hope this helps!

  11. I’m from New Jersey and I have seen these firebugs the last three years. The make tiny holes in my blanketflower, Shasta daisies, and lavender. They seem to disappear in July. This year they’ve done more damage than in the past. I read somewhere that they were only noted in Utah but after hours of researching this bug and three years of wondering what it is, I found these photos to tell me it’s definitely a fire bug here in my New Jersey garden. I’ll try spraying with soapy water.

    • We suspect you encountered a different species, because to the best of our knowledge, the Firebug is still only reported from Utah in North America. Please send images using the Ask What’s That Bug? link on our site. Be forewarned that we will be away from the office between June 8 and 19 and during that time, we will not be responding to any mail.

  12. Just wanted to report that I found a nest of these this morning. My Dad parked his truck on the dirt and a lot of those critters started crawling out. We are in Orange, part of Orange County, California. They are all over our dirt. We did our best to control them.

  13. Hi and so glad for all this great info. We were very concerned and have them all over our backyard in the grass. I’m from Lake Elsinore Calif.. And will be trying the soap and water..

  14. I’m so glad to hear the treatment is working! The dish soap is supposedly good for your greens as well (helps penetrate the soil and open up plant follicles or something like that) so it’s a double benefit. Good luck, everyone! Let’s stop this crazy spread! 😮

  15. Need to know how I can get rid og these little critters as they are taking over my yard and do they harm trees? Need help

  16. I live in the Toronto Ontario Canada area and I’ve had these Firebugs in my garden for two years, 2016 and 2017. I suspect they will be back this Spring too. They apparently like Hollyhocks which I have growing in my garden but they also like Basswood but they don’t bother with the one growing in my backyard. I’ve been considering trying sugar water laced with Borax powder because it worked on the excessive ants under-mining a neighbor’s patio.

  17. Has anyone had a solution? I’m dealing with the same. We had flower arrangements sent to us and had them in the bedroom for about two weeks. Last night I saw the things on the bed. Found about 10 of them and yes I believe I was bitten as well. I had exterminator come out and spray but he didn’t tell me what to do to keep them off the bed. I believe they were from the flowers.

    • I have had Pantry Moths which may be different from the beetle, but I have had good luck with some traps that use pheromone and sticky surfaces to get rid of the moths.

  18. I live in the inland part of San Diego, CA. I recently found an infestation of these bugs in an unlandscaped part of my backyard under my bird feeders. The birds don’t seem to be eating them. What should I do to get rid of them without using pesticides or anything that will harm the birds?
    Thank you,
    Alyce Masters

    • We don’t provide extermination advice, but some of our readers might offer suggestions. To the best of our knowledge, the Firebug (based on BugGuide data) has not been reported outside of Utah, but the very similar looking Mediterranean Red Bug, Scantius aegyptius, has been reported in California and is documented on BugGuide.

  19. I just found these little biting bastards all over my kitchen . I found an old box of pancake mix which was open and full of them. However my cabinets were wet due to an overflow of water from upstairs and I’m thinking they may like the wet wood too! Going to try vinegar , 2/1 solution to clean them all but they do bite and hard , like a red ant !!!

    • That’s a great idea, using the vinegar/water solution. I’ve been cleaning all week and then putting down Diatemacous Earth (DE Earth) powder, to line the cabinets. In the areas I put it down, I don’t see any new bugs. In areas I haven’t, such as my stove, I seem tiny ones reappear.

  20. Ortho home defense granulas put on my lawn thick seemed to kill them but I also put on “wisdom TC flowable” from the local IFA. So one of the two knocked them out.

  21. If these are the same sort of beetles I’ve encountered (they look very similar, but can’t confirm 100%), I can confirm that they do bite. I’ve had multiple encounters where I’m sleeping and I wake up to one of these tiny 1mm beetles bite me. At first I thought they were newborn Larder Beetles or something, but they don’t have the markings of it, plus I think they’re simply too tiny.

    The good news is that while the bites can be a bit startling (particularly if you have a flea or bedbug issue) they don’t actually seem to leave any marks or sores or such (which makes sense since they’re tiny, don’t have venom, and don’t “suck” blood or anything like that).

  22. If these are the same sort of beetles I’ve encountered (they look very similar, but can’t confirm 100%), I can confirm that they do bite. I’ve had multiple encounters where I’m sleeping and I wake up to one of these tiny 1mm beetles bite me. At first I thought they were newborn Larder Beetles or something, but they don’t have the markings of it, plus I think they’re simply too tiny.

    The good news is that while the bites can be a bit startling (particularly if you have a flea or bedbug issue) they don’t actually seem to leave any marks or sores or such (which makes sense since they’re tiny, don’t have venom, and don’t “suck” blood or anything like that).

  23. These are the most dangerous thing living in your home. Found in dog food,if invested by dog can make them lethargic and ill. They can get into ANYTHING! They chewed through my very thick tupperware. They normally lay eggs in food items so that after they hatch, food is available. I had put brand new Nylabones in the tupperware for Xmas. Later the following month, I noticed bugs all over my shelves as well as the tupperware was filled with them. I picked up the container to find little holes bored all the way through. I also found out they got into the Xmas pressies I had already wrapped. BUT I didn’t find out in time and the pressies were already given. I was MORTIFIED I had given my sisters house those pests. Also they love cardboard and wicker. They bite, invest and destroy! Almost impossible to kill. I diskette bones in boiling water, then bleach…They were still ALIVE! Forget roaches these bugs would probably survive radiation! DO NOT SQUISH AND LEAVE you may only be squishing the female and leaves the eggs behind which are only as big as the smallest for you can see!

  24. I too have some crazy tiny beetles in my bed and closet. They bite and burn, not itch. They don’t look exactly like drugstore beetles because they legs don’t protrude and there are no long antenna. They remind me of tiny June bugs but blacker and legs are hidden. I don’t know where to upload pictures, but I’d really appreciate an id!! Thank you so much.

  25. I live in Downsview. I just saw thousands of these bugs in my front garden while cleaning today. Is there any way of controlling these bugs naturally as I have 2 cats.

  26. I just came here to say drugstore beetles do bite humans. I’ve been trying to figure out what I’ve been dealing with for weeks since articles say they don’t bite. Like a previous comment have said, their bites are hard like a red ant. They somehow land in my bed and give me sharp bites, I suspect it’s because the AC and fan I have are blowing towards my bed.

  27. I noticed a firebug while walking in the Keele/finch neighbourhood in Downsview today. It caught my attention. What do they feed on?

  28. I’ve been dealing with Firebugs in my garden for about five years. They are attracted to my Rose of Sharon (Mallow family) and the Basswood / Linden tree (Tilia family) on my property. I would step on them whenever I saw them. I have pollinator friendly gardens, so I don’t want to spray anything harmful to any insects. I’ve been picking the Firebugs with long tweezers and depositing them into a jar of dish soapy water. I’ve picked about 100 so far and not seeing any other adults the past couple of days. I’m hoping I can break the cycle.

  29. To mirror what Frances said, I started noticing these about 5 years ago and they also mainly congregate around my Rose of Sharon bushes and eat the seed pods, located in Southern Ontario. I’ve got far too many Rose of Sharon bushes anyways so it didn’t matter if they were eating the seeds. The previous 4 years their numbers were seemingly staying in control however this summer they’ve absolutely exploded. Wondering if it’s time to start some method of control.

  30. found a few of them a few weeks ago thought they were some kind of Japanese beetle. yesterday Sept. 20 found hundreds in my large planter. looking further i see they are burrowing into my grass, there are at least 3 or 4 generations here already am trying to get rid of them don’t want to think what next year will bring if they survive the winter.
    Scarborough east, Ontario, Canada

  31. The battle with Firebugs in my garden continues. This year I have started using a new technique. I boil a kettle of water and then go looking for a nest. Each nest contains at least 100+ insects of various stages of growth. I pour a circle of boiling water around the firebugs and then fill it in. The bugs are dead on contact and there’s no pesticide residue lingering. I am also removing as much leaf litter as possible as these bugs prefer nesting under and mat of leaves. I purchased a leaf vacuum with mulcher to aid me in this endeavor.


Leave a Comment