Currently viewing the tag: "Household Pests"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Bug in my house – Please help
Dear Bugman,
I am so glad that there is a site such as yours. I don’t’ know what I would do if I didn’t find your site. I have a critter in my house that just baffles me. I don’t know what it is and I have gone through the books in the library and I just can’t find out what it is that is living with me. It’s about an inch long from head to tail. It has antenna on its head and the tail is like a tail of a fish or mermaid with another set of antennas. It swings form side to side. At the bottom, it seems to have multiple legs like a caterpillar? I’m really not that sure, it just seems to slide on the floor. Anyway, I find it on the walls, in my drawers in the kitchen, bedroom, bath, on my bed… I can catch it pretty easily, it doesn’t move too quickly, BUT it does have the capability to slide right into the WALLS. When I kill it by smudging it, it just seems to just flakes into pieces. I don’t see it all the time; I see one maybe every other day in a new location. Would you PLEASE offer any information to see how I can terminate it?

Dear S.,
You have Silverfish, a common household pest that is difficult to erradicate. They are very primitive insects. They will eat most anything, including the glue from book binding or wallpaper. We have gotten a report that Cloves when spread around helps to eliminate them.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Reposted February 4, 2010
She has Debris
(04/09/2004) what are these bugs
i have been fighting. some sort of bug infestation since late october 2003…it’s got to the point where people believe i am suffering from delusionial paratosis.  after  6 months of this crap I went around my house with stickers collectiong samples.  i’ve undergone a psych evaluation .. results 100% sane/  my landlord won’t do anything nor will he fix stuff,  i believe that there is a pigeon mite infestation from the attic and some sort of carpet beetle/ silverfish infestation.. let me know what you find in the scanned immages.. these were actual beetles /frass/mites  placed on scanner plate

Jenny and Amanda’s Floor

Editor’s Note: Though we gave this homemaker kind advice about the inevitability of critters getting into the house, we are nonetheless amazed at the thoroughness of her housework. While we feel some of her time might be better spent in more rewarding pursuits, we somehow shutter at what she would find should she ever bring her stickers to our offices. Sadly, we were unable to identify any of her “bugs” and might actually concur with the delusional parasitosis diagnosis.

re: problem resolved after months of dealing with this problem, see link below -No OCD, no delusional paritosis -infestations include the following (sowbugs, silverfish, house centipedes- in all rooms of home) pigeon mites from pigeon roost in attic (landlord blocked entrance 3 yrs ago, leaving nests etc there) and mice. (tenant lawyer want me to sue)

Kitchen Cabinets Bottom

Dear Rocker Mom,
We are happy you have solved your mystery. Pill Bugs should not infest the home, though they might enter upon occasion. Centipedes, while they are frightening, are harmless and will also help to devour any other intruders, like cockroaches, crickets and spiders. Silverfish can be a nasty infestation issue, especially since they love to eat the glue in book bindings and behind wall paper. Your biggest problem would be the mites, though they are much too small to see. They will cause itching and are very difficult to eradicate. Certain mice will carry the Hanta Virus. Good luck with your law suit.

Ed. Note:  February 3, 2010
This letter got lost when we migrated our website in 2008, and we had to locate the original letter and images on our old computer because it is such a wonderful letter.  We never actually identified the crushed insect parts in these scanned images, but a skilled entomologist might be able to identify some of these particles.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I love your web site!
We recently moved into a new house in the Phoenix, AZ area and we are seeing a lot of small (1/4 to 1/2 inch) bugs in the house that look a little bit like the silverfish that I used to see back in Virginia. They are very fast runners and they like to sit high up on the walls – particularly in the corners. They are beige with 3-4 brown stripes running from side to side and they have long thin antennae and what looks like antennae off the rear of the bug as well. They are extremely soft-bodied and, when threatened, their first response is to try to crawl deeper into the corner rather than simply run.
My camera will not let me zoom in close enough to get a decent photo, so I hope my description is adequate.
Peoria, AZ

Ed. Note: Several hours later, Bob sent this email.
After reading more about silverfish and firebrats, I suspect that these are the latter. Oddly enough, we don’t find them in the damp areas of the home as much as in the dry. We do not find them in sinks or drains or in greater quantities in the bathrooms or kitchen. Right now, I can find 2 or 3 of them in the living room and each bedroom, parked at the ceilings. The house stays pretty dry (<30% humidity most of the time) and there are no signs of moisture anywhere. They do not seem to be more active at night and they do not seem to hide during the day. The body is less carrot shaped than indicated in the drawings and photos I’ve seen on the web, with a slightly more rounded rear. My wife calls them “trilobites” because of their prehistoric appearance.

Hi Bob,
I am inclined to agree that you probably have Firebrats. They are very primitive insects and your wife likening them to trilobytes is interesting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I stumbled on your website during a search. I have a question concerning Chocolate. I have a co-worker that brings me Hershey Kisses every morning. I don’t eat them right away, so, when I finally decided to eat a few, to my surprise, there were little brown gnat type bugs that had burrowed through the kiss!!!!!!!!!!! One co-worker had the entire Hershey Kiss gone including the almond! It did leave the shell however! HELP. We just want to know what they are! Thanks!

Hi Pamela,
Certain types of Pantry Beetles will eat chocolate, burrowing through the candy leaving the shell intact.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination


Dear Silverchicken,
I think your sister was pulling your leg. Earwigs, on the other hand, have a reputation for seeking
refuge in ears, hence their name. Earwigs will not burrow or do any permanent damage, they are just
seeking shelter. No need to fear silverfish or earwigs.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination