Name that bug!

topic posted Wed, May 25, 2005 - 3:31 PM by  The Hun
Well, I have a bug in my home that I'm very curious about. I'm relatively new to Missouri, and haven't paid much attention to the insect population since I've lived here over the past few years. My landlord, upon moving into my apartment, was very paranoid about getting bugs. He's apparently had them before. Once spring hit, we started to see small, brown, almost trangular shaped flying insects hovering about the place. They didn't seem to be interested in any open food, they were just "hanging out" as far as I could tell. I started wondering where they were coming from, but couldn't find any clues. One night, I witnessed two apparently mating near my cieling fan. Disturbed by my prying, they flew onto a nearby wall, ajoined the entire way from behind. I was pretty impressed that they could keep their wings in rhythm to make the flight. Then, a few days ago, I started noticing tiny little brown bugs, about the size of a pin head, laying on their backs in my bathroom on the windowsill. They appeared to be dead, but when I blew on them, they uprighted themselves and walked about briefly. They are about the size of a pin head. I decided to get some pictures of them, and found that they had very attractive patterns. The smallest of them are a uniform dull brown, but the larger, and I'm assuming more mature, have rough stripes running opposite to their body length. Here are some photos! Anyone know what these are?
posted by:
The Hun
St. Louis
  • Re: Name that bug!

    Wed, May 25, 2005 - 3:37 PM
    I've been reading, and I think I may have figured them out. They look like Indianmeal moths when they have wings. Basically, they're a "pantry pest." They eat grain products typically.

    The site I was browsing even mentioned that the adult beetles and moths can be found around windows.

    Interesting... luckily, since I don't like killing bugs, it is not recommended to kill them in the first place. They say that typically they are infesting some sort of grian such as flour, rice, etcetera. We have a big bag of jasmine rice in the pantry that I haven't looked at yet. Once the food is removed, they'll typically go with it or find someone else's house to hang out in.

    Mystery solved!
    • Re: Name that bug!

      Wed, May 25, 2005 - 3:44 PM
      Nevermind... mystery not solved. They say that Indianmeal moth larvae are caterpillar-like, whereas these ones are beetle-like. They also say that they cocoon, and spin silk-like webs as larvae in the food source they are in. I've not seen an instance of that. So, this one's still in the air. Literally. One thing that was similar between what I'm seeing and the Indianmeal moth is that "Adults [Indianmeal moths] fly in a zigzag fashion if disturbed during the day." These definitely do that. If you walk into one, they start flying back and forth all over the place like crazy.
      • Re: Name that bug!

        Fri, May 27, 2005 - 9:27 PM
        i have seen those bugs, or at least, their cousins about somewheres. i can't place it in my brain. let us know if you do solve the mystery.
  • Unsu...

    Re: Name that bug!

    Sat, June 18, 2005 - 6:54 PM
    Are the ones in photos "bugs001" and "bugs002" the ones that are pinhead-sized? What are the sizes of those other beetles in 003 and 004?

    You may be looking at carpet beetles (Dermestidae, relatives of the flesh-eating bone-cleaning beetles used in college science labs etc). Others that do not focus on flesh are household pests. Look for small caterpillar-like larvae crawling on your walls...often with very long hairs, and often less than 1/4" long.

    Perhaps that link may help.
    • Re: Name that bug!

      Thu, June 23, 2005 - 10:32 PM
      The ones in bugs001 and 002 are pinhead-sized, or a bit larger. The ones in 003 and 004 are smaller, maybe 1/8" or less, though I'm not great at such small measurements. I'm thinking now that the upside-down bug is actually not a bug at all, but the sheddings of one, as the article suggests.

      Very helpful info... thank you. Based on the information therein, I am almost certain that the insects on my windowsills are in fact the black carpet beetle (Attagenus mezatoma) and/or varied carpet beetle (Anthrenus verbasci). The sketches match quite well, as do the descriptions. Because they've been around so long, it makes me wonder where exactly they are coming from. Seeing as I've had a continued problem with the indianmeal moth, which after a period of doubt I did successfuly identify, it wouldn't suprise me that I also have these grain-eating bugs.

      Update and closure on the indianmeal moths discussed in this thread: They are in fact Indianmeals, the only reason I doubted this was because I hadn't found any larvae-stage or cocoons, and hadn't found any affected foodstuffs that they could be nesting in. At least, I didn't look very hard. I was pretty shocked to find that one of my cabinets was crawling with them. Above the cabinet, they had been mating, the larvae had been growing and maturing, cocooning and becoming the moths. I found that the food source they were using as a nest was a long-forgotten opened bag of organic dehulled pumpkin seeds. They had also interestingly enough attempted to nest in a bag of dried hibiscus, without much apparent success.

      I removed the nest, but the moths continue to mate and produce offpspring so rapidly that I am unsure whether or not they've found a new nest or if they're just hanging around their old locale simply because they knew at one point it was there. My landlord, I fear, doesn't share my interest in these bugs, so I'm kind of at a standstill on what to do.

      I keep reading that these bugs are best controlled by prevention alone, which makes me think I'm a bad tenant, but my landlord once mentioned that he had bug problems before and spent a lot of money getting rid of them. Perhaps he didn't get rid of the carpet beetles, as they seem to be coming from somewhere within the walls. The indianmeal moths, I know that I introduced here unwittingly with those pumpkin seeds, so now I am just trying to figure out how to un-introduce them...

      Despite the implications and the landlord issues, this has been a pretty interesting little study into common household bugs.

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