What are the bugs I found living on a messy desk?
June 21, 2012 11:33 AM   Subscribe

What are these bugs I found while cleaning off a very messy desk?

I just cleaned off a desk that had had stacks of papers sitting on it untouched for a full year, if not longer. When I moved one of the stacks of papers I found a bunch of small bugs that I'd never seen before. Unfortunately I freaked out and made them disappear before I thought to get a picture, but they were tiny-to-small, a mottled light brownish, and were the approximate size and shape of small dried lavender buds. Some were smaller than others. They seemed to move kind of fast, but that may have just been my perception upon encoutering unexpected unfamiliar bugs. They kind of looked like very small moths with their wings folded, only without the prominent antennae, and I'm mostly certain that they didn't actually have wings.

Possibly relevant: There was food (a couple of candybars) on the desk, too, but it was still sealed and the desk itself didn't have any food residue. I found what looked like very fine sand or sawdust in the same general area I found the bugs, but it may very well have been actual sand, and the wood (or "wood," I'm not sure) of the desk itself is undamaged.

I am certain they were not: termites, ants, spiders, beetles, or roaches.

Sorry I don't have more details, but I'm hoping someone can provide a place to start looking.
posted by rhiannonstone to Science & Nature (5 answers total)
Silver Fish. Warning: Images of critters.
posted by tilde at 11:36 AM on June 21, 2012

Browsing whatsthatbug.com always soothes & informs. Perhaps they were booklice?
posted by feral_goldfish at 11:41 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

They could well be silverfish, as tilde says. I've seen them and they move fast when exposed to light, and look shiny. They could be after the paper, or a book, or some other crumb of something. Do the papers look chewed-on?
posted by cabingirl at 11:50 AM on June 21, 2012

I'm fairly certain they weren't silverfish, as they didn't seem to have the prominent antennae or the horizontal striping, but I'm not completely dismissing the possibility. Definitely not book lice, the bodies didn't appear quite so independently sectioned.
posted by rhiannonstone at 12:27 PM on June 21, 2012

Flour moths?
posted by janerica at 2:33 PM on June 21, 2012

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