Please tell me this is a Viennese ladybug in my bed...
April 11, 2014 7:40 AM   Subscribe

Found a little critter in the bedlinens at the Airbnb place where I'm staying. Entomologists of Mefi, tell me whether to freak out or not. (Please excuse any typos resulting from being on German keyboard.)

I've been in Vienna since Sunday afternoon. On the second day, I noticed what appeared to be a few bug bites on my calves and stomach. (But they may not actually be bites; for reasons too long to go into here, I sometimes get bite-like welts that aren't actually bites at all, especially when traveling.) The woman whose apartment it is and I looked but could find no evidence of bed bugs, but we did a thorough cleaning/washing/drying just to be sure. The bites (or whatever they are) itched for a day or two, then started to fade. Alles klar so far...

Then today, while making my bed, I found this critter (1, 2, 3; for size comparison, its next to a Euro one cent coin, which is a little smaller than a dime). It appears to have very small wings, which Im hoping rules out bed bug or flea, but I dont want to rely on my limited knowledge. Anyone care to take a crack at putting my mind at ease, or giving the green light to panic? Fwiw, Ive had no further bites. (The woman I'm staying with says it doesnt look like typical bugs shes seen around the house. Shes also headed to Brussels for the weekend, so isnt around at this point to help further.)
posted by scody to Science & Nature (12 answers total)
Could it be a carpet beetle?
posted by fancyoats at 7:42 AM on April 11, 2014

That doesn't look like a bedbug, but it's the bites that would concern me. I'd take precautions with your luggage when you return home.
posted by amaire at 7:42 AM on April 11, 2014

Bed bugs don't have wings. Also looks too large to be a flea to me, but having never dealt with that particular infestation, can't say for certain.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 7:43 AM on April 11, 2014

it's definitely not a flea.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:54 AM on April 11, 2014

If the patterning is a sort of brown-and-cream camo pattern, then it's probably a carpet beetle. Pretty harmless, although if you find a lot of them or their larvae, a good spring clean could be in order. They don't bite.
posted by pipeski at 7:57 AM on April 11, 2014

She only has a few rugs in the house, and none in my room, if that's relevant. But so far I'm breathing a little easier!
posted by scody at 8:02 AM on April 11, 2014

Yep, definitely not a bedbug. (IANAEntomologist, but I spent a few months last year battling the little f*ckers and so have seen more than my share up close).
posted by metaBugs at 8:18 AM on April 11, 2014

Not a bedbug or flea. Looks like a harmless beetle. I wouldn't be worried.
posted by catatethebird at 8:26 AM on April 11, 2014

Yes, not a bedbug. Some kind of dermestid beetle (carpet beetles are one type and it does look like a carpet beetle to me, though I'm not an expert). They eat a variety of stuff, but are not the problem a bedbug would be for you, and don't bite people. They are more an issue for the apartment owner's stuff than they are for you hopefully, especially if you only see the odd beetle. More info. at the link I included.
posted by gudrun at 8:33 AM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Definitely a beetle. No major household pests (that I know of) are beetles, so you should be fine. You can relax.
posted by Scientist at 8:44 AM on April 11, 2014

Definitely of the beetley type. Carpet beetle larvae have little spiky hairs that irritate some people's skin, so if it is a carpet beetle, that might explain the welts.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:56 AM on April 11, 2014

Definitely not a bed bug. Obviously wash and dry the bedding if you can - just in case. and inspect the mattress area for any others.
posted by kmr at 1:45 PM on April 11, 2014

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