Are these bed bugs?
September 24, 2018 11:55 AM   Subscribe

Do these look like bed bugs (three photos here)? Location: New York City

Reasons to think not: I have found them a couple of times, but always on/in food. They are sometimes active during the day time. I tried to put out bed bug traps around my bed and didn't catch anything. I haven't heard anything from others in the apartment building, etc.

Reasons to think so: It's New York City. Every three or four months I might notice a bite on my ankles or legs, but that could be from other bugs.

And, if the answer is unclear, is there a way that I can find out unequivocably by Wednesday?
posted by crocodiletsunami to Pets & Animals (13 answers total)
100% no.
posted by acidic at 12:02 PM on September 24, 2018 [4 favorites]

Since I'm curious, any idea what they are?
posted by crocodiletsunami at 12:03 PM on September 24, 2018

Absolutely not bed bugs, they look like some type of beetle.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 12:04 PM on September 24, 2018

Absolutely not bedbugs; look like they could be merchant grain beetles?
posted by drlith at 12:09 PM on September 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

They look a bit like flour beetles, maybe? (def not bedbugs, btw)
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 12:39 PM on September 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

At a single glance I knew they weren't bedbugs. They're much too small and the body length to body width ratio is much too long. (Source: I had bedbugs.) I'd recommend spending some time looking at photos of actual bedbugs - everyone in NYC should. It will make you less scared the next time you encounter some random non-bedbug insect in your place.

As for what they are: they do look like they could be some type of grain beetle. I had something very similar once, in an office actually, and I asked a question about it here. They are annoying but harmless. Yours may be breeding in a neglected old package of flour or crackers at the back of your cabinets...
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:39 PM on September 24, 2018

I'm thinking flour beetles as well. Absolutely not bed bugs.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:27 PM on September 24, 2018

You wouldn't see bedbugs in, on, or near food, because the only thing they want to eat is you. It's not a bad idea to store your food in bugproof containers, though: ziplocks or plastic/glass will stop these little buddies, and will also deter roaches as a bonus. Any one-off bites you're getting are likely from mosquitos, which are everywhere in the city -- one bit me right on the bicep on the Canal Street subway platform, once.
posted by halation at 2:33 PM on September 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

They look a bit like weevils - or at least the one on its side does. Not bedbugs. Still icky to find in food, though
posted by scruss at 2:54 PM on September 24, 2018

They look exactly like the merchant flour beetles I am afflicted with. A closely related species, the sawtooth flour beetle, lacks the ability to fly. An example picture of them.

The solution is to find anything they have infested and chuck it. This can be maddeningly difficult, especially if you are short or share a kitchen. Guess how I know.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 3:01 PM on September 24, 2018

one bit me right on the bicep on the Canal Street subway platform, once.

A Møøse once bit my sister... No realli! She was Karving her initials on the møøse with the sharpened end of an interspace tøøthbrush given her by Svenge - her brother-in-law - an Oslo dentist and star of many Norwegian møvies

Seriously, not bedbugs. Squat and round, burn it to the ground; long and thin, breathe again! (Well, not that flour beetles are any more fun. But nothing is less fun than bedbugs. I have a bit of an on-again, off-again clothes moth problem and, infuriating as it is, I would a million times rather that than bedbugs. Sorry, sweaters!)
posted by praemunire at 3:14 PM on September 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

Nope. If anyone out there ever needs a bedbug ID, you can put a specimen in a zippy bag and take it out to the folks at cornell cooperative extension on long island and they will ID it for you.
posted by elgee at 9:15 PM on September 24, 2018

Even in the blurry photo I can tell it’s got elytra, which means not bedbug.

Squish them, they will crunch, which also means not bedbug.

It’s either a beetle or a true bug.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:14 AM on September 25, 2018

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