Unknown Critter

Asked April 16, 2019, 3:31 PM EDT

The attached photos shows small insects that have invaded our kitchen. They seem to have a very short life span, don't seem to fly and crawl ever so slow. Unable to determine where they are coming from. Have sprayed household insect spray along the base of the kitchen cabinets but doesn't seem to stop them. Any help in identifying them and tips on how to STOP them would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Jackson County Oregon

4 Responses

There are several species of “home invader” insects in Oregon. These are species that congregate in houses or other structures in the fall, seeking a suitable place to spend the winter. They enter through any little gap or opening in doors, windows or walls. They can be fairly calm and quiet over the winter, but then as spring comes, they get active, looking for a way to the great outdoors. They often congregate along windowsills or other bright sunny locations as they leave their overwintering site and try to get out.

Unfortunately, I am not able to tell exactly what species you have from the pictures. The first one appears to be a lady beetle (aka ladybug). The multicolored Asian Lady beetle is a common home invader. The coloration is highly variable. I could not see any particular insect clearly in the second picture. However, if you still have them, please take specimens to the Jackson County Extension office. The folks there should be able to identify what you have and advise you on the best approach to handle them. Their address is:

Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center

569 Hanley Rd

Central Point, OR 97502

541-776-7371

If the extension office is not convenient for you, please send some additional pictures with the insects preferably a close up with the insect on its legs and some size reference like your fingers or a ruler.

Hopefully the attached additional photos will help in identifying the 'critters'. If not, I will capture a few and take them to the Central Point Office, per your advice.
Again thanks in advance.

Thank you for sending those new pictures. The good news is I can see what the insects are. The bad news would be that the insects in the pictures are adult carpet beetles.

The immature stages have a cylindrical shape with long hairs projecting from the body. The immatures tend to be in cryptic places (nooks and crannies, wall voids, other places where their food accumulates)

Adults feed on pollen and occasionally enter houses. However, large numbers of adults in the house suggest that you have an infestation inside. And it is the less conspicuous immature stage is the damaging stage. They are infamous for feeding on wool rugs and sweaters. They feed on protein sources so they do not go for cotton or synthetic fabrics. However, they also will feed on pet fur and dander, dead insects, other dead animals, as well as certain dried stored foods (e.g., dried beans, spices), and pet food. This is just to say that identifying sources of infestations is not obvious or easy. Any nook or cranny where pet fur accumulates can be a source, as can food spills in a pantry or light fixtures where dead insects have accumulated. Because you are seeing the adults in the kitchen, I would start by looking for food spills in the kitchen or pantry. Eliminating the immature food sources is the key to resolving the problem. Immediately empty vacuum cleaners and throw the debris away in a closed bag to keep any beetles from escaping back into the house.

The following links provide some additional guidance on managing carpet beetles.

https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/ef601

http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7436.html

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/carpet_beetles

Just a 'thank you' note for identifying my 'visitors' and the tips on how to get rid of them.

THANKS!!