What are the tiny black bugs in my laundry room?

Question: We have a bug that is only in our laundry room. It is very tiny and black. They multiply quickly and hang out on the dirty laundry. We also found some in our dog's biscuits. They turned them to powder. Could you let me know what they might be and what kind of problems they can cause?

ANSWER: Most likely you have one of the many carpet beetle species that can appear inside the various room of  houses.

The furniture/carpet beetle (Anthrenus flavipes) is the most common of these bugs. This is a small beetle (usually just larger than a pin head) that is mostly oval in shape with a mixture of black and gray patches. It moves very slowly and rolls over when touched.

The adults can be observed moving slowly on walls. They are active in summer and relatively inactive in the winter.

A closely related and similar looking species is Anthrenus verbasci. It is a little larger than the furniture beetle, but occurs in the same places and is active in the spring and summer.

Carpet beetles can feed on such a wide variety of items:

  • wool
  • leather and other animal products
  • noodles
  • flour
  • meal and other stored food and plant products.

Their feeding habits make them tough to control. They can be everywhere in a house, and control in one location may not eliminate them from another.

Vacuum your laundry room. Then do a thorough cleaning, looking for any material that could be infested. Throw away what you can. Dry clean and store what is appropriate and hope that you got the bulk of it. These beetles can infest many materials in a house, and you may never have them all eliminated.

The best advice is to clean up as much as possible and then vacuum as much as possible.

For additional treatment options, contact your local Orkin Branch Office.

Related Questions:

The Orkin Man used the information above to answer similar questions submitted by Orkin.com users:

Question: I live in Denver Colo., and noticed over the last year or so many little bugs on the walls and lino floor in several rooms of my house, bathroom, dining room. Size is 1/8" or smaller, move very slowly, very flat, dark gray/black color. When squished they leave a brown mark. Many of them so I'm not sure where they came from, I have 4 plants but no pets or children. Curious what the bug is. Question: I have a very small beetle like bug that started in my bedroom but is now everywhere. It is black with white spots and is about a third of the size of an apple seed ... maybe even 1/4.  I live within 30 miles of Seattle. Question: I appreciate your company always answering my "bug" questions.

I hope I never need pest control, but if I do, I am going with your company!

My latest question involves a very small black bug—approx. 1/16 inch. It is oval shaped and seems to like windowsills and the baseboards. It moves so slowly you don't even realize it is a bug sometimes. Most people probably wouldn't even notice it. I usually just suck them up with a vacuum. I probably find one or two a day (maybe more now than before). They don't seem to bite, don't seem to like food and wander around in the daytime aimlessly. Sometimes I see one crawling on wall. I have never seen more than one at a time except in a corner of a room when I vacuum. What are they?


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