Solved! What Are the Small, Tiny Brown Bugs in My House?


Small brown bugs in the house can be a problem if you can’t tell them apart. Here is how to identify the bugs and how to get rid of them.

Q: I recently found a tiny little brown bug in my house. I kill them when I see them, but they keep coming back. How can I find out what kind of insect it is? Should I be concerned?

A: A tiny little brown bug may seem harmless because of its size, but whether it is harmless or not depends entirely on the type of bug you find. For example, ticks carry pathogens that can cause disease when they come in contact with humans. Small brown insects, such as cockroaches, do not sting or bite, but they multiply quickly and can be a health hazard if infested. You should look closely at the color, size, characteristics, and location of these insects to determine whether you are dealing with a medicinal beetle, a silverfish, or something else. Whether you find a small brown bug or a serious infestation, it is helpful to know the type of insect you are dealing with in order to eliminate the problem. The following tips will help you determine what type of small brown bugs you have in your home and what steps to take next to ensure that your food supplies and property are not harmed.

Drugstore beetles are often found in stored foods, while carpet beetles are often found hiding in carpets and rugs.

Drugstore beetles are small brown insects that congregate on stored items such as grain, seeds, and packaged foods. (They are also called bread and cookie beetles, which may be more appropriate given their food habits.) They may also burrow into books, wood products, tin or aluminum foil. They are about 2¼ to 3½ mm long and brown to reddish brown in color. The tips of the tentacles are three-segmented clubs, and the wing surfaces are lined with pores, giving them a linear appearance. If you find medicinal beetles in your pantry, it is recommended that you throw out infested food and thoroughly clean out your cupboards. Killing any remaining insects with a pyrethroid insecticide and sealing the food will prevent the return of the medicine beetles.

Carpet beetles, on the other hand, are oval-shaped and approximately 215 to 1¼ inches long. This tiny bug in the house is usually black, but may also be a mottled shade of white, brown, yellow, or orange. This tiny little brown bug can be found in homes and bedrooms and is said to be more likely to infest carpets and items made of wool, fur, leather, silk, felt, and animal skins. Household products such as boric acid and vinegar are effective against carpet beetle infestations. Sprinkle or spray any of these substances on areas where you see carpet beetles and vacuum.

Silverfish congregate in dark, moist areas.

Silverfish differ from other brown household insects because they have silver or metallic brown scales. They are 12-19 mm long, longer than other small beetles in the house. They have six legs, two tentacles, and three stiff tail-like hairs at the end of their bodies. Silverfish are often found in dark, damp places such as basements, laundry rooms, attics, and bathrooms. They tend to feed on sugars and starches found in books, wallpaper, photographs, documents, and other paper materials. They are also more common in the fall. These insects do not fly or bite, but they reproduce quickly and can trigger allergies, so it is important to detect and remove them early.