The Southern Home Bestuary: Living with our critter friends and enimies.

The Mystery of the Black Dots
September 24, 2009, 7:33 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Small flesh-eating beetles        Harmless          These too will pass  

 As a child I slept with my toys and pets, as a man I slept with my wife now, as an aging widower, I prefer to sleep alone. In recent weeks I found that I had new bed partners in the way of black elongate dots that appeared to be fecal pellets from something being dropped from my fiberboard false ceiling.


Flesh-eating beetles on a marble top - about one per square inch.

Flesh-eating beetles on a marble top - about one per square inch.

 Closer inspection with a 10-power hand lense revealed that these were actually small brown beetles. A call to Clemson University’s  “Bug Guys” elicited the opinion that these were likely members of a large group of undistinguished small beetles that were food specific. Among these were cigarette beetles, those that fed on fur and others that were carrion feeders. They postulated that I had a dried dead rat somewhere, and the insects were feeding and raising their young on it.

  As readers of previous posts will recall, I did have a problem with wood rats; and one had apparently died in the walls of the house or in the false ceiling. I had the ceiling panels taken down and that area cleaned. No rat was found. I used another “bug bomb,” and hoped for the best.

 No luck. I have still have them, but in fewer numbers. Ultimately they will exhaust their food supply and, having accomplished their biological function, will die out.  As they eat only dead flesh, I have no fear of being eaten alive in my bed, although this would make an interesting plot for a short story.

  The moral here is to always make your bed. You never know what may crawl, or fly, between the sheets with you.

3 Comments so far
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i have these unfortanitly and my mother said we may have a dead mouse and i was likee noo but we havent heard anything or caught anything, it scared me when i first seen them because i didnt no what they were are they harmless ?? they justt stay on my cieling and they’re gone when i come back from college but later on they appear again but they appear back with more and more each time the most ive seen is about 10 nw but im getting worried 😦

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