Pest Detective-The Thanksgiving Mystery

Sara our pest technician has a problem, her client has been planning a big Thanksgiving dinner with tons of food, family and decorations galore but for the past week she has been inundated with fluttering bugs all throughout her home. Sara is the regular tech for this home and she likes this account very much because the lady is so nice and the Grandfather is an old time pest pro that occasionally has the energy to tell old stories but he’s seen some better days. Sara needs to find a quick solution that will rid the house of this persistent pest but she soon realizes these bugs look familiar but they just don’t quite fit the bill of what she’s seen before.

Can you help Sara out?

Like any good tech Sara collects the bugs for identification and she knows immediately they are beetles but she doesn’t know which kind and her job was made harder by the lack of any real distinct features. Most were on the window sill of the front room. She’s pretty good with pest ID but as with most of us, pantry pests and beetle ID is not one of her long suits. The beetle is very small, 1/8 inch or so and slightly oval in shape. She’s thinking carpet beetles but the markings on these guys are somewhat yellow with brown and the few larva she found just didn’t have the large ‘bristle tail’ she seemed to remember from a book or a class she had a long time ago. She only has this last visit to figure it out and she’s really pressed for time. So she quickly assesses the situation and for now she rules out carpet beetles and decides to look in all the places a pantry pest could be found.

The food pantry was clean as a whistle and not a bug to be seen, she checks her mouse bait placed in the garage just this fall and not a clue to be had. Pet food bags are clean and she even finds an old box of dog biscuits under the sink but still there is nothing to explain the beetles she’s found. Being the good tech she is Sara even checked the Indian corn decor hung on the front door next to the big bushel of traditional Thanksgiving artifacts the homeowner used to set the mood for her guests. Finding nothing she begins to think maybe it is carpet beetles after all.

An Old Dog Needs No New Tricks

By this time Grandpa has woken from a nap in his chair and is curious as to why the normally efficient Sara is frantically poking all around the home. “What’s got you all a flutter Sara?” Grandpa says eager to help. She explains the dilemma, shows him her bugs and the old pro just smiles and says,”Cabinet Beetles dear, we used to see them a lot around Thanksgiving when folks were more authentic and used real decorations not the fake stuff you see today, forget the corn make sure to throw out the chaff!” and with that he gave her a wink, pulled his afghan up over his chest and quickly fell back asleep. Sara’s heart filled with hope but just for a moment — “of course they’re cabinet beetles”, she said aloud in frustration, “Everybody calls em cabinet beetles but which kind are they and WHY aren’t in any of the CABINETS!”

Almost ready to give up Sara sat for a moment and pondered on what the seasoned pro said. Why just use a general group name and not say what kind of beetle and what did he mean about ‘real decorations and chaff?’ That’s when it hit her and she smiled from ear to ear as she patted the master technician on the head and headed for the door.

Have you figured it out like Sara has? Click this link to take the quiz and see if you are a super sleuth.

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.

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