Bugs That Look Like Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds on baked bread in a basket.
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Bugs of any shape or size tend to get your attention. When identifying bugs shaped like sesame seeds, there are a few common culprits, one of which is making national headlines and causing people to toss their mattresses. Sesame-seed-shaped bugs are found indoors and out and can live on humans, animals or plants.

Bed Bugs

A close-up of a bed bug on fibers.
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If you are noticing black or dark brown sesame-seed-shaped bugs inside your house, especially on bedding or furniture, consider the lowly bed bug. They are not just part of a good-night ritual phrase ("Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite") but, according to an August 2010 CBS news report, have made a huge comeback. Bed bugs feed on human blood and are capable of hiding in the smallest crevices. They multiply quickly and are difficult to eradicate. You can identify a bed bug by its appearance. They are approximately 1/4-inch long, wingless, shaped like a sesame seed and have a flat exoskeleton. Bed bugs leave behind reddish brown excrement and itchy bite marks that are visible on their host--you.

Black-Legged Tick (Deer Tick)

A close-up of a black-legged tick on skin.
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The black-legged tick, formerly known as the "deer" tick, is another bug that has a sesame-seed-shaped appearance. These are the ticks that are responsible for the spread of Lyme disease. The ticks are small, at times no larger than the head of a straight pin, but appear larger once they become engorged with their host's blood. Deer ticks have a narrow head area and a rounded, wide lower body. The eight legs are black. They feed on human and animal blood by attaching their mouth parts to the skin. Deer ticks are not found in every state; however, they are common in the northeast, central and southern parts of the United States.

Aphids

A close-up of aphids on a green stalk.
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Aphids are small, sesame-seed-shaped bugs that live in great numbers on plants. The average size of an aphid is 1/16 to 1/8 inch long. They come in colors of green, red, pink, brown and black. Aphids are at home on indoor and outdoor plants and feed on the underside of leaves and stems. The good news about aphids is that they don't feed on humans or animals. You can manage aphids easily by spraying them off the plants with a steady stream of plain water or spraying an infested plant with a soap-and-water mixture.

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