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Problem Identification

Summary: Here's a story about someone who thought she had a pest problem when, in fact, she had a problem with identification. Actually, her problem was misidentification.

Susie; Chicago, IL writes:

I am glad I came across your site because I have a very odd situation and I could use some advice. About two weeks ago I noticed some black specks on my bedroom floor. I was finding about twenty at a time. They appeared one day when I got home from work and I cleaned them up right away. But, they continued to return each day. When their presence became consistent I started researching œfeces of house pests and found that what I was finding resembled cockroach feces.

I decided to move all the furniture in my room and clean everything out, head to toe. I did not find a nest or any bugs in my room. I laid out several roach poison traps in various areas in my room. For two or three days after this I noticed only a few of the dark œdroppings on the floor and figured the poison was working. When I got home from work yesterday there were several hundred of the specks on the floor.

Now I am becoming very worried and hope you can give me some advice. I am sending you some close up pictures of the droppings. The size of the feces I am finding are close to the size of a poppy seed which are too small to come from a rodent. I can only find the droppings in my bedroom. They are not in my bathroom and they are not anywhere else in the house that I have noticed. When I found the hundreds of droppings yesterday they were strewn about, mostly near floorboards and other objects like my bed and a chest.

I am very clean and do not leave any food or open containers in my room. I have never seen a roach or any kind of bug in my house. When I go to work the floor is clean. When I come home from work there are droppings.

I have a cat and I have checked him and his areas thoroughly for pests. My roommates are not having pest issues and our building is sanitary.

Do you think these are roaches? If so, by the quantity of droppings I found yesterday do you think I have an infestation? Could my cat get ill from exposure to the droppings when I'm not home?

Ask the Exterminator writes:


I enlisted the help of two entomologists on this problem and here is what our opinion. We noted in the pictures of the droppings that each piece is uniformly smooth, plus each piece has two white markings. No animal or insect we know of create such uniform droppings. Therefore, we are guessing that what we are looking at is some type of plant material like a seed or beans.

Do you have any items that are stuffed with beans such as a bean bag chair or doll?

Susie writes:

This is very interesting! I read your email about the beans and rushed home. I found a toy my cat has been hiding from me that is very ratty and falling apart. That rascal! He has chewed a hole in the head and beans are falling out while he plays with it while I'm not home. He seems to be hiding it before I return. I never suspected the toy was the source. Clever kitty!

I am forever in debt. I can sleep soundly again, although I am slightly embarrassed. Thank you so much!

Ask the Exterminator writes:

Problem identification solved. Case closed!

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