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I have tiny white bugs in my bathroom

Question: I have these very tiny white bugs in my bathroom. They stay in large groups and seem to move fairly quick. You can’t see them unless you focus your eyes directly on them, yet from a distance they look like sawdust or dust. I looked online, and they are not termites, clover mites, house mouse, mites or silverfish. No one seems to have an answer on what they are. Please help me to identify these so I may get rid of them. I’m in Florida and it’s winter.

Answer: Probably what you have are psocids (soo-cids) or book lice (an unfortunate name, since they are neither lice nor always associated with books). They could also be springtails, but only by a thorough inspection and identification of the specimens would we be able to give you a definite answer.

book louse

These very small, pale yellow to brown insects live in humid areas such as bathrooms and kitchens, but they can occur in other locations in the house (especially in humid weather). Most of the time they are wingless, but sometimes you can encounter winged forms. They feed on microscopic mold and fungi, and some are associated with stored food materials which may also have some mold. There are a few psocids that are associated with cereals and are not usually found in humid areas. They may be found in quite dry kitchen cabinets.

The best control in the kitchen and kitchen cabinets is to remove everything from the cabinets, vacuum them very well (no soap and water), then use a hair dryer to dry out the site, then replace the stuff. Soap and water usually makes a paste and the paste hardens in cracks and crevices and prevents further cleaning, but leaves a residue that can be food for insects.

In the bathroom you can turn up the heat and close the door and leave it for a day to dry the place out, and you will kill the psocids.

For the ones in other places in the house, or when you find them on pieces of furniture, the best control is to dry out whatever or wherever these insects have been found. This may mean turning up the heat, taking items outside to dry in the sun, whatever it takes to lower the humidity in the environment they are in.

Your local Orkin Branch Office can help you with this issue.

Call them and an Orkin Pest Specialist will assess the situation to make sure you have psocids or maybe springtails. A thorough inspection may be the only way to tell. Your Orkin Pest Specialist will develop a customized solution, backed by science, that best meets your needs.

Orkin used the information above to also answer the following questions submitted by users:

  • Question: The last two days I have noticed microscopic insects in my bathtub. I have no idea where they are coming from, and they are not in the outside areas. Looking at them with a lens, they look like clear ants, but I’m unsure. I don’t know if they are coming from my walls because I am regrouting the tub area. Can you help?

  • Question: I have found hundreds of small salt-grain-sized bugs in my house all over, what are they?

  • Question: I have recently discovered that there are very small white-colored bugs in my bedroom. They are as small as a dot. I am wondering if you know what they are and how to get rid of them in a safe way without disrupting furniture, electronic equipment.

  • Question: My apartment complex provides regular pest control services about every 2-3 weeks. Yet I constantly find these bugs on my walls and counters (mostly in the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen). They do not fly, they are about a half inch long with antennae, and when I kill them with a tissue they become almost translucent although when they are all on the wall or whatever they appear to be brown. They seem to show up in areas that have been dark for awhile (e.g., inside cabinets, closets, dark bedroom or bathroom) but no matter how often I have pest control (and it is Orkin) they never seem to go away, yet I never have any other bug issues. I live in northern Florida.

  • Question: I periodically see these little brown bugs ( I think they have six legs) in different areas of my home, bathroom sink, shower, living room floor, kitchen sink. They seem to go near food. I saw the first one around a year ago. I do not see them often, although I have seen two in the last three days. Do you have any ideas what they could be?

  • Question: We have bugs in our apartment since a hurricane. I do not know if they are ants or termites. The are very small and move VERY fast!! They are dark in color in the front and lighter in the back. They seem to be around water, sweets and our bed. Can you please help us figure out what these are? We have used ant spray to kill them, but they keep coming around. We have reptiles in the apartment and a cat, so we do not want to fog the apartment.

  • Question: We have tiny bugs that look like brown dots near the windows and in the tubs and sinks. They invade in the springtime and this year they are worse than ever. What are they, and can we keep them from coming back?

  • Question: Can you identify this insect? It is tiny, tiny. It is only noticed when there are a number of them on the counter. Individually, they are specks. When found on the counter or in the kitchen sink they are dead. We have closed all holes under the sink, but the insects still appear.

  • Question: Hi! There are hundreds of beige specks by my kitchen sink. I clean them and they reappear.

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