Entomology (Study of Bugs)/gnats?

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QUESTION: i am being driven insane by tiny bugs that I cannot see.  I can only hear them.  They follow me and do not pester my family only me.  They first became apparent to me in my upstairs master bath and closet.  I cannot go into my closet now they will literally "attack" me.  They are constantly making a swarming sound by my ears. they follow me in the car, to the store and back home.  They imbed themselves in my clothes.  the ones in my clothes are usually black gnat like bugs  but some appear to be brown in color or sometimes white and triangular  ( I think these are scratching my skin along with my walls)  they crawl up my pant legs and sleeves and bite my legs and arms.  They love my hair.  Please help me, I feel like I'm losing it.  They wake me  in my sleep, I'm afraid of them almost.  This has been going on for over a month now.  We have put bleach in the drains, sprayed flying insect killer.  I use deet products, peppermint oil yet they keep coming. I don't know what to do.  They pester my animals as well.  I have two dogs, two macaws, a cat, and two guinea pigs.  I live in central pa, it is freezing outside yet I can go outside and they still follow me.  What do I do?

ANSWER: Jennifer,

There are only a few insects and mites that bite people (see http://www.livingwithbugs.com/unknown_bug_bites.html for a list) but many things that can mimic bug bites. Since you have not been able to capture a specimen for identification I think it is far more likely that these sensations are not related to insects or mites. Triggers range from allergies to psychological stress to various medical conditions including side effects of drugs. I urge you to talk with your MD about these possibilities. Sorry I can't be more specific but I'm sure this is not "bug" related.

Jack DeAngelis


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picture of the bugs
picture of the bugs  

Single Bug in blinds
Single Bug in blinds  
QUESTION: I attached a photo of the bugs.  I cannot see them as they are buzzing next to me but occasionally I do get lucky and kill some.   There is also another one, the one that seems aggressive.  I had a sample but my husband broke it in half last night ( it was in a baggie for a few days) This one is brown and almost triangular in shape, and kind of hard, not like the gnats which you can just rub and destroy. It is very tiny, we could hardly see what it was even under a magnifying glass. I agree that this all is absurd and have thought that I am losing it but assure you it is some sort of bug.  I may have brought them in by storing an outside fountain in our garage or by cleaning the hardwood floors with a vinegar, palmolive and water mix.  I also feed the birds and some stray cats next to the house.  Any or all of these things could have attracted them but I just need to know  what I'm dealing with so I can get rid of them. We live in a newly built home which still has new construction going on all around us and I keep a very clean house despite the small zoo that I have.  Any thoughts?

Answer
I can't see any details in the first image but the second looks like a fairly large fly, I can't identify the species. Your best option is to capture a sample so it can be examined under a microscope. Contact your local Cooperative Extension office (www.extension.org) and they can help you contact the state university for help with the id.

Jack DeAngelis

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Jack DeAngelis

Expertise

I can answer questions in any area of entomology (study of insects, spiders, mites, ticks, and other terrestrial arthropods). Contact me about home and garden insects, insects that bite and sting, and insects that damage homes such as carpenter ants and termites.

Experience

20 years as university extension entomologist, now retired; currently publish a website about home and garden insects.

Publications
see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Entomology

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