Question Yesterday morning we stepped outside and were greeted by a swarm of tiny bugs covering our entire front porch. (stone not wood). They are tiny - smaller than the head of a pin. So small that I don't own a camera good enough to take a detailed pic so I'll do my best to describe them. They range in color from red to very dark brown, have a round body and a tiny head with 2 antennae that are almost longer than their bodies. And they jump rather high when disturbed. Some background of the area: we are in NJ, surrounded by woods filled with several downed trees from the storms over the past year. The weather has been unseasonably warm and wet. We've lived here for 20 years and have never seen anything like this, which has me concerned. The bugs don't seem to be interested in the inside of our home, but this morning they are all over our deck, grill, etc. They don't seem to be causing damage but I'd rather not have to live with them. Is this a fluke or something that I should work to get rid of?
Thanks for the nice description. You are definitely describing some kind of "springtail" in the arthropod class Collembola (they were once considered insects but are now classified as something more primitive). At worst they are a nuisance, even if you find them indoors. Here's a link to get you started with more info:
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Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.
Publications Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.
Education/Credentials Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.
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Past/Present Clients Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.