Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Clover Mites?


QUESTION: We've been battling this teeny insects for some time now. They swarm almost like ants, move quite quickly, come out about Spring-Summer and are most active at night. We have been finding them outside on our patio and inside on the window sills, baseboards, walls and floors. We've seen these black ones (picture attached), but also greyish/yellow (almost clear) smaller versions of them as well. We brought Bowco in to identify, and the guy told us they're clover mites. Upon researching them, other than their pattern of behavior; I don't agree? The clover mites I'm seeing online are more round and don't have much of a distinguished head? And are said to leave stains, which is not the case with what I have here. What I'm finding looks more like a narrow beetle? I originally thought book lice too? Please help. They don't seem to be harmful, but I'd really like to get these under control as the amount is increasing. Thank you!

ANSWER: Hi Melissa
I believe these are Collembola or springtails. They come in various shapes and sizes. You did not mention whether they jump when disturbed however. This is a sure sign they are springtails. They do not breed in houses and can enter under window cracks. They like moist conditions and feed on fungus spores and bacteria. They arrive in huge numbers and then gradually disappear. You cannot control them outside. Mother Nature takes care of that. I suggest that you hose them of the patio and the walls of the house and then try to find out how they are getting in. Rub a bar of soup on the window sills and into the cracks.
 I do not know who Bowco is but any exterminator who would look at these and call them mites should not collect any money. Do not call any more exterminators.
Keep me informed about these.

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QUESTION: Thank you very much!  They do look more like a springtails, but I'm not seeing a tail? They do not jump or fly and they almost seem to disenigrate when you squish them. The largest ones I've seen are no bigger than a pencil tip. They have an almost erratic behavior. Seem to "run" in different directions suddenly as if in search of something. Then stop and head back into the wall crack or window.

They do not really have a tail . They have a structure called an appendage that they cock under they abdomen and when disturbed they release it and it shoots them up in the air. Like a mousetrap dropped upside down. There are also some species of collembola that do not jump. I still think these are collembola. I do not know what else they could be given the huge numbers.

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Walter Hintz


I can answer any questions about insects and spiders.


I have taught science for over 57 years. I am presently teaching biology at the college level. I have done extensive graduate work in entomology.

Momentum Magazine The Ohio Journal of Science

B.S. In Ed Kent State Unuv M.Sc The Ohio State Univ National Science Foundation Fellowships: Electron Microscopy Univ of California Entomology Kent State Univ

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