Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Mystery infestation


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These small bugs (1-3mm) are crawling aroung a rock fireplace.  It seems hundreds have died on the mantle.  These were photographed on the mortar or rock.  Don't seem to be anywhere else in the house.  Probably there for a few months but we though the disbris on the manlte was flaked off mortar or moss/lichen.   House built in 1968.  Denver CO.  The rock runs from the roof down through attic and into our livingroom.  Some seem to have more red colored head and some more gray.


Believe it or not, I'm having a tough time even figuring out whether this is an insect or not....

There are two possibilities:  non-insect hexapods called "globular springtails," and winged or wingless insects called barklice.  Look at these links and you will see just how similar they are to each other in appearance:

Globular springtails:


Barklice and their allies:


Note that even *winged* barklice start out as wingless nymphs.

Neither of these creatures are pests in any way.  They can be a nuisance, but pose no threat to health, pets, or property.

You might consider taking intact specimens to the entomology department at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins.  University of Colorado in Boulder has a natural history museum, but no entomologist to my knowledge.

Wish I could be of more help, but without putting the critters under a microscope, I can't render a concrete verdict.


Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton


I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.


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.

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.

Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

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One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

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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.

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