You are here:

Entomology (Study of Bugs)/What are these tiny bugs?


mystery bug
mystery bug  
 we live in central florida, and recently these tiny bugs have appeared in a kitchen cabinet inside a soup bowl (seems as if they are falling into it, since its only the top bowl)
  Daily, there are usually about 4-5 that appear; they crawl very slowly.   I thought maybe ghost ants, but they are even smaller, and much slower.
There is no food in the cabinet, and the drawer above holds only plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and paper lunch bags. (the drawer seems to be bug-free, but with the exception of seeing them in the white soup bowl, they are very hard to see)
 Attached is an image of one, magnified 100x from my daughter's "toy" magnifying lens.
  any help you could give would be greatly appreciated!

Hi, Josh:

Thank you for including the image with your question.  As fuzzy as the picture is, I can tell definitively that the insect is a "booklouse" in the order Psocodea.

Apparently they feed on molds, so you might have an overriding issue right there.  Here is a good fact sheet about booklice:

another one more particular to Florida:

and one more:

Generally speaking, any URL result for a search for "booklice" that ends in ".edu" is going to be more authoritative and unbiased than anything from a ".com" commercial source.  You should be able to control booklice without resorting to chemicals (not a good idea in a kitchen anyway), and without professional intervention.  Do discard any infested cereals, grains, or other products; and store vulnerable foodstuffs, including dry pet food, in glass, metal, or durable plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.


Entomology (Study of Bugs)

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for, 2009.

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.

©2016 All rights reserved.