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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Tiny bugs an annoyance

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Tiny dark bug
Tiny dark bug  

another pic of bug
another pic of bug  
Hi Eric
We live in a first floor apartment in southern New Jersey - but not near the ocean. There were no pets in this apartment before we moved in (3 years ago)and we don't have any pets. There is wall to wall carpeting over a concrete floor. We have been having problems with tiny, dark, very fast flying bugs that have been a nuisance since we moved in. We have not treated them with chemicals because I have respiratory problems. They are impossible to catch.

They seem to be more active in daylight hours and are primarily attracted to food and light. As soon as food is opened, they appear immediately. We also find them floating in our sweetened hot coffee and they find their way onto the rim of our dinner dishes as we eat.

We've also noticed a few in our bathroom sinks and on the floor but not as much. I set vinegar traps thinking they were drain flies but they are not attracted to it. It seems they are also attracted to the light of my ipad, iphone and computer screen as soon as I turn them on. They are mostly in our kitchen area but in the evening they dart at our faces when the light from the tv is on.
I've cleaned, steamed and have gone through every nook and cranny and they are still around. I can only catch them by spraying them with Windex or placing saran wrap over them on the kitchen counter.
I've enclosed a photo of them and hope you can identify what they are.

Thanks so much

Answer
Marie:

The images appear to depict "scuttle flies," family Phoridae.  Here's more about them:

http://bugeric.blogspot.com/2011/01/scuttle-flies.html

and

http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/eh/docs/Specialized/Vector_Management/phori

and

http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/insects/find/phorid-flies/

I hope that the above links will help you conquer your problem.

Eric

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

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

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