Entomology (Study of Bugs)/mystery bug?


white mystery bug?
white mystery bug?  

white mystery bug?
white mystery bug?  
Hello! Can you help with identifying this type of bug and how to get rid of it? There seems to be a lot of them in our house in Orange County, CA. Started noticing them in Feb 2016. It is white, tiny (like a speck of dust or salt), seems to like and stay on clothing. I thought it may be lint or dust or fiber or dander, however when it is on a surface area, and you put your finger towards it, it seems to fly off in a straight line. They seem most active in the late afternoon and evening. They seems to bite, but not enough to leave a mark on the skin, but they do like to land on skin and can be felt. Vacuuming every night has helped because they are quite annoying when you feel them on your face and body when you are trying to go to sleep. We called a major pest company, they took samples, but they said that it was not a bug and couldn't do anything about it. Not sure if its relevant, but sometime in January 2016, there was a gnat issue in the house but that seemed resolved after removing all indoor plants, fogging the house, and treating some moldy soil in the backyard.  There was also a dead rat found in the attic that was removed a month ago (March 2016). We had found the entry point, sealed it off, and there doesn't seem to be any other critters up there. I have enclosed  a photo. Thank you for your help!

Dear Chris - I'm sorry, but I cannot see anything identifiable in your images, and your verbal description does not match any human pest that I am familiar with. I can only suggest that you use a moistened toothpick, Q-Tip, or similar object to place some of these in a small container of rubbing alcohol, and take that to your local office of California's Cooperative Extension Service (see <http://tinyurl.com/arr6xu9> for contact links), and someone there should be able to assist you.

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad


Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.


21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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