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Pest Control/Are these insect eggs?

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QUESTION: Hi Jack,

I found what looks like grains of sand on the seat my baby's infant swing.  My husband and I vacuumed them up about a week ago and washed the seat. But I saw that these sand like things are back today! Can you tell me if these are insect eggs and what kind & how we can get rid of them?  I'm especially concerned since we have a baby in the house.

ANSWER: Kathy,

I can't see them clearly enough to be certain but they don't look like insect eggs. Plus, I don't know of an insect that would lay eggs in a random pattern like this. Check the area above where this swing is located, I'm wondering if the material is coming down from above, for example drywood termite frass (see http://www.livingwithbugs.com/drywood_termite.html for info.). Where in CA are you located?

Jack DeAngelis


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QUESTION: Hi Jack,

Thank you for your speedy response!  The Ceiling above the swing seems to be intact but there's a vent on the ceiling behind the swing. Maybe it's coming from there? However there are no sand like grains on the seat back just the seat bottom. I tried to take another closeup picture-can you see it better? We live in northern California-Newark.

Kathy

Answer
Those particles have grooves that are similar to drywood termite frass. Plus, you are within the climate zone where these termites occur (see map red area on map from the page above). You could take a sample of this material to UC Davis for examination under a scope but I think there are probably drywoods somewhere above the swing. Look for small holes from which this material may be falling. The other possibility is that the material is in the duct work and is being blown out of the vent. Try closing the vent and see if that stops it.

Jack DeAngelis  

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Jack DeAngelis

Expertise

I can answer questions about the control of pest insects, spiders, mites and related arthropods. These household pests include termites, carpenter ants, powderpost beetles, nuisance ants, bed bugs, cockroaches, fleas, wasps, and many others. I can also answer questions about using pesticides and other pest control tools such as baits and traps.

Experience

I am a retired university extension entomologist. I've taught and conducted research in urban and agricultural entomology. I've published over 70 extension publications, 20 research publications and several books about insects.

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Entomology

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