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Pests/TINY BUGS ON CAR EXTERIOR

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Question
Hi. I left work the other night at 6:30p, and when I got to my car, it had hundred's of tiny crawling bugs that looked like "splinters". They were light brown, no legs, no heads. They were "moving" very slowly. They were on the roof, the sides, the back, the front, my license plate, you name it. I was afraid to get in the car, because thinking they'd "drop inside" the car. I was also afraid they'd sneak in thru a door jam, a groove, an opening, the engine, etc. Luckily, they didn't. I got on the freeway, and they blew-off of course, because I was driving 70mph. I was parked next to the vacant field, which is getting flowers due to Springtime. I came out the next evening, same time, but had parked across the street from this field. This time, the bugs were half as much, but the same bugs, moving slowly, all over the car. Once again, I got on the freeway, and they blew-off. I Google'd this problem, and a car expert said that having very sweet air fresheners in the car, will attract bugs (their sense of smell is remarkable, even with the windows up and the car being air-tight).  Well, it just happened to be, that I had gotten a brand new air freshener a couple days before, and it was very sweet.  I threw this freshener out, after I read what the car guy said. Today, was my first day back to work, but it rained hard, so there were no bugs when I left at 6:30p. What are those bugs? Where do they come from? Did they choose my car because of that air freshener (I asked other employees about their cars parked there, and I was the only one who had this problem).  Thank you for your answer.  I hope you can give me some information.  Yes, they look like splinters, and they're light-brown, about a 1/4 of an inch long.

Answer
Debbie,

Without a picture I'm only guessing but these sound like thrips, see http://www.livingwithbugs.com/thrips.html for a picture and description. Thrips are attracted to colors, especially blue and yellow, but I've not heard of odor as an attractant (but anything is possible with insects).

Jack DeAngelis  

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Jack DeAngelis

Expertise

I can answer questions in any area of entomology (study of insects, spiders, mites, ticks, and other terrestrial arthropods). Contact me about home and garden insects such as aphids and spider mites, insects that bite and sting such as ticks and wasps, and insects that damage homes such as carpenter ants and termites.

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20 years as university extension entomologist, now retired; currently publish a website about home and garden insects.

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see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html

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see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html Fine Gardening magazine

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Entomology (the study of insects)

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see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html

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