What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I have these flea-like bugs in the thousands that thrive on my outside window sills (which are rotten and soon to be replaced) but these nasty little guys have found their way into my house! And every night I have to do a mad spree of "containing" them (trust me, I don’t even pick flowers because I don’t believe in hurting living things! But these guys are smushed habitually! if they don’t jump away first!). They are found all over my blinds, on all window ledges and even on my baseboards next to the floor. They seem to like crevices. They are about the size of a flea, rather flat, and long, and jump like a flea but do not have an exoskeleton. They are grey with small antenna. They range in size from tiny almost microscopic to about the size of an adult flea maybe a tiny bit larger (the largest ones that is). Their size is rather inconsistent. They stay rather motionless until you knock where they are standing and then they all scatter and/or jump. There are thousands on the outside of my windows and i usually kill at least a hundred per night. They seem to come out more at night. They really gross me out and I even found a few on my pillow lately, as my bed backs up to a window…gross!!! My two exterminators over the last three years have no idea what they are. I live in Alabama. Do you have any idea what these could be? Any leads would be greatly appreciated. I found you through google by searching "flea like bugs that jump but are not fleas"!!! Can’t believe I got any hits from that! My biggest fear is that I replace my windows (which has to be done anyhow, they’re 65 years old) and they will still be here, cause they’re on my baseboards too! Yuck! Thanks you so much for your time and knowledge.

Hi Anna,
I’m guessing Springtails, primitive insects from the Order Collembola. They can get extremely plentiful and like damp conditions. We have a page devoted to them. Go to the left side of the www.whatsthatbug.com homepage and click Springtails in the alphabatized list. Sorry, we don’t have extermination advice, but at least now you know what they are.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
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20 Responses to "flea like bugs that jump but are not fleas"

  1. LeAnna Rimes says:

    I cannot believe no one replied! I am also in search of this answer! Wish I could post a pic but I don’t have a pro camera that zooms in THAT close.

  2. Ash says:

    I’m having the same issue. Hmm… maybe they’re reproducing more this season.

  3. Sabrina says:

    I have these little guys in my yard and I’m trying to figure out what they are. They are definitely not fleas and don’t seem to bite as far as I know…are these the same critters you guys have?

  4. Carol says:

    I’m having the same problem, I think. They get on my dog, and they act very similar to fleas, but they are not fleas. They hop, and bite like a flea does, but they look almost like very tiny ants. And they walk too, I don’t recall ever seeing a flea walk, they usually just hop. And these bugs can be killed by just swatting at them. Unlike fleas, you have to squeeze them really hard to kill them, these bugs you can just swat at them, if they don’t hop away first, and it kills them. I’ve never seen these before. I think my dog is bringing them in the house, I’ve sprayed him down with flea spray and sprayed all my carpets and such, I’m not infested with them, but they are annoying and my dog is scratching like crazy. Any ideas??

  5. marcia says:

    I to have these flea like bugs. I to would like to know what they are and what’s their purpose s?

  6. kassi says:

    sounds like springtails, try researching them

  7. cyndi says:

    The best thing to do, is put 1 tbsp of dish soap, dawn works best, into a spay bottle. get hot, hot, hot water and add 2 cups of hot water to the spray bottle. Shake well, and spray infested areas with solution. It kills them instantly. repeat every couple days if they come back. Shouldn’t have a problem after a week. Hope this helps!! Make sure your house is dry also, if they are inside. THey are attracted to moist areas, especially potted indoor plants!!

  8. fed up of these nameless bugs says:

    im fed up with the same bug i do not have pets but these things keep biting my children in bed. i have to sqeeze them very hard to kill them what are they they jump and are very fast.

  9. Susan says:

    I believe the culprit is cat fleas. Really hard to catch since it’s small and jump really fast. Last year my sister and me suffer from it. We got it from our pets. We have 2 dogs which walked outside daily. There many stray dogs and cats outside.
    Yes, cat fleas can jump to dogs too.
    We went to a vet and Medicate the pets, and also went to a dermatologist since the bitten skin can be really itchy and can be painful.

    • bugman says:

      Thanks for your information on Cat Fleas. The person who submitted this identification request ten years ago never mentioned getting bitten, but they did mention the quantity of critters and the locations where they were found. We still believe that person encountered Springtails, but without a photo, we cannot be certain.

  10. Susan says:

    Actually now i found new bug similar to cat fleas but easier to kill. No hard shell like cat fleas.
    It jumps quite fast and bites too. The bite wound Is red, small bump and Very itchy as well.
    I don’t think it’s a bed bug. I don’t know what it is.
    Can somebody tell me ?

  11. chris says:

    Hey I got small insects flea sized but they seem to be able to fly a bit I’m saying quite short distances they don’t die as easily as I figure they should but I don’t have to smash and crush the little guys into the dirt to do it or nothing found maybe seven or eight but there’s only been an issue for couple days seen in bed caught one or two on my bicep and shin other than that found one or two in carpet and silently hoped at night I don’t feel em in bed with me just wondering if I am about to have a major issue here or if since the things are so few in number should or shouldn’t I take precautions for repelling them or what since idk only other thing I can think of is they are a millimeter maybe two tops not even and they are jet black in color I as of today have no bites……

  12. Donna says:

    I have the same bug as you do Chris I found them in my bed this morning they hop just a little and they crawl they have wings and look like an ant but they did not bite me.

  13. heather says:

    I have a small fish pond and have just had an explosion of what would follow the springtail description…(first time in 7 years)… finally. I have koi and many baby frogs which are not interested in eating them. they have surrounded the edge of the pond above water level and in the water and all around the water lettuce inside the pond. They do not bite me but I do have concern for their impact on the ecosystem impact to our fish and frogs and potential for diseases and parasites. I have started removing them with a pail at a time into a separate basin with soapy water. I am relieved to have found this site to finally identify what they are.

    • bugman says:

      When Springtails are especially numerous, conditions are right for them to proliferate. If your fish and frogs are still healthy, we doubt the Springtails will have any negative effect on them, though they might become a nuisance for you. These population explosions are cyclical.

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