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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31 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??

    • bugman says:

      Sorry, we can’t think of anything at this moment.

    • Jim says:

      I’ve been getting covered by hundreds of these too when I walk out my front door or stand under the front eves of my house. They do bite. I have felt them and even watched one as it bit my arm. Like a flea would and their tail end curls up a little when they do it. Like an angry ant. I’m in the Northern California Sierra mountains/foothills. I could have sworn I’ve been bitten by a springtail before and now with that many on me at once and many biting at the same time just backed that up. Makes so much sense now after walking through grass so many times and feeling these, no see em, bites. Then seeing a springtail on my leg now and then when and where I felt a bite. We have tons of those little guys here. If you look close you can see hundreds of them for every patio square. I think that there are a lot more bugs that bite than are acknowledged by experts. Just because they may not be biting for blood does not mean they don’t bite. There is a little larval bug here that has bitten my ex and I a number of times. It can even bite with its tail too, runs really fast bacwards, roughly a half inch give or take, no wings or prewings, and definitely not an earwig. Never seen this bug listed as a biter. Whatever it is. I guess my point is… Are you sure springtails don’t bite, even for possibly self defense or salt? Oh, and the springtail(?) like bug bites itched afterwards. Histamine reaction from some type of irritant, offensive or defensive, is my best guess. I am no expert though, last time I studied entomology I was ten. Thanks for any answers on the aphid-fleas, that’s what I’m calling them now.

  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.

  14. Tim says:

    The bugs bite. They like dark material and appear to be cream to white in appearance.
    I can feel them crowling on me . They move like a worm. What are they?

  15. Rebecca says:

    I have been dealing with these stupid bugs all summer and so far fall. They are all over my dogs, and I already tried shaving one dog… they started invading her legs and spots I couldn’t shave. I think they are springtails as well, but NOTHING WILL GET RID OF THEM!!!!!!!! They are not fleas!!!! I have used everything imaginable!!!!!!!!!!!! I want them to go away!

  16. Franie says:

    I have the same bugs! They are coming out from under the sides of the tile around the shower. They are almost microscopic. They are grayish black. I cannot get a good view of them because when I crush them in a tissue, they turn to a dust like, little grey spot on the tissue. They do jump. I live in Florida, & lately, I am seeing more & more. I have tried sprays, citrus especially, but it only stops them for a little while. Maybe there is a place where there is moisture through the outside wall. They don’t seem to head near the drain, but only on the far end of the tub. I don’t believe they bite, & they are not hard bodied. They are also not long , but minuscule tiny little things,They are also not the same little bugs that I’ve seen on window sills, & they are not silverfish. I just wish I could get a good view of them. All I see is tiny specks & then I clean them up with a tissue, all day long! I think I may spray some tilex.

  17. Franie says:

    I think you are right. I was able to look at 2 of the larger ones, & they look like springtails from the google images. Do they jump? because the minuscule ones jump, & maybe I have 2 different bugs? We keep the bathroom spotless & clutter free. Today I used Tilex & let it sit . I also threw some drain cleaner down the drain. Then I cleaner the tub , twice. I also cleaned the shower curtains & rugs this week. How much cleaner can I get it to stop these bugs that return no matter what. Ok, is there a spray, maybe that I can purchase from Home Depot? Thank you!

  18. Franie says:

    For those interested, I have done a lot research online on springtails, the past few days.
    They are all different sizes. They are white, gray or black. They do crawl as well as jump 6-8 feet!
    Hard to kill, as they are attracted to where moisture or mold is present, so you have to remove the nest. They breed thousands every 2-3 weeks.So they say, if you’re seeing a lot of them, there are 10’s of thousands that you’re not seeing. And if left untreated, they will be all over your home after awhile.
    They can be treated outside as well as inside. I am ordering a spray for springtails that I found by google search. I also found that spraying a mixture of Dawn soap & some water, is keeping them out of the tub. Someone else suggested that & it’s working.Bugs hate Dawn soap, so I sprayed an ant problem outside my front door also. The springtails returned after using Tilex, but they are staying away from the Dawn spray, so far. We are also going to spray the outside wall , the other side of the bathroom, where I think they may be nesting outdoors. After every shower, keep a spray bottle & spray the grout where they are getting in, or wherever they are present. Someone said , the springtails have moved away from them doing this. Worth a try.

  19. Nancy Null says:

    I also have these little tiny bugs all over my screens and window sills. I noticed one that was caught in the screen had little wings. Most of them dont show their wings. I have read that Springtails do not have wings so I dont think they are Springtails.

  20. jamie says:

    I believe what you are describing are called mites. i satarted seeing them all over my house and then on my dog. they burrow into your skin and make itch. i got rid of them by wiping everythinh down with peroxide. including my dog and myself they were all gone in 3 days!

  21. me says:

    I found that if you make are having a problem around you can use a mixture or vinegar dish liquid it will attract them. I haven’t tried the other suggestions but I am open to them. I live in a wooded area so I have seen them often.

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