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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bug ID needed
Location: Northeast Wisconsin
October 6, 2013 1:47 pm
We live in NE Wisconsin and after a full day of rain there are these tiny, tiny black bugs crawling along the siding and cement patio. They don’t fly, but they do smell. When you try to sweep them up, they swarm back together. They constantly look like a black spot is moving. I tried hosing them down, but they don’t seem to drown. I tried sweeping them away from the water and drying them out in the sun with no luck. I don’t want them in the house.
What to do and what are they?
Signature: Chris

Springtails

Springtails

Hi Chris,
It is impossible to make out individual creatures in your photos, but we believe these are Springtails, primitive hexapods that often appear in prodigious numbers when conditions are ideal.  They like damp conditions.  Springtails are benign creatures that can become a nuisance if they are plentiful.  They help to break down organic matter and they are actually beneficial. 

Springtails

Springtails

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Thousands of bugs on forest floor
Location: Eatonville, Washington
August 17, 2013 2:17 am
After a long hot dry spell…. Our normal Northwest rain returned for a few days (not unheard of in August in Washington) bringing with it stifling humidity. Living in the foothills of Mt. Rainier on a piece of densely forested land, we often walk the trails on our property… Finding interesting thing along the way.
Initially we thought the purple/gray patch we saw on the forest floor was a ”new” fungus and bent down to take a picture for ID (we often do this)…. Well, upon closer inspection it was not a fungus at all but thousands of little purplish gray ”bugs”. We have never seen them before and have know idea what they could be. I have searched the Internet with no luck. Please Bug man help me ID these little creatures :)
Signature: ???

Springtails

Springtails

While we cannot make out any individual insects in your photo, your description indicates that this is most likely a Springtail population explosion.  Springtails are benign creatures that feed on decaying organic matter and they are important decomposers in the ecosystem.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Miniscule Purple Water Bugs Congregation
Location: Palos Verdes, CA
March 20, 2013 5:12 pm
Hi, it’s Darlene, the insect wrangler from last year’s moth night. I found these bugs in January in Palos Verdes, CA at the Forrestal Reserve. It was a chilly and foggy day. They were chillin’ in a depression / hole in a sulfur-covered boulder. They jumped when touched. They were so small that I couldn’t identify any characteristics. Are they water fleas or maybe springtails?
Signature: Darlabutterfly

Springtails

Springtails

Hi Darlene,
How nice to hear from you again.  These are most certainly Springtails, and they resemble the individuals from this posting on BugGuide which were found in nearby Torrance.  We are beginning to plan another National Moth Night event and we hope you can join us again.  Stay tuned for details.

Springtails

Springtails

Hi Daniel,
Oh, they’re at the marsh. I’ve never seen them there before. I was there yesterday as a docent in training. I live in Torrance. I know the man who took the picture; Emile Fiesler.
Thank you,
Darlene

Hi Darlene,
We are happy we are able to act as a bug networking source.  Perhaps Emile can show you where he took the photograph and you can see if there are any Springtails there this year.  When conditions are right in a region, insect populations will appear in predictable patterns.

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Please help identify this insect
Location: Vancouver BC Canada
February 6, 2013 7:34 pm
This insect arrived last summer out of nowhere and still remains even in winter. There are thousands of them on my plants. They hop pretty far for such a tiny insect all of 4mm long. Touch the wrong plant or walk through our arbor and will have hundreds of these on your face, in your hair, clothes, their nasty.
All of my Contoneaster have died but no other plants are even slightest bit stressed? And there on every plant, even a small Cedar hedge.
I’ll post picks, their brown, very tiny, they walk pretty quick and hop if you try to touch one.
If anyone could guide me in the direction or know what this insect is called I would appreciate it very much, thank you…
Signature: Thank you very much, Jim.

Globular Springtail

Hi Jim,
This looks like a benign Globular Springtail.

Daniel, thank you so much for this. You nailed it, now after some searching of a couple university extension sites, I am able to control this pesty little fella without spraying. I don’t need to eradicate, just lower the population level. Will definitely donate to help keep this site going!
Cheers, Jim.

Hello again Jim,
That was very kind of you.  We wrote a quick response to you last night, but we generally do postings in the morning and we planned a more thorough response that addressed the Cotoneaster.  We suspect that there might be a relationship between the appearance of the Springtails and the demise of the plants, though the Springtails are not responsible for the plants dying.  The conditions that resulted in the death of the plants might be related to the soil, or the dead plants might be providing organic material to support the robust population of Springtails.  They are beneficial insects that help break down organic matter into humus, but they can become a nuisance when conditions support a population explosion.

Daniel, thanks again. We had an unusual 3 month hot drought, even though I watered, I think it may have been the main cause for the Cotoneaster to die. But…I am only guessing at this point.
Cheers, Jim.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Some kind of small black beetle?
Location: Western Washington
January 30, 2013 4:12 am
Hello I am in Western Washington and it has been about 40 degrees and wet lately. There were about 20 of these bugs that came in the house on a package that was delivered from Amazon and hidden behind a potted plant on our porch. I brought it in at night. I have never seen these bugs before which makes me believe they come out at night or live in the plant. It seems to have 4 white dots on it’s back. They just kind of wandered around the kitchen floor. Not towards dark…. although they didn’t seem to like the camera flash. They are about the size of a ladybug. Maybe slightly smaller.
Signature: Curious

Globular Springtail

Dear Curious,
This looks very much to us like a Globular Springtail in the order Symphypleona.  You can see BugGuide for additional information.  They are benign creatures that like a damp environment and they will not harm your home.  We don’t think you can blame Amazon for their presence.

Thanks for getting back to me so quickly! I read it the next day. I worded it kind of weird, but I didn’t mean to indicate possible blame on Amazon (we order tons of stuff through them), figured they were coming from some plant. I was just extra concerned because we have an 8 month old now =D
Have a great day!
Adam and Family

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Purple bug bloom?
Location: Renton WA
January 24, 2013 6:49 pm
I have several spots on the driveway that look like a spill or a mildew but on close exam they move and appear to be very tiny bugs. I have never seen this before. By the way, the weather has been below freezing at night and in the low forties in the daytime.
Signature: Jim N

Springtails

Hi Jim,
You have Springtails, tiny hexapods that often proliferate in great numbers under damp conditions.  They are benign creatures that can become a nuisance if they are too plentiful, however, they perform an important role in breaking down organic matter.  Here is a closeup image of Springtails from our archive.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination