Finding a large long tailed bug near your house is surely a cause for concern. However, its likely that the wasp with long tail may be ichneumon, a gentle giant with no intention or means to hurt you. Let’s learn more about these wasps below

If you see a giant black menacing-looking wasp with a long tail in the park, garden, or near a trail, it is most likely a black giant ichneumon wasp (Megarhyssa macrurus).

Despite their appearance, these wasps are actually benign and even beneficial to the garden. They are not aggressive and don’t bite humans.

These wasps are particularly famous for their long ovipositors, which many confuse for stingers, but are actually only useful for laying their eggs. 

The female ichneumon wasp bores a tunnel using her needle-like ovipositor into stumps of dead wood and lays her eggs on the larvae of pigeon horntail wood wasps.

When the egg hatches, it eats the host larvae and then pupates in the wood until it is time to fly out and reinitiate the process.

Wasp With Long Tail May Be Ichneumon

Do They Bite or Sting?

No, as we mentioned earlier, these long tailed wasps do not bite or sting. These wasps do not have stingers at all.

In fact, many people’s first reaction when they see them is that they are encountering a wasp with long stinger, but that’s not the case at all.

The females of this wasp species have five-inch long ovipositors, which are used to lay eggs. 

These ovipositors can bore through wood and can be deadly to the host they are parasitizing but are not useful against humans or other predators.

The poor males don’t even have the ovipositor!

Can They Spread Disease?

No, black giant ichneumon wasps do not spread any disease known to man. They are mostly harmless and typically don’t interact with humans at all.

Unless you specifically try to frighten them or handle them, they will show no interest in you. In fact, these flying bugs with long tails are actually beneficial to humans in many ways.

They help in removing wood wasps from your property, which can be a big nuisance since they attack your outdoor wood surfaces and leave behind holes, scratches, and dents.

Are They Harmful to Humans or Pets?

No, these wasps are not harmful in any way to humans or pets. Even though you might think that having a wasp with long tail near your home might be dangerous, there is absolutely nothing to worry about if you see one of them. 

They don’t live very long (just about 27 days), so there’s no need to make efforts to remove them, either.

Wasp With Long Tail May Be Ichneumon

Can They Get In The House?

It is unlikely that these wasps would fly into your house. They only hover around trees with dead wood since their purpose after emerging as adults are to mate and lay eggs.

Their larvae feed on the pigeon horntail wasp larvae, making sure to leave the essential body parts till the very end so that the meat remains fresh.

Since the larvae of these wasps with long tails pupate and overwinter inside the tree itself, they don’t have to take shelter in your home to protect themselves from cold weather.

During the summers, the adult wasp only sits on trees and doesn’t even need to make a nest.

How To Get Rid of Them?

If you see a giant ichneumon wasp in your garden or yard, there is absolutely no reason for you to remove it or get rid of it.

These bugs are not harmful to humans, they don’t bite or sting us, and they don’t feed on anything in your garden. 

Moreover, they help remove pigeon horntail wood wasps and other small insects from your yard, so they are beneficial to gardeners.

They don’t make nests like other wasps or bees and are solitary bugs, so you will never see a swarm of these bugs attacking you.

All in all, we suggest that you just let the wasp be. It will hopefully leave your garden for its final abode within a month, anyway.

Wasp With Long Tail May Be Ichneumon

Where Do They Lay Their Eggs?

Black giant ichneumon wasps are parasitoids. As we mentioned earlier, they like to lay eggs on the pigeon horntail wasp lava.

These larvae are usually found inside dead wood. The giant ichneumon female wasp searches for them using her long antennae, hoping to hear some vibration from the movement of the wood wasps’ babies.

When she is sure of it, this flying bug with long tail takes out her ovipositor and drills into the wood. Over the course of three to four hours, she is able to penetrate the wood precisely at the location where the wood wasps larvae are present.

Next, she injects these larvae with a venomous sting (don’t worry, their venom is not powerful enough for humans) and paralyzes them.

She then deposits her egg outside the larvae’s now paralyzed body, and after a few days, when the eggs hatch, the ichneumon larvae make a meal of the wood wasp larvae.

The egg-laying activity usually happens during the June to September months, but the larvae take their own sweet time to feed. They then pupate and overwinter, spending the winter season inside their cocoons.

In the summer or spring months, they emerge as adult ichneumon wasps and restart the process.

Wasp With Long Tail May Be Ichneumon

What Are They Attracted To?

There is one sure-shot way to attract these wasps with long stingers – to have dead wood around the house. 

Since their primary purpose as adult wasps is to reproduce, these guys are always on the lookout for dead wood bearing the larvae of pigeon horntail wood wasps.

Their natural habitat is deciduous forests, but rapid deforestation by human activity has caused them also to inhabit some areas where humans are living, such as parks and gardens.

Readers’ Mail

Over the years, we have received dozens of emails from our readers who have seen these beautiful but fearsome long stinger wasps (which turned out not to be a stinger at all!).

Let’s revisit some of these letters below.

Letter 1 – Giant Ichneumon


Long tailed bug
May 27, 2010
Yellow head and antenae, very long tail. WIngs (two) and rather clumsy. Exploring pansies in planter and will fall off.
M. Temple
New England – Medfield MA

Giant Ichneumon

Dear M. Temple,
Many people are shocked or frightened when they encounter a Giant Ichneumon, Megarhyssa atrata, for the first time.  The Giant Ichneumon is a parasitoid insect that preys upon the wood boring larvae of another non-stinging wasp relative, the Pigeon Horntail.  A female Giant Ichneumon, like the one in your photo, locates a wood boring Horntail larva and then drills into the stump or trunk with her five inch ovipositor.  Male Giant Ichneumons do not have an ovipositor.

Letter 2 – Squashed Giant Ichneumon


large wasp-type bug with long ‘tail’
November 17, 2009
This bug came in when we opened our back door one evening a few nights ago. Sorry, my husband squished it. The envelope it’s sitting on is a business-sized (10 inch) envelope for size reference. It’s very dark or black with a long jointed looking body, black wings and the really long tail that totally creeps me out. 🙂
Scaredy Cat
North Texas/DFW

Squashed Giant Ichneumon

Squashed Giant Ichneumon

Dear Scaredy Cat,
This is a female Giant Ichneumon, Megarhyssa atrata, and she is perfectly harmless.  The tail, though it looks like a stinger, is actually an ovipositor.  With her long ovipositor, the female Giant Ichneumon drills into diseased wood to lay an egg on the larva of a wood boring insect, the Pigeon Horntail.

after reading your site for over an hour the night that I posted, I learned the purpose of that long tail thingy. Wish we wouldn’t have squished her. It was fear-induced carnage. 😉 With 3 cats and 2 children she probably wouldn’t have lasted long anyway!
Thanks for responding and confirming what I found on your site. We also have great photos of a wooly caterpiller that looks like what the Japanese Monster Mothra was based upon. 🙂 Can we just submit photos even when we know what the bug is?

Hi Kim,
You may submit photos, but please use our question form and provide your location.  Also, please do not submit more than one species of insect per letter.  We are very happy to hear you were able to make your identification without our assistance.

Got a thrips infestation on hand? Worried about spraying pesticides or chemicals in your house? This blog will show you how to get rid of thrips naturally without harming your home and loved ones.


A thrips infestation can turn into a major nightmare if you have several plants in your house. Despite being tiny, these slender insects pose a huge threat because they multiply fast and only get noticed after they have done their damage.

You need to act fast to save your plants from severe thrips damage. But no one likes spraying chemical pesticides in their home, so let us look at some natural ways to get rid of thrips.

What Do Thrips Look Like?

Before you can go about getting rid of thrips, you need to identify them. These pests are extremely small, with adult thrips being only 0.2 to 0.4 inches long.

Color varies among different species of thrips, but they usually appear as tiny brown or black flecks on the leaves. However, younger thrips, also known as nymphs, may be yellow or green. These pests have small fringed wings that help them jump or fly around.

Due to their tiny size, thrips can be very hard to detect. If you suspect that your plant has thrips on it, shake the leaves over a white piece of paper. This will cause the pest thrips to fall on the paper, where they’ll be very easy to spot.

How To Get Rid Of Thrips Naturally

Does Neem Oil Kill Thrips?

Neem oil is one of the best natural alternatives to chemical pesticides and contains many insecticidal elements, including Azadirachtin. These elements stop pests from breeding and growing. It is very effective at eliminating thrips as well.

How Often To Spray Neem Oil for Thrips?

Before you start using neem oil to eliminate thrips, keep in mind that you don’t need to spray neem oil as often as insecticidal soap.

Ideally, you should spray neem oil on the infected plants only once a week. Although neem oil might take a couple of weeks to deliver results, it’s much more effective.

Take care not to keep your skin exposed to neem oil when spraying it. Wear gloves and a mask, preferably. Neem oil can cause irritation in the eyes and skin.

Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Thrips?

Yes, diatomaceous earth is one of the quickest natural ways to get rid of thrips. Obtained from the powdered sediments of fossilized algae, Diatomaceous earth contains 80-90% silica and has powerful insecticidal properties. It kills thrips and other pests simply by dehydrating them.

Wondering how to apply diatomaceous earth, as it isn’t a liquid? Well, just dust the infected plant with the powder, covering every bit of its surface.

Also, put a 1-inch-deep layer of diatomaceous earth on the soil, from the stem to just outside the plant’s drip line. This layer will kill dormant nymphs (young thrips) landing on the soil and stop them from pupating.

Does Aluminum Foil Blind Thrips?

The reflective nature of aluminum blinds and disorients thrips. While bright surfaces attract adult thrips, the light reflecting from the foil confuses them.

Laying an aluminum foil on the soil surrounding your plant is a smart way to prevent thrips from infesting it. You may also make mulch out of aluminum foil and sprinkle it around seedlings to ward off thrips.

All the light reflecting off the foil will also hide your seedlings from the pests. However, this method is less effective for plants with a lot of foliage.

Do Essential Oils Kill Thrips?

Like neem oil, essential oils from a variety of plants like cinnamon, orange, rosemary, etc., find application as natural insecticides and insect repellants. Essential oils are neurotoxic to insects and can kill thrips on contact.

Moreover, the strong aromas of these oils help keep away those pesky bugs too, which makes them an effective solution against thrips infestations.

To apply essential oil to your plants, dilute it with water and spray it over the leaves and the stem. Two drops of orange and cinnamon oil each in 240 ml of water is an excellent essential oil solution to counter thrips.

Can Spinosad Kill Thrips?

This biological insecticide is very effective against large thrips infestations. It kills thrips by paralyzing their nervous systems. Spinosad can also move into plant tissues, which allows it to destroy thrips eggs or kill thrips in more the protected areas of the plant.

However, before you decide to go ham on the thrips with a Spinosad spray, keep in mind that this biological insecticide is also toxic to other insects, such as the predatory mites that kill thrips.

You might want to avoid using Spinosad unless the infestation is severe or you want to eliminate the thrips very quickly. Also, avoid using Spinosad on flowering plants as it can kill bees pollinating the flowers.

How To Get Rid Of Thrips Naturally

Does Sulfur Kill Thrips?

Sulfur is a natural fungicide and pesticide that eliminates thrips by hampering their metabolic functions. While sulfur is available in abundance and is very effective against pests, there are a few downsides.

Firstly, it isn’t compatible with essential oils and certain other pesticides. The resulting reaction can damage the plants. Secondly, sulfur can be harmful to plants when applied during hot and dry weather conditions.

Other methods

All of the above are proven ways of getting rid of thrips. However, if those methods don’t work out for some reason or simply aren’t viable for you, here are some other methods that you may try.

Run a Lint Roller on the Leaves

If you’d prefer to get the job done without having to use any pesticides, this is a reliable way to go about it. With a lint roller, you can simply pick up the thrips from your plant and remove them.

Just support the leaf with a hand and run the lint roller over it. The sticky surface of the long roller will trap the thrips as well as their eggs, pulling them off the plant.

Don’t forget to repeat the process with the undersides of the leaves too. Tear off the part of the lint roller that you used to capture the thrips, and throw it outdoors among the trash so that the pests can’t get back in your house.

Sticky traps

Sticky traps have the same basic working principle as lint rollers – they trap the pests using the glue on their surface. A sticky trap is just a small piece of colorful cardboard with glue applied to one side.

When you hang a bright-colored (preferable blue) sticky trap next to an infected plant, the color will attract the thrips onto the trap. And voila! They’ll get stuck in the glue as they try to land on the trap.

Blue sticky traps are the most effective against thrips, but yellow works well too. However, do remember that sticky traps work well only against adult thrips that can fly or jump. You’ll have to use a different method to deal with the nymphs and the eggs.

How To Get Rid Of Thrips Naturally

Diluted isopropyl alcohol on the leaves

Applying diluted isopropyl alcohol on the leaves is another way to defeat those annoying thrips. Make a solution of 3 to 5 parts of isopropyl alcohol to one part of water. Now, dip a ball of cotton in the solution and wipe the plant with it.

The isopropyl alcohol will dissolve the exoskeletons of the pests and cause them to dry up and die. This method is highly effective and delivers quick results. While you’re at it, also cover the undersides of the leaves.

Vacuuming thrips

This is yet another method for those who want quick results without using any pesticides. The method is similar to using a lint roller, but you’ll be using a vacuum cleaner instead.

The powerful suction created by the vacuum cleaner can easily remove at least a quarter of the thrips during each run. When removing thrips with a vacuum cleaner, it’s best to remove any nozzle and use just the tube.

However, if your vacuum cleaner’s tube has an adjustable vent, you’ll have to experiment a little until you figure out an opening that won’t damage your plant in any way.

Blasting thrips away with water

In case you don’t have a vacuum cleaner or can’t use it without causing damage to the leaves and the flowers, you may wash away the thrips with water instead.

All you have to do is spray the whole plant with a low-power pressure washer or a hose/nozzle with your thumb on it to increase water pressure. Doing this daily for a couple of weeks can help you get rid of the thrips completely, including the newly hatched larvae.

Kaolin Clay

Kaolin clay, also known as China clay, is a natural mineral mostly known for its applications in the manufacture of porcelain, rubber, paint, and paper. However, kaolin clay is also very effective in protecting your plants from thrips infestations.

Don’t worry; you won’t have to make a muddy mess by coating your plant with clay. You simply have to mix the kaolin clay with water and spray it over the plant.

It will create a protective film of powdery residue over the plant and prevent the thrips from feeding on it or burrowing it in to lay eggs. As a non-toxic substance, Kaolin clay won’t harm any beneficial insects or bees.


This is your last resort against a major thrips infestation. If thrips have badly infested a part of the plant and other measures aren’t working, get your pruning tools and carefully remove the infected leaves and branches.

As thrip damage to leaves won’t heal back anyway, getting rid of the heavily infested leaves will also make your plant look better and allow it to use its nutrients for new growth.

Do not put the pruned leaves in your compost heap, as it may allow the thrips to make their way back to your plants.

How To Get Rid Of Thrips Naturally

Pest-Repelling Plants

This is more of a preventive measure than a way to eliminate thrips. Certain plants, such as marigold, basil, garlic, etc., have pest-repelling abilities. Having them in your garden or home will help keep away thrips.

Natural Predators

As long as you don’t mind having some beneficial insects on your plants, you may use them as a defense mechanism against thrips. Insects like ladybugs, mites, and lacewings feed on thrips and other smaller pests, thus keeping your plants safe.

While this may not be a viable option for houseplants, you should consider letting these helpful insects thrive in your garden.

How To Get Rid of Thrips on Cannabis?

Thrips are the most common pests drawn to cannabis plants. Trifecta Crop Control is very effective against pests. As a part of your Integrated Pest Management, you may use it alongside a beneficial fungus called Beauveria.

You should consider using them in rotation rather than at the same time, as crop control breaks down Beauveria. This is one of the anti-thrips defenses for cannabis plants. Other solutions like Spinosad, neem oil, diatomaceous earth, insecticidal soaps, etc., can also work.

Wrapping up

Thrips have short life cycles of about 45 days at most, including the larval nymph stages. However, they can reproduce up to 12 times every year, and female thrips can reproduce asexually without a mate.

This is what allows thrips populations to multiply rapidly. Avoid leaving plant debris under infected plants and take necessary measures to eliminate the thrip infestation before it forces you to prune large parts of your beloved plant.

Reader Letters

Over the year, many of our readers have shared letters with us asking us about natural remedies to remove thrips. We are sharing some of them below.


If you have ever felt tiny but slightly painful bites from tiny orange insects while you are outside, you might have encountered an order of insects commonly known as Thrips (scientific name – Thysanoptera).

Thrips are really tiny insects that appear orange or yellow (some readers have even described them as tiny brown bugs that bite) to the naked eye.

Thrips are tiny. They measure between 0.5 mm (almost microscopic) to 14 mm (size of a typical board game dice) in length. Most North American thrips are 5 mm in length. To put that into context, 5 mm is half a centimeter or the size of a pencil top eraser.


Thrips are mostly found outside the house. It is not uncommon to see these tiny orange bugs crawling on your skin when you are out for a walk in the summer. While they are not harmful, their bite can be a little sharp.

Over the years, we have been frequently asked questions around Thrips that we have answered below.

Do these tiny orange bugs bite?

Yes, thrips are tiny biting bugs. Normally, they prefer to suck on flowers, but if they come in contact with humans, they can bite. 

Their bite can cause Thysanoptera Dermatitis. While it sounds like a disease, thrips bites look and feel like mosquito bites and heal themselves naturally in a few days. They may cause itchy, pink-colored lesions, mostly on your hands and legs.

Can thrips spread disease?

Although thrips do not cause any known diseases in humans, they are carriers of several plant viruses of the Tospovirus, Carmovirus, Ilarvirus, Sobemovirus, and Machlomovirus genera. 

Among these, Tospoviruses are the ones that can cause diseases such as capsicum chlorosis and scape blight of onion. 

Are they harmful to humans or pets?

No, thrips are not harmful to either humans or pets.

Their bite can sting for a while, but topical lotions should be able to soothe you. You should wash the bite with soap and hot water to reduce the itchiness.

Having said that, we are not medical professionals and if you are dealing with an insect bite that is not getting better, it is best to seek professional medical attention.

Can thrips get in the house?

Yes, they can. While you are most likely to find these biting bugs in the grass or on outdoor plants, thrips can, on occasion, come inside and affect your indoor house plants too.

How to get rid of thrips?

To get rid of thrips, you can blast them with hot water to get them off your garden plants. If you find these tiny yellow bugs in your house or infesting your indoor plants, a soap water solution sprinkled on the leaves should be able to get them out.

Where do thrips lay their eggs?

Thrips lay their eggs on the soft tissues of plants. This can include places like: 

  • Young leaves, leaf buds, and leaf stems
  • Inside fruits and flowers
  • Soft-wood stems
  • Flower buds

Thrips can cause galls, a kind of bloated plant material sticking out of the infected plant. They can also lay their eggs in tiny wedges or nooks in the plant. 

Another place that you will find these tiny yellow bugs leaving their eggs on is the underside of leaves. 

One of the species (the Tubulifera sub-order) uses a special glue made of proteins and other compounds to attach their eggs to leaves. 

This glue is very difficult to remove and helps protects the eggs from falling down during rain or when it is windy.

What are thrips attracted to?

The F. Instonsa thrips are attracted to the color white. But in general, thrips are attracted to blue, yellow, and then white-colored sticky traps. These traps are designed to collect thrips and keep them away from plants to protect crops.

Readers’ Mail

Over the years, we have received dozens of emails from our readers who have been bitten by Thrips. We are reproducing some here.

Subject: These bugs were all over my children and I…

Location: Florida

May 11, 2017 3:06 pm

We live in Florida, Orlando to be exact and I felt so itchy when my son came home from his father’s house in Leesburg Florida. I noticed tiny orange/brown bugs all over my youngest son and I while near our glass sliding door.

I don’t know if they came with my eldest son and they just multiplied once inside… my partner and I thought they were bed bugs because thy were so itchy once they landed on us. We have looked up countless bugs and been on countless websites.

They are so small we had to look st them under a microscope… we ended up throwing out mattress out because that’s where I felt them the most, and since then I have not seen any… but I’m sill confused and want to know exactly what they are so if it happens again I can do something about it sooner.

Thank you.

Signature: Kay


Dear Kay,

You and your family are being bitten by Thrips (same singular and plural), which are small insects found outdoors as most are plant feeders. According to BugGuide:

Thrips can often be found on flowers, they are especially visible on light colored flowers like daisies. Be aware that though they are very tiny, they can give a slightly painful bite.

The bite is not considered dangerous, just painful. Here is a BugGuide image of Thrips. Alas, throwing out the mattress was not necessary, but it is always so wonderful to sleep on a new mattress.


Oh my goodness thank you so much, we figured that is what they were after searchig for hours online, we do have a lot of plants in the house and around our bed, so no wondering that’s why I was seeing them mainly there. And oh yes the new mattress was the perfect Mother’s Day gift either way ! (: thank you!

Subject: What is this?

Location: Windsor, Ontario, Canada

April 27, 2017 5:43 am

I would really appreciate your help, I was sitting in my vehicle with the doors open and kept feeling little bites i then noticed multiple bugs like this one on my arm. The have wings and can jump/fly. I also noticed them on my white vehicle. Can u help identify them?

Signature: Sarah


Dear Sarah,

This looks like a Thrips, which is used for both singular and plural.  According to BugGuide:

Some are wingless; where present, the wings are narrow with few or no veins and fringed with long hairs. Mouthparts asymmetrical (no right mandible), suitable for piercing and sucking. Antennae relatively short, 4- to 9-segmented; tarsi 1-2-segmented, with 1-2 claws and are bladder-like at the end.”

Subject: Small, very small, winged and spiked

Location: Northern California east bay

May 11, 2014 2:40 pm

I have these all over the kids play set and they are by the millions! Super small. They bite and fly. I have one on the end of the tweezer to compare the size. Please if you could help us! Plus they were all over the tree trimmings that were sitting for two weeks…
Signature: Elizabeth and fam



Dear Elizabeth,

These are Thrips in the order Thysanoptera.

Subject: thrips

October 25, 2013 8:39 pm

No info was provided on how we can get them out of our hair/head and to quit biting us. I have already been to the emergency room for an infected bite and nothing I try has helped. Many years ago (1984), we had an infestation in our home because of weeds on our acreage, and these tiny things blew threw the window screens. It cost us over $300 in pest control, and in addition, we had to get rid of our carpeting, mattresses and sofas/chairs with fabric coverings.

Recently our Bexar county extension service identified my samples as “thrips” again.  Cattle need to be considered if pesticides are used on property where they eat/drink, as well as any other livestock.

Signature: Lonnie

Thrips photo from our archives

Thrips photo from our archives

Dear Lonnie,

We are sorry, but we haven’t any suggestions.  We do not really provide extermination advice.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide you with some assistance.

Subject: Biting Bugs

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

August 8, 2012 12:38 pm

I live in Iowa and I was just outside (it rained earlier today) and I kept feeling little bites all over my hands and arms. At first I couldn’t see anything but if I looked very close I saw a TINY, no bigger than a dot of a pen, orange bug possibly a little blackish brown on it’s bottom with 6(?)legs crawling on me.

And there wasn’t just one, they were everywhere and they all were bitting me. I didn’t sit in the grass or touch anything so I have no idea how they got on me or if they even came from the outside. Help!

Signature: Melissa

Possibly Thrips

Hi Melissa,

Based on your detailed description, we believe you might have had an encounter with insects from the order Thysanoptera, commonly called Thrips. There is not enough detail in your photograph for any definitive identification, but the photograph does support our supposition. 

According to BugGuide

Thrips are small:  0.5-14 mm (typically 1-2 mm, NA species under 5 mm). Some are wingless; where present, the wings are narrow with few or no veins and fringed with long hairs. Mouthparts asymmetrical (no right mandible), suitable for piercing and sucking. Antennae relatively short, 4- to 9-segmented; tarsi 1-2-segmented, with 1-2 claws and are bladder-like at the end.

This is the BugGuide statement that supports our identification:

Thrips can often be found on flowers, they are especially visible on light colored flowers like daisies. Be aware that though they are very tiny, they can give a slightly painful bite.


Springtails are tiny bugs that love moist areas (your kitchen sink, bathtub or swimming pool). They jump when disturbed. So if you try to kill them, it will appear that they are jumping as a response to that.

Springtails are harmless.

But because of their nature to congregate (it is not uncommon to see thousands in damp places or on rotting wood), they can appear fearsome at worst and a nuisance at best.

While it is common to find springtails outdoors, they tend to move inside the home as their natural conditions outside become drier.


We received this email in May of 2004.

Subject – Flea like bugs that jump but are not fleas

Dear Bugman

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 homepage and click Springtails in the alphabatized list. Sorry, we don’t have extermination advice, but at least now you know what they are.

Subject:  Walking stick?
Geographic location of the bug:  Virginia
Date: 08/30/2022
Time: 06:26 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this insect on my front porch…it looks like a walking stick to me, but when I looked for images of a walking stick online, they were all thinner. What is it?
How you want your letter signed:  Curious in VA

Carolina Mantis

Dear Curious in VA,
This is a female Carolina Mantis, a native species that ranges well beyond the Carolinas.  This native predator has been declining in numbers, no doubt due to the introduction of larger and more aggressive Mantids like the European Mantis and the Chinese Mantis.  You may enjoy this comparison between the native Carolina Mantis and the European Mantis.

Subject:  Unknown Green Spider
Geographic location of the bug:  Georgia, USA
Date: 08/30/2022
Time: 11:06 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this green spider, I couldn’t find anything like it with google’s search. Sorry if the picture is blurry
How you want your letter signed:  Nehemiah S

Female Green Lynx Spider

Dear Nehemiah S,
This beauty is a female Green Lynx Spider and by the look of her size, she is about to lay one or more egg sacs which she will fiercely defend with her life.  Green Lynx Spiders might bite if provoked, but they are not dangerous to humans.  The venom of a Green Lynx will only hav e mild local effects on people, including local swelling and tenderness.