What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

My laptop’s infested!
Hello there!
About two weeks ago, crawling down the screen of our (immaculately clean, less than a year old) laptop, was a speck barely a millimetre across. I though, How cute! There’s a living thing on our laptop! Now, I love insects and do not give in to urges of wanton annihilation. So I usually, and peacefully, show them the way out the window. However, this morning I woke up to find scores of these animated specks doing the locomotion on our monitor! Lately the screen has been giving us the occasional, brief flicker. Were these incidents manifestations of our animated friends crawling over, and shorting, the circuit boards? I want them gone! I’m attaching photos. Sorry about the fuzziness, but there’s only so much a macro lens can do. Remember these creatures are all less than 1mm across. What are they? Where do they come from? What do they feed on? Why did they get into our monitor? How do we get them out without breaking the computer apart? Your advice is anxiously awaited.

Hi K,
We suspect your computer loving critters are a species of Mite. The question, and the root of the eradication, is why are they after the computer? Sadly, we don’t have an answer. We suspect they might be in your dwelling for another reason. They could be Bird Mites or Rodent Mites, of just Predatory Mites. Sadly, the photo isn’t detailed enough for us to give you an exact identification, and we are not experts in the order Acari even if the photos were tack sharp.

Hello, thank you very much for your reply! Since then we have discovered them everywhere in my tiny 3m x 2.5m study. On books, papers, other bits of furniture or equipment… Now we live in a fairly new apartment, built entirely out of stone. The study has one ventilator leading to the outside, which is protected by a plastic grill on the outer wall. So I guess that would eliminate both rats and birds as a possible source. I’ve called over a pest control technician. He said that they’re wood mites (?) and that they need moisture to survive. Now this being a new place, and with this winter having been particularly wet (and also, with Malta being a small island in the Mediterranean), we’ve had problems with excessive humidity. The technician suggested installing a dehumidifier in the room, and he said that once we bring humidity down, the mites will die on their own. There must be some truth in what the technician said, in that I’ve discovered fairly large concentrations of mites on the covers of hardback books without dustjackets, which seem to be more prone to humidity (in fact one was going mouldy without my realising that it was… and this in the space of just three weeks since I had last used it). We have now installed a dehumidifier, which is kept on all the time, but still, the mites keep coming out…

Update from Barry M. OConnor (05/23/2006)
Computer loving mites (1/3/06). This is a species in the family Acaridae, genus Tyrophagus. One of the most common mites found in homes or other buildings, Tyrophagus putrescentiae, sometimes called the "mold mite" will feed on a wide range of organic materials. They are white, somewhat oblong in shape, and have long body setae. They can be part of the normal "house dust fauna" and may be a minor source for house dust allergy. They’re fairly desiccation tolerant as mites go.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

42 Responses to Computer Loving Mites

  1. I write not so much as a correction but as an additional different observation, Post it as you decide. Years ago (roughly about 27), I worked for Wells Fargo Alarm Services in Baltimore, MD. I personally observed a different type of what I was told at the time it was actually called a computer mite. It was white in color, about1/8 inch (Sorry, I’m American S.A.E. NOT METRIC) and It appeared to be about a 1/16 of an inch thick. Sorry AGAIN, I’m American S.A.E. – STILL NOT METRIC and dam proud of it, and won’t even consider making a change about it to the European/Scientific want-to-be standard. Please save you breath. The WELLS FARGO ENGINEER thought they arrived with the replacement part shipped in from WELLS FARGO’S PHILLADELLPHIA OFFICE. As we replaced a mal-funtioning key board we noticed white dust (which turned out to be bugs (mites) falling from the old part. He said the engineers had seen that “problem” before and had caught some and had them tested and identified by a Professor friend they had at UCLA (they were out of REDONDO BEACH, CA). We never saw the “problem” again, or the “saw dust”, Our part of the “problem” never returned either. If I can answer any questions, feel free to email me at: wburns797@verizon.net. There’s more to the story, but had toe left-off because of space constraints.


  3. Laura says:


    I’ve seen a few of these on my computer lately and would just get a napkin a squish, but thought nothing of it. But last night I I had something crawling on my hand and then notice on my screen a couple mites. I researched and found that they don’t like cold, which is one of the reasons they like the warm computer. Someone asked on a forum, if they could put the computer in a freezer and would it ruin it? Well, I have an old laptop and keep everything of importance on an external harddrive. So, I thought what the heck, if I go the route of opening my computer and spraying with a dust spray can, it won’t bother any if they’re in the screen and I didn’t want to take a chance of opening the screen too. Furthermore, I’m not a tech and might screw something up.

    I took the plunge and put my computer in a plastic sealed tight plastic bag and put it in my freezer for about 4 hours! I took it out, let it go back to room temperature (about 3 hours) and turned it on. So far, so good. My computer booted up with no problems and I haven’t seen one bug on my screen or self!!!

    I have taken precautions though and washing all my bedding, clothing in bleach and borax. Doing a complete thorough cleaning to all services, using bleach and water on some surfaces, other surfaces, I’m using 1/2 ammonia and 1/2 water and spraying the couches, mattress. Washed my body in menthol soaps (I hear they hate menthol), my hair too!

    I hope it was only isolated to my computer :/

  4. AmandaWinters says:

    Computer mites feed on crumbs under your keyboard, which is why it is recommended to not eat over a computer keyboard or laptop.
    The way to get rid of them is to put a flat attachment on your hoover and vacuum over the keys while your computer switched off or keyboard is unplugged.
    If you have one of those keyboards where they keys safely just pop out, then you can do that to hoover up the crumbs and computer mites more effectively, but do a little research first and check that the keys can be taken out of your keyboard without causing any damage, keyboards are all different!

  5. Justin hinojosa says:

    Hey guys sorry if I’m not very punctual but I have a tower that I got as a gift from my aunt her workplace was getting new computers so they gave her one of the old ones and she gave it to me screen to I’ve noticed them running around my desk and computer I got bored so I sat Dow next to my tower and decided hey I have a shit ton of tangled cords I started unraveling my turtle beach headset and seen a few on the tower I pressed the open disk try button to see if I had anything in it then I pushed it close a whole bunch of them maybe 16-20 came out at that time I do but it was a lot id love to know more if anybody can help

  6. I’m even later to the bug party than you Justin, but I’ve just got the same problem in the last couple of weeks. I lightly vacuumed the keyboard first time then gave it a thorough “sucking” a few days ago, but they’re still there… but I only seem to be getting really tiny ones now so maybe these are just the eggs hatching out.

    For any UK readers they definitely seem averse to the smell of TCP so a good wipe down with that is probably going to help make your domain a little less inviting. For anyone else reading a plant spray bottle full of TCP is also a great way to knock mozzies out 😀

    I’m going to keep hoovering the keyboard every few days and see if I can collapse the colony – short of pulling the keys off (I could but I hate doing that because there’s always a risk I can’t get one or two back on right again) I think that’s my best plan – don’t let them grow old enough to have babies!

    Another idea I had (sprang from another totally unsafe idea to gas them in the oven) is to build some kind of small fogging chamber, or find something small and air-tight enough to be used as one then put my laptop in there and let some sort of gas bomb off in there.

  7. ness says:

    Well I read that most of you are having the issue with ur actual computer, but me on the other hand I’m having these little things come out on my phone screen and once on my hand … I don’t know what to do or what there caused from but I need HELP Cuz I m freaking out !!!

  8. Livia says:

    I’m Brazilian and have this problem in my bedroom. I guess that they are in the wood…Nobody can solve it. I wanna know if somebody managed solve this problem and how?! I’m freaking out too! =/ I’ve tried many ways and no work. =(

    • Darlyn says:

      I first noticed them on my cell phone that I kept beside me in the bedroom, Then I noticed some on the charger cord then I realized they were on all of my clothes hangers Then I realized they were everywhere in my bedroom. After a lot of research I took all of the items out of my room in plastic bags and put them outside. I vacuumed the bed floors walls and then washed them As well as bought diatomaceous earth powder And using a Swiffer duster I dusted every corner of the room every part of the bed underneath the frame the dresser drawers the closet rods. After washing all of my clothes and freezing some items in the freezer in plastic bags like my jewelry I kept all of the other items in the garage in the cold so far I haven’t seen any of these in my bedroom for a couple months now. The diatomaceous earth powder works awesome it kills them instantly I bought it at Canadian Tire I live in Canada.

  9. Kenneth says:

    I have this exact same problem, they are running around behind the glass on my laptop screen and I just can’t get rid of them! I haven’t noticed them anywhere else in my home but it’s bloody annoying. I’m from Scotland though it doesn’t appear to be related to where you are from! Disaster all round.

    • Goawaybugs says:

      I’ve been paranoid about these for years since finding them in a damp rented flat in Dundee. I’ve now noticed them for the first time in 15 years in my house, and I’m just short of having a breakdown I think. It’s hard to find decent info online but it seems that they are due to high humidity and that should be kept at 30-50% and they should die out in their own, so I’m investing in a dehumidifier 🙁

      • invernessbawbug says:

        The ones I am finding are pinprick lil’ white mites, like grains of sugar or salt-first crawling out of a relations DS whilst it was turned on, and now from under my laptop keyboard. Online they seem to be a very common problem for computer equipment. I believe other than dust or what’s under any keyboard, they may well be attracted to anything electrical. This house doesn’t show signs of damp, but it can get a little dusty. I get hayfever so whether my sneezing whilst near that keyboard is that, an allergic reaction to the bugs or simply a little dust is hard to tell. I am using an 2008 laptop on it’s last legs-needs to be gotten rid of anyway.

        I have recently replaced an old mattress with one given by a relation-I hope there isn’t a connection!

        These are the exact mites below, I think they are cheyletus mites, hunting mites-they kill dust mites. I know dust mites are invisible to the naked eye, so it must be the former :-

  10. Sue Paul says:

    I have been noticing pinpoint sized grey/ dark bugs crawling on my iphone screen when I turn it on in the morning.
    I keep it in bed w me at night hooked up to the charger.
    Also – for the past two months
    ( maybe unrelated ) I have had rash / type itchy bumps crop up all over my body. The marks are red and look like mosquito bites. Last a few days / then disappear. New ones are always appearing.
    The Dermatologist doesn’t know what the cause is.
    She mentioned they looked like bites – but we have ruled out any possible cause.
    Could this be related to these TEENY TINY PIN PRICK BUGS???
    What are they?????

    • Ally says:

      Sue Paul – these sound very much like bird mites. People tell you that they don’t feed on humans, but they certainly do. We had a problem with them due to nests in our roof space and it was very difficult to rid ourselves of them. They live in the wood of houses and furnishings, not on the birds. They come out to feed on living creatures at night, attracted by the carbon dioxide we breathe out, then return to burrow into the wood in tiny cracks and other places where they can’t be seen. I treated every cloth and textile item we owned with pesticide, then hot washed everything with Borax, then hot dried all the linen and clothing. So far we’re good. But sometimes the eggs can lay dormant until the warmer weather and re-infest the place. Good luck!

  11. Camilla says:

    I was given two old laptops by a friend that I have kept in the garage, which in damp. I now brought them in to see if they are alive, and could be used for a project. A few minutes after starting the laptops up (they worked well) small white mites started coming out from under the key boards, and lots of them. It took me a little while to notice them so there were many running around at that point. The laptops are very dusty and keys are sticky, as well as having spent the last five months in a damp garage in the UK. So I have now wiped them with 100 DEET mosquito repellent and left them outdoors, after using wet wipes to clean them and vacuuming. They disappeared when I turned the laptops off. I may try the freezer for a while as well before I make up my mind on whether it is worth taking the risk to use them. I would not want to risk them moving to other stuff.

  12. Sue Paul says:

    Hi Ally …
    It’s Sue Paul with the tiny grey/ black bugs on my iPhone screen. Thank you for your suggestion of bird mites. Could VERY well be that. We have NO bed bugs ( checked by 2 exterminators and a K-9 dog! )
    HOWEVER…I am still being bitten every night. We live in PA. When we go to our home in FL the red marks disappear in two days and return the morning after we get back and sleep in PA.!
    This is making me CRAZY! My exterminator was here for some “mouse” activity I heard in the attic …so I suggested carpet beetles to him and he put down glue boards – there are some tiny dots on them … but no beetles !
    Just read it could be mice mites too … We live in the woods and have a lot of creatures nearby. I feed the birds – and am now stopping 🙁

  13. Erika says:

    I wiped the keyboard with lemon drops (essential oil) + water and after doing that a few days they seem to be gone. Now I’m gonna spray it everywhere and hope that solves the mites problem.

  14. Patricia says:

    I live in the tropics and recently noticed tiny mites on my laptop screen. They are tiny, dark and move very quickly. I managed to get rid of them from the laptop by spraying a piece of paper with insecticide which I placed on the keyboard and closed the laptop which BTW I use in bed. That got rid of them from the laptop however now I have found one or two on me! I also recently have found itchy little red spots on various parts of my body which I thought at first were mosquito bites and no they are not bed bugs! So what is going on and how to get rid of these nasty little spiders.

  15. Nancy Miller says:

    I have had two ” attacks”, about 15 to 20 bites each time, from what I think are mites. The bites are painful & look like an inflamed area with a hard liquid-filled center. They bite while I sleep. I also have hard dots on my cellphone screen protector. I finally found a product that will kill them, Adams flea and tick home spray. You can use it indoors. I have sprayed my recliner, where I sleep, and walls and window sills in that area. I have also sprayed cellphone screen. Then I found little black dots, look like pepper. Have read that the black dots are their feces…how gross is that??! I was out of Adams spray so tried Lysol spray and wiped counter and shower down with Lysol spray in bathroom where I saw the black dots. You could also try Dawn dishwashing soap. I hope something works for you. I have been SO very miserable. It is a nightmare. They are tenacious little critters. I wish you luck that you can get it under control!

    • Ari says:

      Hi Nancy Miller please help me out of is possible can you tell me what kind of spray or products did you use to get rid of them i will appreciate it because i have a little boy and we don’t sleep in are bedroom for last few days many thanks .

      • Hi, Ari. This is Nancy Miller. I am so very sorry it took so long for me to reply to you. I had begun to itch all over unbearably, and was diagnosed with scabies mite. They are microscopic mites that burrow into your skin and lay eggs. I had to put permethrin cream head to toe (don’t miss even one inch of
        your body), leave on 12 hours, then shower off. Repeat this 7 days later. Everything you touch has to be
        disinfected, as it is very contagious. Google Scabies Mites, there is much
        Information there. If you have cats, remember the cream is deadly to cats. I pray that you and you precious son do not have this. If you develop extreme itching or a rash see a Dr immediately, go to the ER. This mite invaded me, my house, my car, scalp, face, even mouth and eyes. It is terrible, a nightmare. Please please if you have severe itching or red bumps, see a Dr immediately. You will need to do treatments, wash all clothes in hot water +ammonia or borax, and disinfect everything. There is alot and it is a hard long fight. Mine are surfacing now, my body pushing out the dead mites and their feces. There is alot, so I would google scabies mites and research what to look for, catch it early. I think I did have fleas, cat’s treated with Frontline. Then I got the scabies. I pray for you and your precious son that you do not have this. If you do, stay calm, it will not kill you. Just read up on it and SEE A DOCTOR Ari, if you have any questions, post them here and I will try to help. Again, sorry I took so long to answer. My eyes are bad, hard to toe. And ALWAYS remember that our Father in Heaven will help you, I say this in the name of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen

  16. Re-read my post . I wrote hard to toe, that was supposed to be hard to see. Lol. I will pray for you and your son. Stay safe and well.

  17. Karen Parsons says:

    If you are dealing with mites contact Cathee at Natural Ginesis and ask her about the product “kleen Green”. Natural Ginesis has a website. She is incredibly helpful!!! Kleen Green It is made of natural enzyzmes and is very safe and is a concentrate. It will gradaully kill bugs. Use in a ratio of 1 part Kleen Green to 7 parts water. Soak you clothes in it for 2 or more hours. Then, wash normally. It truly helps. Also, diatomaceous earth (food grade) is sold by Natural Ginesis. It will help in apartment and offices. Not recommended to spray directly on keyboard.

  18. M. B. says:

    Hi all,
    I live in Dubai and i have noticed these things on my laptop screen as well as my mobile,,,, very worried ,,,,, so i am going to try putting the devices inside a plastic bag and place them over night in the fridge,,,,, and hopefully it kills those damn Mites and will keep you guys posted if that helps,,, crossing fingers !!!!

  19. Dave says:

    Mites eat dander (your skin and hair, etc.). All you need to do is keep your laptop CLEAN, people.

  20. Kate says:

    Steri-Fab is VERY effective against all creepy-crawly things in the environment. If you’re desperate, I would try that. You can spray it on your bed, sheets, walls (do a test area first. Can affect some paints/finishes), upholstered chairs, window frames, remote controls (just a wipe), lampshades, rugs, etc. Don’t use on finished wood or floors). But, you CAN spray some on a paper towel or soft cloth and a q-tip and run it around your keyboard, the edges of your screen, hard to reach places. You CANNOT get it on any of the electrical circuits but it contains a small amount of pesticide & mildewcide that kills mold & mites, as well as bacteria, viruses, etc. but it’s also alcohol-based, so it dries quickly and leaves no residue. I also wiped down the extension cords (not plugged in, obviously) and other wires. May need to repeat a couple of times. It’s used to clean in hospitals. The pesticide isn’t “residual,” so won’t hang around too long, but kills fleas, mites, mold, viruses, bacteria, etc. ON CONTACT so you might be able to rest easy for the night while also using other more long-term solutions. You can also use dry heat for computers – they sell those heat-killers for bed bugs (we didn’t have BB, but had the mites and a couple of other visitors due to humidity!) and putting your electronics in there for about 30-45 min (depending on your issue) will kill anything alive, but the electronics will be fine. Then, take them out and vacuum/wipe them. After that’s done, do what you need to do to control your environment. Control the humidity. Vacuum like crazy. Air out the house…Good luck & have patience. I know it’s hard!

  21. Kate says:

    BTW, we got mites IN our fridge from putting some things in the freezer. Apparently, they decided to move on up from the freezer section to the fridge section, where they may themselves at home, so be careful and seal everything as tightly as you can!

    • dee says:

      NOOOOO!! I’ve been dealing with these creeps for a couple months. Cleaning, vacuuming, spraying with essential oils, rubbing alcohol, and bleach. Just got a 2 dehumidifiers and a bunch of damp-rid. The jerks wont leave….and your comment made my stomach sink. I can’t even imagine them creeping around in my fridge.

  22. Kate says:

    Sorry to post a 3rd time, but I just wanted to second KP’s “Kleen Green” recommendation. Not a “contact” kill like the Sterifab, but natural and really does work. Bonus that you can use it for serious cleaning and also for washing your hair/taking a bath(they recommend it! The enzymes leave your skin & scalp itch-free and very soft and your hair feeling healthy and shiny. Don’t overdo it, at first (follow the dilution directions) or you could feel a “burning” feeling, but if you use it right, it’s very good for mites, mold, skin rashes, etc…Highly recommend.

  23. Glenda Byrne says:

    I have them in my phone. On me and in every electronics .. all I see is a black mass in my phone. .can not hold it to long ..feel them crawling and biting me. .. everything I pick up. They r on it. .or in it..they r on the bottom of my feet ..they make my sores feel like glass has cut me. .so tired of them ..and seems like I am the only one allergic to them. Out of two households ..

  24. Dorothy J Rose says:

    I have been having a lot of trouble wtht the mites aroundthe computer and TVthey not only get into my refrigerator they get into the food.they seem to be able to go right through the box.I am down to 104 lbs, I freeze most of what I eatI bought frozen pan cakes and thought putting thm in the toaster would be good but when I took them out ot the freezer they had already gotten into them there4 were tiny holes all arounhnd the pancakes and pieces ripped outI threw them away

  25. Dorothy J Rose says:

    I also have some kind of mtes in the beams on our ceilings, they leave white marks on the floor which are hard to scrub off..it is very hard to get help no one will believe you excuse my typing I am partially blind.they eat at paint and wood.I am washing clothes in hot water and drying them in a very hot dryer but get very little relief.I am going to try to get some of that clean green stuff.\I am going to throw away most of my clothes it is too much money and work to try to save them .

  26. Dorothy J Rose says:

    I a m still being bitten by mites . I noticed more bites whem I was in the computer room.They are all around my laptop and desk.do any of you see what looks like craft glitter around where the mites are. I am going to try the klreen green by Ginesis. I was a ballroom dance instructer I put my gowns and dance shoes I plastic bags and threw them in the trash.it was too expensive to save them. this all started wit seeing small white dots on my kitchen counter I started cleaning and scrubbing every thing even though my house was not dirty.One day while cleaning in the bath room, I heard a sound like some thing flying by the top og my hand swelled up like a hugh mushroom not pain no big hole .the swelling slowly started down till I had a pretty large bump on my hand I knew something had embedded in my hand I wish I had took a picture of itI saw four Doctors who said there could be no bug under the lump.they sait my body would absorb it my primary DR gave m 10 days of antibiotics. the bump has gone away .while cleanng the bathroom again I noticed a bulge on the toilet seat that was supposed to look like oak. But today I noticed the bulge had a big slit in it . that is where the mite must have come out of. As GOD as my witness this is the absolute truth. today I was supposed to have a procedure on my having dye jnjected. because of my rash he said he was going to get in touch with my primary to see if it was safe to do it.I will let you know what comes out of this I am ready to give up. I wonder if a might could have caused me to lose the sight in my left eye.

  27. Dorothy J Rose says:

    again I am sorry for my writing and missing words. . I am blind in the left eye.my DR who is a retna specialist sent me to the hospital and had tests done and could find no reason for this to happen. surely there must be an expert some where to tell us to get rid of these monsters.

  28. A.A.S says:

    I have found small white mites all over my bedroom, especially in headphones and my radio. I’m desperate to get rid of them without throwing away all my stuff. There is a gap under the skirting board leading to the foundations of the house so I’m not sure if getting rid of them will prevent their returning, if they live down there too.

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