What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

micro bugs living in house, stinging for 2 years!
October 3, 2009
Neighbor kid went to Florida. Kid brought back invisible stinging bugs (not bedbugs). Neighbor kid came to visit and brought her stuff and then we were both infested. They got rid of them with kerosene after a long struggle. I am afraid of using kerosene and gasoline in my house. OTC pesticides are ineffective. They only bite me and my one daughter.
No sleep in TN
Current TN came from Florida.


Scuttle Fly

Dear No sleep in TN,
In our humble opinion, you should not blame the neighbor kid for this situation.  It looks to us like you have Biting Midges in the family Ceratopogonidae, which are also called Punkies or No-See-Ums because of their tiny size.  Since they are so small, they can enter homes through the mesh in window and door screens.  According to BugGuide, they are found near “salt and freshwater marshes, forests, edges of ponds and streams.” and “larvae develop in moist or wet sand, mud, and decaying vegetation of salt and freshwater marshes, ponds and streams.”  They would not be breeding inside your home, so they are entering from the outside.  BugGuide also indicates:  “Many species, mostly in Culicoides, bite humans and can be very annoying.
”  We will contact Eric Eaton to see if he concurs with our identification and our conclusions about the source of the problem.  Tennessee is part of the normal range for Biting Midges known as No-See-Ums.


Scuttle Fly

addendum to micro bugs living in house, stinging for 2 years!
I took the shots with a 100X microscope, so the wasp looking insect is very tiny. It also has a larval form that is round and white with feelers and a pupa from which the black “wasp” hatches. All very tiny.
No sleep in TN
Correction from Eric Eaton
Thanks to the outstanding close-up images, I can easily tell that the “no-see-ums” are actually non-biting flies in the family Phoridae (“scuttle flies“).  The larvae breed in decaying organic matter.  So, unless the neighbor kid brought spoiled food into the home, he is not to blame.  Phorids can be abundant in just about any home.  I have had them surviving on residue in the kitchen sink garbage disposal.  Since they do not readily carry diseases, and they do not bite, I don’t pay much mind to them.  Simply discarding whatever decaying matter they are infesting should end the problem immediately, or very quickly.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Florida

2 Responses to Scuttle Fly

  1. Ruth says:

    I’ve had them brought into my home on my clothing as well as pick them up from other people, it would seem. Therefore, I disagree on ‘rotting decaying matter’ being the only source, they prefer moist, humid areas, like Florida for example and can be picked up after walking through grass. We can get them all over here.
    I’m surprised to see that you would tell them they do not bite, when I run a fan on them when on my skin they ‘do’ bite me. The fan kills them as they do not do well with breezes due to their tiny wings. In the article link I will include, a professor of Invertebrate Biology states that they do indeed bite, at least the females will. Form fits function, there are biting mouth parts on them which can be seen with the microscope. He also concurs they can be found in grass in coastal areas. As there are a number of species of them, so it would be interesting to see which specific species this one is, wonder if it would narrow down the location from which they came.

    • bugman says:

      Thanks for your comment. Scuttle Flies and No-See-Ums are different flies. We originally mistook the harmless Scuttle Fly in the images for No-See-Ums which do indeed bite.

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