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!
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)” and they are described as: “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.”