Location: Phoenix, Arizona
June 24, 2017 3:01 am
Hello. I think these might be some type of flea or water beetles. They jumped out of our bathtub drain in Phoenix, Arizona. These 2 were the largest. Some were so small they looked like flecks of pepper. They jump & bite hard! They also seem to be able to swim.
Signature: Fed Up in AZ
Dear Fed Up in AZ,
We are going to contact Eric Eaton to get his opinion on this, but we believe these are Thrips in the order Thysanoptera, but we don’t know what they are doing in your bathtub drain. These are not Beetles. You can see images of Thrips on BugGuide, including this image and this image.
Eric Eaton Responds
Ok, two different organisms at play here. The images are of a small moth, maybe Tineidae for family. The other creatures she describes are springtails, order Collembola. They do not bite, though, so maybe yet another insect is to blame, like fleas or something.
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America
Ed. Note: There are no Springtails visible in this image. While we thought the jumping and the drain indicated possible Springtails, the pictured Moth is most definitely NOT a Springtail. Since Springtails do not bite, we were additionally puzzled.
Interesting! Thanks. We had mold growing beneath the bathtub and in the walls surrounding the separate shower and in the carpeted areas also. The bugs also came up through cracks in the cement and cracks in the grout of the floor tiles all throughout the house ( likely from a slab leak beneath the home. )
The county extension office identified them as a mix of Beetles and Springtails, yet they didn’t specify any types of beetles or springtails. They did say none of them would be biting people and they were drawn indoors because of the mold.
We were renting and we moved, but whatever they are they must’ve gotten into our belongings because we still live with them. Not as bad,mind you! But they’re still very much present indoors and still biting and making our lives miserable. On the rare occasion we do manage to smash one of the bigger ones mid bite, it’s always plainly full of bright red blood. I just don’t understand it and I’m so sick of it. The tiny ones seem to bore into furniture and even tile and cement! How???
Thank you again