I have springtails in my swimming pool. I was hoping that after covering the pool for the season, and reopening it in the spring, they would have died over the winter. But low and behold, the swimming pool is still full of live spring tails which seem to congregate in the corners of the pool, between the water line and the tiles.
I can’t believe they survived such a harsh winter! I’m so frustrated, and last year I tried just about everything from spraying pesticides around the pool, to shocking it,,,, nothing worked. I’ve read that spraying the tiles with diluted soap ( dawn ) helps temorarily.
my question is this – do you think they will go away, if i empty the pool, acid wash it… let it dry for a while, then fill it again . spray the tiles in the interim and then fill it again.
thank you for your help.

Since Springtails seem to be a big problem with swimming pools, you might want to check with your local pool shop for erradication advice. They do not appear to be harmed by cold weather, and one type is even known by the common name of Snow Flea. They do tend to by cyclical, multiplying when conditions are favorable, and declining at other times. I don’t know if emptying your pool will help.
Its funny because I checked last year and none of the pool stores or pool
companies here in ny ever dealt with them in pools. It seems to be a new thing.

Bigger red bugs?
I live in Kansas and was just going to plant a planter in my yard. Upon pulling up an old plant from last summer, I unearthed thousands of little red bugs. At first I thought they were "baby lady bugs" but on further inspection….they have no spots and are a brighter, deeper red. It appears that the adults are about 1/4 " long and the babies are 1/8". I felt as though I had unearthed an ant den……..that’s how they scattered. Also, they have black heads and fine black legs ( hardly visible) Any ideas what they are….or if they are harmful? The planter is connected to the house. Should I be concerned? Do I need to exterminate before replanting? Thanks in advance for your help!

Hi Sheri,
I wish you had a photo. They might be Box Elder Bugs. Here is an image of an aggregation. They are difficult to erradicate.

Thank you for your response. After further investigation……..you are correct they are boxedler bugs. I guess it was just a bunch of babies…..because I saw no adults…………until I checked back later. Boxelder bugs are common around here. I’m not too concerned. Anyway, thanks again!

I have recently been told I have Crane Fly Larvae. There are thousands all over Thankfully they are not eating my grass however they are all over my interlocking patio. I have three small children and aside from sweeping them up daily, what can I do to get rid of this problem? Are they harmful to my children. I know the adult crane fly does not bite but do the larvae?
With kind regards,

Dear KJE,
Crane Flies are not harmful at any stage of development. The larvae, known as Leatherbacks, eat the roots of herbaceous plants. Especially in the spring, they can get very numerous. Sorry we have no erradication advice.

Furry Red Spiders
Recently I have been doing alot of yard work and i’ve noticed that there are the strangest bright red furry little spiders or insects crawling around everywhere. They are really slow, and they are about the size of pencil eraser or a little bigger. Some of them actually look like they are outlined in white, and these tend to be a little larger. When they are threatened they curl up into a little ball and seem to like buroughing in the dirt. Can you tell me what these bugs might be? I’ve searched everywhere and havn’t found an answer.

Hi Ashley,
There is a family of mite known as Velvet Mites, Trombidiidae, and one species, the Angelito, Angelothrombium pandorae, is a giant red velvet mite that is found in desert areas. According to Hogue: "These creatures never fail to attract attention because of their large size (the body length of adults is about 1/4 to 3/8 in.) and brilliant crimson furry bodies. The larvae are parasites of grasshoppers, and the adults are predators on subterranean termites. The adults remain in the soil most of the year and spend only a few hours above ground, probably to feast on their prey, which also respond to rains by emerging in numbers. Little else is known of their biology."

Hi, Bugman. I love your site, although I’m glad I don’t have any of those bugs at my place! The one I found is bad enough. I found it in my front yard in suburban Chicago. Can you ID it?
Jerry Palm

Dear Jerry,
You have photographed a dead Caterpillar Hunter, Calosoma scrutator, one of the Ground Beetles from the family Carabidae. They are predaceous, feeding on insects and other small animals. They are especially fond of caterpillars. They help to control Gypsy Moths and Tent Caterpillars. Adults will climb trees and they can also fly, often being attracted to lights in the spring. They are beneficial and should not be killed.

Reposted February 4, 2010
She has Debris
(04/09/2004) what are these bugs
i have been fighting. some sort of bug infestation since late october 2003…it’s got to the point where people believe i am suffering from delusionial paratosis.  after  6 months of this crap I went around my house with stickers collectiong samples.  i’ve undergone a psych evaluation .. results 100% sane/  my landlord won’t do anything nor will he fix stuff,  i believe that there is a pigeon mite infestation from the attic and some sort of carpet beetle/ silverfish infestation.. let me know what you find in the scanned immages.. these were actual beetles /frass/mites  placed on scanner plate

Jenny and Amanda’s Floor

Editor’s Note: Though we gave this homemaker kind advice about the inevitability of critters getting into the house, we are nonetheless amazed at the thoroughness of her housework. While we feel some of her time might be better spent in more rewarding pursuits, we somehow shutter at what she would find should she ever bring her stickers to our offices. Sadly, we were unable to identify any of her “bugs” and might actually concur with the delusional parasitosis diagnosis.

re: problem resolved after months of dealing with this problem, see link below -No OCD, no delusional paritosis -infestations include the following (sowbugs, silverfish, house centipedes- in all rooms of home) pigeon mites from pigeon roost in attic (landlord blocked entrance 3 yrs ago, leaving nests etc there) and mice. (tenant lawyer want me to sue)

Kitchen Cabinets Bottom

Dear Rocker Mom,
We are happy you have solved your mystery. Pill Bugs should not infest the home, though they might enter upon occasion. Centipedes, while they are frightening, are harmless and will also help to devour any other intruders, like cockroaches, crickets and spiders. Silverfish can be a nasty infestation issue, especially since they love to eat the glue in book bindings and behind wall paper. Your biggest problem would be the mites, though they are much too small to see. They will cause itching and are very difficult to eradicate. Certain mice will carry the Hanta Virus. Good luck with your law suit.

Ed. Note:  February 3, 2010
This letter got lost when we migrated our website in 2008, and we had to locate the original letter and images on our old computer because it is such a wonderful letter.  We never actually identified the crushed insect parts in these scanned images, but a skilled entomologist might be able to identify some of these particles.