mystery bugs

jaymo49April 10, 2008

We have had a sudden infestation of bugs on three occasions, about 4 months apart. The bugs show up in one area of the house (the same area each time) in a matter of minutes. They are about a quarter of an inch long including their wings, a thin black body about as big as a little picnic ant, with white wings that are folded back against their body and are twice as long as their body. They show up in large numbers on the floor, on the furniture, and even in the sink. They sometimes are on the walls, but don't seem to fly around, just crawl around for a brief time and then die. We vacuum them up, and they stop coming around after about an hour and we don't see them again for another few months. We live in South Georgia, very close to Florida. The room where they show up is carpeted, but the carpet has been cleaned several times. They don't seem to be coming in from outside, although there usually are quite a few on the window sill. We thought they might be sewer bugs coming up through the drain, but have learned that sewer bugs don't have wings.... Has anyone else had an experience with these little bugs?

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could be regular ants swarmign, could be termites swarming. my recommendation is to take a few to a local pest control service or county extension agency and ask what they are. i bet it is just ants, and therefore no major deal. but if it is termites you need to get treatment now.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 10:42AM
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Do they look like this.

or this

If they do then you have termites, and probably a lot of them.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 2:32PM
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I live in Minnesota so we don't see termites around here much. While visiting in-law a few years ago in Arkansas I was doing some yard work for them. While clearing a raised planting bed made with wooden timbers I disturbed a swarm of these. The bugs you have look just like what we saw. We took some to a co-op and was told they were termites. Some have wings to colonize new places, their wings fall off at sometime. He didn't want to pay for an exterminator so we purchased some things I had to dig holes all around the house and put in some bait holders and bait. I think it was re-fillable, cost around $100 or so, maybe more. Not sure if it worked, in-laws never mentioned them after that. The house has since sold so and no problems with the inspection so I guess it must have worked..I think I did some searching on-line to find out the termites life cycle, you may want to check that out.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 5:18PM
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Sounds like termites to me. They're probably coming in through a small pin hole in the ceiling or wall. Have you seen any teeeny dark grains anywhere in that same area?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 5:24PM
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They sound like termites. If your home is built on a slab they usually come up next to water pipes because it can be damp there and with tiny cracks in the cement around the pipe. Termites swarm now as the weather warms up.

If you have a crawl space, check under the house for more of the critters and for the mud tunnels they make from the ground up the foundation to wood. They need constant moisture to survive. Also they show up in air ducts, window sills, around baseboards--they will leave little pieces of dirt all around where they are swarming.

I've even seen them in foundation bushes eating the dead wood while the rest of the shrub is growing and green.
Good luck and remember that termites are everywhere in the South so sooner or later they will show up.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 11:06PM
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Thank you to all for the quick response-- I have an exterminator coming out this morning to check the place out.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 9:20AM
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My daughter as a swarm of these every now and then on her new home.... I told her they look like termites, but she said... "oh well, they go away after a day or so"and hubby sprayed malathion around the house too... so we shouled be fine." I asked her to call the guy that inspected the home for termites when they bought the house. She then informed me that they never had that done !! WHAT !!!!! They paid $129,000 for a home that is imho, a peice of crap, and no inspection. !! What in heck were they thinking ?? And now they have rot in under the cabinets, and in the master bath.. plus water leak damage in the second bathroom. They had to pull out the entire tub and shower and replace the walls. I asked if they used "green board" and no they did not.. Just regular cheap drywall. Gah !! The house eventually will fall own around their ears I think.. I only hope they are not at home when it does.

Kids !! sheesh..


    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 3:11PM
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Those are termites. What you see is called a swarm. Those are the termites whose job it is to hatch and fly away to establish a new nest. If they can't get out, they die. These aren't the ones that eat the cellulose (wood, sheetrock, etc) in your home. The guys who eat are still munching away inside the walls or joists somewhere. They need moisture to survive and are likely entering and eating in a damper part of the house, although they do spread. You need to call an exterminator to treat for them immediately. He'll assess how serious the problem is and a course of treatment. Finding the source and point of entry is the tricky part since termites live 10-15 under the ground and can come in any number of ways. It all sounds awful, but it is more managable than you think. Just get a very well qualified exterminator and if necessary a good handiman to repair the damage.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 7:44AM
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It could be carpenter ants, you know. Not all winged insects are termites

And sewer flies DO have wings. That's how they fly. Not sure who told you they didn't.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 5:27PM
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Could all you and paranoids p-l-e-a-s-e READ what the original poster has CLEARLY stated. These are T-I-N-Y, yea MINISCULE!!! While we don't have Termites this far north I have seem lots of them in the South. We DO have Carpenter Ants. BOTH of these species are HUGE in comparison.

I also suffer these little MICRO-bugs barely over a quarter-inch in length with wings looking unlike any ant or termite when folded despite the huge discrepancy in size. As the original poster has indicated they appear out of nowhere, rarely if ever actually FLY and DIE almost as quickly as they appear. They are, however,annoying and make one wonder what is that causes them to appear, in our case in swarms but only in one of our two bathrooms. They are too small to photograph without the aid of an expensive MACRO-lens.

I'D REALLY APPRECIATE AN ACCURATE RESPONSE TO THIS QUESTION as to-date the are DEAD WRONG. BTW.... Malathion !!!!! You've GOT to be joking or have a DEATH WISH!!!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2008 at 3:50PM
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Keyplayer, what are the conditions like when they appear? After a big rain, spring, fall, etc.?

Visit near the bottom left there is a "Regionl Pest Report". Change the pull down to your region then at the bottom of that box click "Get more info on local pests".

That is only showing the Fall Pests now but you might find the critter you are looking for.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 1:53PM
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My guess is that your mystery bugs are in fact nothing else then small carpenter ants. There is no other logical explanation in my humble opinion.

Here is a link that might be useful: how to get rid of termites

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 7:54AM
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