if you’ve started noticing tiny bugs on your windowsill and you’re beginning to wonder about them – pay attention.
Just because they are small doesn’t mean they are harmless or irrelevant! If you’re starting to see lots of bugs on your windowsill, it might be a warning sign of a large infestation.
Tiny bugs on your windowsill could be any number of things, but common culprits are clover mites and carpet mites.
Clover mites are plant-feeders, while carpet mites eat any natural fibers, as well as dead skin and other foods. You may also see booklice on a windowsill.
What Exactly Are Those Tiny Things? Identifying The Bugs On Your Windowsill
If bugs have started to encroach on your windowsill, this suggests that either they are feeding on something there, or you have a lot of them and they are starting to explore and expand their territory.
Either way, the first thing you need to do is try and identify them. A magnifying glass and a bright light may help here. Take a close look at:
- what color they are
- what shape their bodies are
- how many legs they have.
Mites are closely related to spiders, and should have eight legs, not the usual six that other insects have.
Are tiny black bugs on your windowsill reason to worry? We have good news, probably not! These bugs are often harmless. However, it’s important to identify the type of bug you are dealing with. Based on this, you can find out what the best way is to get rid of the bugs in question.
With that in mind, let’s go over the 4 most common types of bugs that invade window sills:
Clover mites could be the easiest to recognize because of their color. They are bright red!
However, they are also very small, so you might not even be able to tell with certainty which color they are. In fact, they might look just like tiny black specks moving around your windowsill. But if you squish them, you’ll notice they leave a little red mark.
These tiny mites aren’t dangerous in any way and they do not bite. They like to feed on clover which is how they got their names. However, they can sometimes appear in huge numbers which makes them quite annoying.
Carpet mites (also called carpet beetles) are bigger than clover mites. The adults are usually around 4 – 6 mm long. They look somewhat like brown ladybugs.
They are known as carpet beetles because they like to attack carpets and other items made of fabric – similar to moths. There are different types of carpet mites, but they are usually black-ish, brown, or have a brown pattern on their back. However, they are so small that they will mostly appear brown to the naked eye.
The larva of a carpet beetle is known as a “wooly bear”. It loves to attack sweaters, scarves and other items made of natural wool.
The adults often end up on window sills because they are attracted to light.
Booklice are little gray critters that are minute and look a bit like dust on the sill. These feed on mold, and love environments that are humid – which windowsills often are. They will eat any small amounts of algae or fungi growing there.
Another type of little bug that can occasionally be found on the window sill is the springtail (officially called Collembola). There are different kinds of springtails, but the ones you see on your window sill will typically be brown or black.
They are also very tiny – often just 1 mm long, but can grow up to 10 mm. You’ll recognize springtails by their behavior – they jump when they are scared. And they jump very far relative to their size. So if your tiny bugs are jumping – they are probably springtails.
Just like booklice, springtails love moist environments which might be what is attracting them to your window sill.
*Note that there are many other kinds of insects and lice that might inhabit a windowsill, so spend a bit of time checking out pictures in books or on the internet in order to get the correct identification.
Once you have identified the bug, you can set about trying to get rid of it. There are various methods that may help, depending on what the bug is.
How Do I Get Rid Of Bugs On My Windowsill?
Getting Rid of Clover Mites
Clover mites can be controlled by removing plant matter from within 24 inches of the house. Clover mites struggle to cross borders such as gravel or wood chips, so this will prevent them from returning.
To deal with the actual mites, you may need a chemical spray that will kill them. These can be purchased online. You may also want to call a professional company out. Clover mites are fairly harmless, but have been linked with allergies.
Getting Rid of Carpet Mites
If you’re dealing with carpet mites, things get more complicated. Carpet mites can cause a lot of damage in the home because they eat natural fibers, including carpets and clothes – so if you’re noticing holes in your favorite sweater, these may be the culprits.
Carpet mites aren’t necessarily easy to get rid of because they often hide in dark spaces, and the ones you see on your windowsill won’t represent the main infestation. You’ll need to locate them, and then use your vacuum to get rid of the ones you can see.
You can then sprinkle Boric acid on the carpets to kill the mites, eggs, and larvae. Don’t let pets near the acid. It can be vacuumed up after a few hours. Next, steam clean your carpets, wash all infected clothing at the hottest temperature you can, and then watch for any signs of the infestation surviving.
Getting Rid of Booklice
If you have booklice, you may be able to get rid of them by cleaning your windowsill and drying it out. This will get rid of the mold, which will get rid of the mites – because they’ll have no food to eat.
This will most likely not happen overnight, though, so your best bet might be to keep the area around the window well-ventilated. If the booklice are inside your home, using a dehumidifier might be a good option too.
Getting Rid of Springtails
Springtails can be very difficult to control! There are many cases where even professional insecticide did not work to kill springtails (although the reason might be failing to find the source).
The good news is that springtails are totally harmless. They won’t cause any structural damage to your home, they do not bite, and they do not cause diseases. Although they can be annoying, the easiest way to get rid of springtails is to wait for them to go away on their own. They do come in waves and tend to disappear after a few weeks at most.
Are They Window Mites?
The bugs might be called window mites by some people, but there’s no official species called “window mite.” It is possible that they are wood mites, especially if your windowsill is made of wood that is aging and the paint has started to crack and peel.
Wood mites feed on rotten wood, and will eat away at a windowsill that is past its best. However, they are not particularly problematic and don’t really bother humans. If you want to get rid of them, you can use an anti-mite spray, but be aware that they may come back unless you remove their food source.
Replacing the windowsill and removing the rotten wood should help to stop a re-infestation from occurring.
Does Bleach Keep Bugs Away From Windowsills?
Most bugs don’t like bleach, and if you apply bleach to your windowsill, they will move away from it, at least temporarily. The strong chemical will burn them and will also remove any smell of food which may be attracting them in the first place, so yes, bleach can get rid of bugs on a windowsill.
However, it is not a long-term solution, and you are likely to see the bugs return quite quickly, especially if they are still finding food there. Carpet mites are attracted to the ultra violet light, so they are likely to return as well, even if they aren’t finding food.
Bleach can remove the food source for booklice, because it will get rid of the algae and fungi they are feeding on, and leave a sterile surface. However, if the window gets damp again over time, the mites may return.
There’s no evidence that bleach will work on clover mites, although it may deter them. Carpet mites tend to be actively living in clothes and fabric, so although wiping your windowsill with bleach will likely put them off it for a while, it won’t deal with the actual problem, and they will return when the chemical evaporates.
Will The Tiny Bugs Go Away On Their Own?
It’s unlikely that the bugs – of any kind – will remove themselves unless you take action. Something has drawn them to the windowsill in the first place, and while sometimes infestations clear up without human intervention, you usually have to take some steps to upset their eco-system.
Is This Something I Should Worry About?
It depends on the type of bug, to a degree, but you should certainly do some research and learn what the risks are. While many mites and insects are harmless to people and pets, they can cause major destruction and may cost you a lot of money if you ignore them.
Carpet mites, for example, might chew their way through expensive clothes and furnishings, especially if the infestation is allowed to grow. Clover mites can cause allergies in people, and even once the mites have been removed, you’ll have to make efforts to also get rid of their shed skins and shells.
Booklice seem to be harmless to people, so you may decide to leave a small colony alone. However, you should always research what kind of tiny bug is inhabiting your windowsill before you decide not to worry about it.
Mites of all sorts might decide to take up residence on your windowsill, either attracted to the light or to the potential condensation there. If you see tiny bugs crawling around your sill, you should spend a bit of time identifying them, and then decide if they pose a threat.
Once you’re armed with knowledge, you can decide whether to leave them alone or get rid of them, and how.
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