I'm afraid I don't know anything about them except that there are suddenly thousands of them invading my house since about a week ago, and I'd like to repel them. Found in Cambridge, UK.

They are really tiny, about 3 mm long and smaller than a dry grain of rice. I've never seen them fly, just crawl around slowly. They get into everything, including the screen of my monitor!

many of the tiny insects

I tried searching Google for tiny insects but none of the pictures or descriptions that I found seem to match these (I'm pretty sure they are not ants, lice, bed bugs, termites or silverfish).

If you have any idea how to repel or kill them humanely and without dangerous chemicals, I'd really appreciate that too.

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    $\begingroup$ Can you provide a clearer picture ? $\endgroup$ Jul 19 '21 at 9:46
  • $\begingroup$ I would ask did anything happen just before they appeared like a warehouse delivery or 2nd hand book purchase etc. Book lice or dust lice is a possibility. The photo is not clear enough to tell $\endgroup$
    – Finners
    Jul 19 '21 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ They have wings so it looks like a flying insect, so not book lice or any of the others suggested so far. Can you describe how they invade (or at least how you find them) and what the conditions are in Cambridge at the moment (heat, humidity) and anything unusual you have noticed around (smells, fungi, plants blooming or fruiting etc.). $\endgroup$
    – bob1
    Jul 20 '21 at 4:51

In lieu of any better thoughts: Thrips (Thysanoptera). A large diverse group of tiny insects generally approximately 1 mm long. Well known for being invasive pests of many plant species, and being capable of transmitting a number of plant viruses. Which of the many species this would be, I don't know, but likely a common one like the Onion Thrips (Thrips tabaci).

According to Wikipedia:

In addition to damaging plants, thrips may invade houses and infest household objects such as furniture, bedding and computer monitors - in the latter case by forcing their way in between the LCD and its glass covering.

They all have a fairly well defined body shape, with an elongated abdomen and wings that are often shorter than the abdomen. They are known to rapidly reproduce, outstripping predator control, so you can get clouds of them around if the conditions are right.

If you have crops or gardens near you, thrips might be the insect you are seeing.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, someone here told me they were thrips too, so I'll go with that! $\endgroup$
    – qris
    Jul 20 '21 at 10:46

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