9
$\begingroup$

Saw these bugs inside the flat I'm renting (Switzerland), but I really can't figure what kind they are. What I can say about them:

  • They can do small jumps (up to 5cm I would say). It doesn't seem to be for locomotion, but as a means of escape when I try to catch one.
  • Size: about 1.5mm for the "big" ones. There are of various sizes down to 0.25mm for the really tiny ones (approximately; never managed to get one without crushing it). They behave much the same as the big ones (including the jumps) and are whiter in color.
  • They don't seem to live as a colony or in a nest (or I simply didn't find it), but sparsely on the wood floor, often near the baseboards. Found some on the walls, but those were the exceptions. They don't seem to like the bathroom.
  • Rather delicate; can easily be crushed.
  • Seem more active in the evening and at night, but don't mind going out during the day.
  • I live alone, without pets, but I don't remember having been bitten. I guess they don't feed on blood.
  • Seem to have long antennas (about half their body size) and small wings.

Side note: the flat is on the 3rd floor of a recent building (finished 14 months ago). I'm the first tenant.

An exterminator came and quickly classified them as some kind of flea. He put some pesticide on the baseboards, and their number is now quickly decreasing. But I'm still curious.

My first thought was "fleas" (because of the jumps), but I deemed them too squishy and not "vampire" enough for that. Also, I don't think that (what I assume to be) the young ones should be able to jump.

Then I thought "springtails", but I didn't see any furcula (granted, I don't have a good eyesight) and I don't think they are supposed to have wings.

One of them was nice enough to jump on some tape.

Top (on a ruler):

From top, approx 1.5mm

Front/Side:

Front Side

Also, blowing on it (to open the wings):

Wings closed Wings opened

Youtube video of one of them

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ They're definitely not fleas despite what the exterminator said. Fleas can REALLY jump, don't have wings and aren't easily squished. But I've no idea what sort of insects are found in Switzerland, especially in homes. $\endgroup$ – Jude Jun 15 '17 at 18:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You must be mistaken. The Swiss are very, very clean. $\endgroup$ – David Jun 16 '17 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ I've resized the images to reduce the amount of scrolling. You can still click on them for the large version, but feel free to rollback if you want. $\endgroup$ – canadianer Jun 16 '17 at 22:34
4
$\begingroup$

I believe these are some sort of Psocoptera, "booklice", even though they don't really jump much. Could it be that they ran or flew a little bit instead? I won't try an identification of the species, but in general booklice like damp places and most of them aren't considered serous pests.

Example of a booklouse: enter image description here Slender legs and antennae, wings, and general appearence close to your specimens. (Image from Wikipedia)

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yep, this is the one! That would be a Dorypteryx (domestica or longipennis) then, I guess? I can't tell if they are jumping or flying, I will try to record and upload a video next time I corner one of them. $\endgroup$ – Reyssor Jun 17 '17 at 11:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ See this question, this question and this question for other posts about psocids... $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Jun 19 '17 at 2:29
  • $\begingroup$ @theforestecologist Yeah, this seems like a recurring thing. I guess this sort of question could be closed as a duplicate? But species identification is pretty hard to find answers to by searching if you don't know what to search for, so they'll probably keep coming. $\endgroup$ – picapica Jun 20 '17 at 8:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.