Tiny black bugs can be found in homes and they are not pleasant to see. These could include beetles, spiders, black ants, cockroaches, and pillbugs that crawl, scurry or slither across the floor. However, some tiny black bugs are hard to detect as they hide in cracks or only come out at night. Sometimes, the only way to detect their presence is through red, itchy bite marks on the skin.
Identifying the type of tiny black bugs in the house is crucial to effectively eliminate them. Certain kinds of black beetles, weevils, and ants are attracted to foodstuffs in pantries, while black flying bugs may infest plants or be attracted to rotting food in the kitchen. Deadly arthropods such as the black widow spider are also black and can deliver a poisonous bite.
This article will provide information on how to identify several types of tiny black bugs commonly found in residences, as well as helpful tips on how to get rid of them if they are causing problems.
How to Identify Small Black Bugs
Determining the types of small black bugs can be done by examining their shape, as well as whether they have legs, wings, or a hard shell. However, identifying certain black bugs can be challenging as they are incredibly small, requiring the use of a microscope to observe their features.
In addition to physical characteristics, it is essential to observe the behavior and location of black pests. For instance, bed bugs are tiny black beetles that resemble bed bugs in appearance, but they do not gather in clusters behind beds like bed bugs do. Therefore, monitoring the habits, activity, and whereabouts of these pests is crucial in accurately identifying them.
Tiny Black Bugs
Tiny black bugs can refer to small insects that range in size from a pinhead to that of a grain of rice or an apple seed. These can include ticks, bed bugs, fleas, and other similar pests that can be difficult to detect until they bite and leave an itchy red bump on the skin.
While some little black insects such as ants, beetles, weevils, and pirate bugs can be a minor nuisance, they are relatively easy to identify. Beetles and weevils have two sets of wings and six legs, and are covered by a distinctive hard shell. Tiny black ants have a slender body and a small waist, making them easily recognizable.
Small Black Bugs in the House (With Pictures and Names) – Identification Guide
Let’s take a closer look at the little black bugs you’re likely to encounter in your home, as well as their identifying features.
Black Carpet Beetle (Attagenus unicolor)
Black Weevils – Pantry Bugs
Black weevils are thin, small beetles with a long snout that are often found in stored grains. These pantry pests are typically referred to as tiny black insects that can infest food products, and can range in color from dark reddish-brown to almost black. Adult black weevils are typically around 0.24 inches (6 mm) in length.
Pantry pests can include various types of black weevils, and their common names can provide clues as to where they might be found. Examples of these pests include rice weevils, grain weevils, maize weevils, granary weevils, and bean weevils.
The distinctive long snout and slender body of tiny black bugs make them easy to distinguish from other species.
Bed Bugs (Cimex)
Bed bugs are dark-colored pests with a flattened, oval body that appears almost black in color. They are challenging to detect as they typically hide in the depths of bed frames and furniture during the day and only emerge at night. Despite having wings, bed bugs are unable to fly and usually measure no longer than 0.16 to 0.2 inches (1.5 to 3 mm) in length.
Bed bugs are commonly found in various places including mattress seams, box springs, bed frames, and behind headboards. They can also reside in electrical outlets, beneath loose wallpaper, and even in cracks as narrow as a credit card.
Identifying bed bugs can be done by the red, itchy bite marks they leave on the skin. These bumps can appear on the arms, legs, back, abdomen, or face and may reach up to 5 mm in size. The delayed onset of symptoms, which may occur several days after the initial bite, can make it challenging to detect bed bugs.
Black Carpenter Ants (Camponotus)
Black Garden Ant (Lasius niger)
Black garden ants are small, glossy black bugs that are more of a nuisance pest than a deadly biting bug. When black garden ants invade homes in search of food, they become household pests. Unlike carpenter ants, garden ants do not spread disease or bite humans. These small black ants typically measure around 0.2 inches (5 mm) in length.
Gardeners may view black ants as problematic since they often protect aphids, allowing plant-destroying pests to produce honeydew in abundance.
The black garden ant can be distinguished from other small bugs by its glossy black body, spindly brown or black legs, and bulbous abdomen.
Black-Legged Tick (Ixodes scapularis)
The black-legged tick, also known as the deer tick, is a tiny black and brown bug that can transmit various illnesses. These black ticks are attracted to the blood of both animals and humans. They typically have a flattened oval shape and are roughly the size of a sesame seed, measuring around 0.11 inches (3 mm) in length.
The disease-carrying black bug pierces the skin with its mouthparts and burrows inside to feed on blood. After feeding, ticks can become engorged and difficult to remove.
Tick bites can cause pain, swelling, and a burning sensation. It is always recommended to see a doctor after a tick bite to ensure proper treatment and safe removal of the tick.
Fungus gnats are small black flies that have a mosquito-like thin body, six legs, clear transparent wings, and a pair of antennae. They can grow up to 0.3 inches (8 mm) in length and may be seen flying around or crawling on houseplants in the home.
Properly caring for houseplants can help prevent fungus gnats. These pesky black insects are attracted to damp soil, so avoiding overwatering is essential. A DIY neem oil spray can also be used to get rid of fungus gnats and other houseplant pests.
Fungus gnats typically colonize potted plants, damp areas, and garden areas with minimal drainage. They are small black bugs that can be a nuisance in the home.
Pirate Bugs (Anthocoridae)
Pirate bugs are black and white insects with an elongated, soft, flat body, two pairs of wings, and two long antennae that distinguish them from other bugs. They belong to the order Hemiptera and have piercing and sucking mouthparts that they use to inject prey and feed. Pirate bugs are typically 0.06″ to 0.2″ (1.5 to 5 mm) long.
Minute pirate bugs, also known as flower bugs, are beneficial insects that feed on aphids, whiteflies, small caterpillars, and mite eggs.
Although pirate bugs are beneficial for natural pest control, they may deliver a painful bite. In some cases, an allergic reaction can cause the skin to swell like a mosquito bite. However, these little black bugs seldom invade homes and are more likely to bite you in the garden while working during the autumn.
Small Black Bugs with Hard Shell (With Pictures and Names) – Identification Guide
Let’s look at some small black bugs that are identified by their hard shell and black appearance.
Pillbugs, which are also known as woodlice bugs, have a grayish-black color and a body that is segmented and oval-shaped. They have armored plating and multiple legs, as well as two antennae. Pillbugs are often found in dark, damp areas and have the unique ability to roll into a ball.
To eliminate pillbugs, it is important to remove any signs of dampness from the exterior of your home and seal all openings and gaps. It is also recommended to keep garden debris, weeds, and leaf piles away from your home as these can attract pillbugs.
Oriental Cockroach or Waterbug (Blatta orientalis)
The most common type of cockroach is brown, but there is another type known as the Oriental cockroach, which is a dark black bug with a tough exoskeleton, six legs, and two curved antennae. These black pests are usually found in dark and warm areas of a home and can pose health risks due to the potential transmission of disease. The length of an Oriental cockroach can vary from 1 to 1.2 inches (25 to 30 mm).
To get rid of Oriental cockroaches, it is important to disrupt their living environment by cleaning drains, keeping the trash can lid closed, and addressing any plumbing issues. Oriental cockroaches are characterized by their elongated oval-shaped black bodies, six spiny brown legs, and two long antennae.
Black Widow Spider (Latrodectus)
Black widow spiders are considered a significant household pest because of their nasty bite. These spiders have a rounded, glossy black body with a distinctive red hourglass pattern on their bulbous abdomen. Black widows can range in size from 0.12″ to 0.4″ (3 – 10 mm).
Black widow spiders are reclusive and typically reside in dark, secluded areas. Their distinctive tangle webs and haphazard shape can help you identify their presence. To get rid of these dangerous black spiders, vacuum them up using the hose attachment.