Tiny Tiny Shoe-eaters?
September 3, 2009 1:22 PM   Subscribe

This morning there were tiny insects crawling over the soles of my leather boots. What are they and should I get the flamethrower?

I have a pair of suede shoes with leather soles that I love. This morning, when I got them from the closet, there were maybe a dozen tiny tiny insects crawling over the soles. The insects were beetle shaped, whitish, and very small (less than a millimeter long).

Are they some kind of shoe termite? Moth-spawn? Should I be afraid for my sweaters?

I live in NYC if that matters.
posted by crookedneighbor to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
Could they possibly be fleas? Do you have pets or work with animals?
posted by royalsong at 1:27 PM on September 3, 2009

No pets, but roommates.
posted by crookedneighbor at 1:30 PM on September 3, 2009

As a roommate of the OP who is slightly terrified to be finding out about this via Metafilter, can I ask if the bugs you found are any of the ones listed on this BugFinder?
Could they have been larvae of some kind?
posted by Hadroed at 1:39 PM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Could it be mites, like suggested here? You'll have to Google for pictures of grain mites yourself (I inadvertantly squicked myself out with that search).
posted by cabingirl at 2:19 PM on September 3, 2009

Fleas aren't white and neither are bedbugs. Did it look anything like this?
posted by jessamyn at 2:19 PM on September 3, 2009

Try a google picture search for booklice. Some of the pictures show fly-like beasts; apparently this is a rather large and divergent group of bugs. There are others too: the ones I know are typically tiny and beetle-shaped and if living in closets, whitish-translucent as you describe.
The German Wikipedia article (Staubläuse) mentions that while they are in themselves not dangerous or anything, they indicate humidity, perhaps mold; thus they should not be driven away with poison but the background problem ought to be taken care of instead.
posted by Namlit at 7:38 AM on September 4, 2009

If they were fleas they would not be crawling -- instead, they'd be jumping -- towards the handiest mammal.

It's no help to you but I remember my brother discovering his baseball glove in the attic after decades of negligence -- and a closer look showed it be crawling with tiny insects. He was so horrified he threw it into a dim corner and nobody's seen it since.
posted by Rash at 12:11 PM on September 4, 2009

They look like grain mites to me. Hooray for harmless bugs.
posted by crookedneighbor at 7:02 AM on September 7, 2009

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