How to get rid of these little black winged bugs?
March 10, 2012 7:44 AM   Subscribe

What are these little black bugs with narrow almost clear wings that seem to be growing out of the bathroom tiles, and how do I make them go away and not come back?

They sound kind of like the "drain flies" from this question, but they're not in the drain. They are near a pipe, but I don't really have a way to pour anything down the pipe or to clean it (maybe scrub the outside a bit with a toothbrush?), so if they are drain flies what can I do about them? Or do I need to ask the super to do something?

Ugh they're gross. Thank you!
posted by Salamandrous to Home & Garden (14 answers total)
Ants or termites? Picture looks like something that happened to me at the last basement-level apartment I lived in. Turned out to be ants, according to the poor bastard who moved in after I left.
posted by Sternmeyer at 7:46 AM on March 10, 2012

They do look like termites to me. But I am not an entomologist.
posted by MexicanYenta at 7:49 AM on March 10, 2012

Those are termites.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:39 AM on March 10, 2012

Look closely at one (an easy way is to catch it on the sticky side of some clear tape). Does it have a waist? Ants have narrow waists, termites do not. Termites are a much more serious matter, since they can do major damage to the structure of your apartment.
posted by Ery at 9:10 AM on March 10, 2012

Yep. Termites. Call the super.
posted by dchrssyr at 10:19 AM on March 10, 2012

Best answer: How to tell ants from termites - with some close up pictures. Personally I could not tell from your picture.
posted by rongorongo at 10:32 AM on March 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Those are termites.
I thought it when I read your description, and the picture exactly matches the image you gave me. I can almost see them moving in your picture. Clearly this takes me back to days that made my skin crawl.
posted by SLC Mom at 11:25 AM on March 10, 2012

My husband who knows insects said termites have four equal sized wings, ants do not. Check the wings.
posted by mermayd at 12:31 PM on March 10, 2012

Save one of the dead ones if you can, always good to have something to show the bug guy.

We had a swarm of termites come pouring out of our kitchen floor in one apartment, out of nowhere. That was fun.

They had to redo the entire first story.
posted by emjaybee at 4:10 PM on March 10, 2012

Agree; these are termites.
posted by webwench at 10:05 PM on March 10, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you all! I got a closer up look at one and wasn't sure about seeing a waist, and I do live in a basement apartment, so I guess termites are likely. I've only seen one more since I wiped away that batch but next time I see one I'll call the super.
posted by Salamandrous at 9:26 AM on March 11, 2012

Look like flying ants to me but I can't say for sure.
posted by Joe Chip at 2:13 PM on March 11, 2012

Be aware that the swarming behaviour of either flying ants or termites is only transient. For the rest of the time the creatures will may remain out of site/out of mind (while they chomp on your foundations, perhaps). If I was your super I would very much appreciate being told about these - even with the blurred picture you took. Best to get somebody in to check out what is going on.
posted by rongorongo at 4:36 PM on March 12, 2012

Yeah, even if you're not seeing many more, you really need to let the super know. There may already be damage done that needs to be addressed.
posted by xedrik at 7:14 PM on March 12, 2012

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