What are these terrifying bugs? Are they out to eat me?
December 13, 2014 4:26 PM   Subscribe

About a week ago, I noticed a dozen small dots moving on the wall of my shower. When I say small, I mean borderline microscopic. I caught one on some Scotch tape and filmed it under ~30x magnification. Please help identify. I've had a few itchy bumps, and surely this is the cause. How do I get rid of them? Link to video.

Some background information: I live in an older house converted into 2 apartments (upstairs and downstairs). I recently saw a mouse in my apartment for the first time and have seen some droppings. Despite my best effort with humane traps, I have been unsuccessful in catching the bastard.

I talked to my upstairs neighbors, and they too have heard mice scurrying in the walls and attic. They also said they had seen these small bugs and felt like they were being bitten. Are these bugs carried by mice?

My lease says I am responsible for pest control (WTF?), so I need to know what I am dealing with here so I can figure out a game plan. The only place I have seen the bugs is in the shower, but they are so small that they could be anywhere/everywhere.

My sanity thanks you.
posted by rancidchickn to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Could they be springtails? I don't have pest control advice, but it looks like a promising guess.
posted by lizzicide at 4:30 PM on December 13, 2014

Pigeon mites?
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:58 PM on December 13, 2014

For sure rat/mouse/bird mites. Are the bites tiny? Its common to only see the mites in the bathroom against the tile in the bright light, but you can be certain they are everywhere. Get an exterminator for the mice stat, then mites will go away.
posted by Toddles at 5:02 PM on December 13, 2014

You don't happen to have cats, do you? I had an infestation of something quite similar when I used Swheat Scoop wheat-based kitty litter. Horrifying and gross, although I don't believe they actually did me harm.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:09 PM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I don't have any cats. Just a dog. I looked at some Google images of mites and their body seems rounder than what I have. Could it be some type of lice?
posted by rancidchickn at 5:20 PM on December 13, 2014

I just looked at the video. Those are mites, but apparently not human ones. See this (note--not human) if your size description is correct. Nice video, by the way.

They are harmless and disgusting. I have no idea what to do about them. But good luck!
posted by hexatron at 5:39 PM on December 13, 2014

Can you move?

I ask because your house is likely infested. You shouldn't have to pay for that. It'll take a handyman or contractor to seal the house up so rodents can't enter. At some point, that's maybe too much money on a property you don't own?

Get estimates. Figure out if it is worth it to stay or not.
posted by jbenben at 11:01 PM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

On the humane traps: we get a mouse from time to time in our kitchen, and we use humane traps. We've tried all sorts of bait, and nothing has ever worked but these muffins. They're easy to make, pretty good, and we always catch a mouse the morning after we put them in the traps. I don't know what it is, but they are magic mouse muffins. We just caught one this morning.
posted by that's how you get ants at 7:16 AM on December 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

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