Any clue on what these tiny white bugs may be?

Any clue on what these tiny white bugs may be?

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I would like to know what the bugs in the following pictures are, they are absolutely tiny, i would say 0.5mm at most, i can't get a really sharp picture, as they seem like to hang out in the dust on furniture (which messes with the focus) and to dislike strong lighting.

If this may help i'm located in North-Eastern Italy, i first noticed them last winter, in a home where i struggled with mold on walls, and i have moved since then (along with my furniture). During all of summer in the new home i haven't noticed them around, so i thought that they may have disliked the new "habitat", but recently when the climate started to get colder and moist i've been seeing some of them again. I see them in counts of approximately 10 - 20 on a surface, so i would assume that their total population in my room would reach the thousands.

Other than in dust on my furniture i see that they like particularly boxes aswell, my assumption would be that they're some kind of acari given their almost unnoticeable size, i've also seen someone talk about dust mites. I've also found some deposit of yellowish dust in strange formations that i would assume may be eggs or feces, i'll add the picture below.

I don't believe them to be harmfull, i'm just worried that they may be eating away at my furniture or damaging my electronics with their waste. I also believe to have seen tiny strings of material similar to spider webs around, that's why i believe them to be related to acari or some tipe of spider, rather than insects, although i couldn't actually count their appendices, they look almost "hairy" in a way. Also the smaller ones look whiteish-transparent while the biggest ones are beige as far as i can see.

EDIT: i have looked up and bought a macro lens that can be attached to the phohe's camera, here's the new pictures i got, although i'll have to wait to be able to take some pictures in natural lighting as these are overexposed


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Mayfly, (order Ephemeroptera), any member of a group of insects known for their extremely short life spans and emergence in large numbers in the summer months. Other common names for the winged stages are shadfly, sandfly, dayfly, fishfly, and drake. The aquatic immature stage, called a nymph or naiad, is widely distributed in freshwater, although a few species can tolerate the brackish water of marine estuaries.

The winged stages attract attention through mass emergences when they may make roads slippery, clog gutters, and taint the air with an odour of decay. Mayfly nymphs are important in the energy transfer cycle that occurs in freshwaters. Some species are carnivorous, but the majority of nymphs feed on diatoms, algae, higher plants, and organic detritus. Nymphs are devoured in turn by many carnivorous animals, especially fishes.

Whiteflies in the Greenhouse

Whiteflies are “true bugs” (Hemiptera) that feed on plant sap, much like aphids. Adults are very small (1/16 - 1/10 inch) with powdery white wings. Females lay eggs directly on the undersides of plant leaves. The eggs hatch into tiny “crawlers” that walk a short distance before settling at a feeding location. These nymphs lose their ability walk, and remain in the same location for the rest of their development until they pupate and emerge as winged adults (Figure 1). The entire whitefly life cycle takes about 3 weeks under favorable conditions, allowing populations to build quickly. Whiteflies do not have a dormant stage that can withstand freezing temperatures. In climates that have winter freezes, such as Kentucky, whiteflies are year-round pests only in greenhouses.

Figure 1. Lifecycle of the sweetpotato whitefly, entirely on the undersides of leaves. Development times in the figure are for 77°F on a preferred host plant species. Each stage will be longer at colder temperatures, or on a less preferred crop. Adults, eggs, and young nymphs are usually found on fresh newly expanded leaves, whereas older nymphs and exuviae are found on more mature foliage.

Worldwide, there are over 1500 species of whitefly, most of which are inconspicuous and never reach densities high enough to cause damage to their host plants. A few species, however, are major pests. Here in Kentucky, the most notable are 1) the sweetpotato whitefly (Bemisia tabaci), and 2) the greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporarorium). The former is a confusing complex of “biotypes” (currently considered multiple species) that are physically indistinguishable, but which have distinct biological differences. For example, B biotype is also sometimes known as the silverleaf whitefly (also known as Bemisia argentifolii) because of the distinctive silvering damage it inflicts on plant leaves. B biotype is currently the most common in North America, but a second biotype, Q biotype, is also present, and of particular concern because Q biotype is highly resistant to many classes of insecticide. Finally, a third species, the bandedwinged whitefly (Trialeurodes abutiloneus) is an occasional pest of greenhouses. Other whitefly species are possible in the greenhouse (particularly on specialty crops such as citrus), but most of the time the culprit is one of these 3 species.

Damage Inflicted

Whiteflies are sap feeders that reduce the overall vigor of plants with their feeding. As whitefly infestations become severe, they cause plants to yellow and lose their leaves prematurely. They also produce large amounts of sticky, sugary honeydew, which in turn is colonized by black sooty mold, reducing the attractiveness and marketability of whitefly-infested crops.

Even worse, whiteflies are vectors that transmit over a hundred different plant viruses. The viruses are taken up by whiteflies feeding on an infected plant. When the whitefly moves to a new plant and starts feeding, viral particles enter the plant and start a new infection cycle. Plant species differ widely in both their susceptibility to these viruses and the symptoms they show. At the extremes, some plants species show no symptoms of infection (carriers) and other plant species become completely unmarketable. Of the greenhouse pest species of whitefly, sweetpotato whitefly is responsible for transmission of most viruses, but all three whiteflies can transmit viruses that can be damaging to crops. In general, whitefly vectored viruses are more frequently associated with vegetable than ornamental crops in the greenhouse.

Identification of Different Whitefly Species

Because different pest whitefly species differ in their susceptibility to control methods (see below) as well as the level of damage they can inflict, it is important to identify which species is infesting your greenhouse. You’ll need a handlens or magnifying glass to aid identification.

Figure 2. Species identification for common whiteflies in the greenhouse.

As adults, bandedwinged whiteflies are easily distinguished from sweetpotato and greenhouse whiteflies by the presence of a dark zig-zag pattern across the wings (Figure 2). Sweetpotato and greenhouse whiteflies are both solid white, but can be distinguished from one another as adults by the way they hold their wings. Greenhouse whitefly holds its wings out flat, giving it a triangular appearance from above, whereas sweetpotato whitefly holds its wings tentlike over its body at a sharp angle, giving the whitefly a more linear appearance from above, like a tiny grain of rice.

Fortunately, the immature “scale” of greenhouse and sweetpotato whitefly is easier to distinguish. Greenhouse whitefly nymphs are shaped like a pillbox, oval with flat perpendicular sides, and with noticeable long waxy filaments on the top. In contrast, nymphal sweetpotato whiteflies lack the perpendicular sides, lying more flat against the leaf. They also have only a few delicate filaments, which are quite hard to see. Bandedwinged nymphs look like greenhouse whitefly nymphs, but lack the long projecting filaments, instead having curly filaments on the top surface.

What Plants Might Be Attacked?

The list of plant species attacked by these pest whitefly species is unfortunately long. Table 1 includes some of the most important greenhouse crops attacked, but is far from complete. Sweetpotato whitefly is known to attack more than 700 species, and greenhouse whitefly is not much better. Bandedwinged whitefly has a more restricted host range, and while it may feed on many plants in the greenhouse, it won't lay eggs on many crop species. Large numbers of adult bandedwinged whiteflies may enter greenhouses in the fall when vegetation in the landscape starts to die back, but will not necessarily become a persistent pest problem. That said, some greenhouse crops are known to sustain bandedwinged whitefly populations (Table 1). Additionally, bandedwinged whiteflies can reproduce on some species of weeds, such as beggarticks and ragweed, thus producing a continuous supply of adults to attack and weaken nearby crops.

Table 1: Some preferred greenhouse hostplants of whiteflies

BW= bandedwinged whitefly, GH = Greenhouse whitefly, SP = sweetpotato whitefly
*particularly prone to whitefly-vectored viruses

Integrated Pest Management

The old adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" (Benjamin Franklin) is certainly true when it comes to pest infestations of greenhouses. The following tips can help prevent infestations before they ever start:

Isolation/examination of new stock. Most whitefly outbreaks can be traced back to infested stock material. When new plants are brought in to the greenhouse, keep them isolated in a separate bay (best), bench, or area of the greenhouse. Because whitefly eggs and young nymphs are so small, it is very easy to miss early infestations. If new stock can be kept isolated for a period of 1-2 weeks, this allows time for larger nymphs to develop, which will be easier to detect. Use a hand lens or magnifying glass to check the undersides of young leaves before integrate new material with more established crops.

Screening. During warm dry seasons, whiteflies can become abundant in the environment, and may colonize greenhouses directly through open doors, windows and ventilation. Exclusion through screening may not always be feasible, but features such as double-door entry and covered ventilation could be considered in the construction of new greenhouses.

Sanitation. Remove plant residues from within and near the greenhouse. Whitefly nymphs can continue to mature on dead/dying plant material, producing adults that can reinfest crops. Some weed species are also favored hosts for whiteflies, so removing weeds from around (and within) the greenhouse makes it more difficult for whiteflies to cycle between greenhouse crops and the surrounding environment.

Crop free period. Because all stages of the whitefly life cycle are dependent on plants, allowing the greenhouse to stand empty of plants can also break the cycle of re-colonization and infestation. Adult whiteflies cannot live without feeding on a host plant (for more than a few days), so even a week at warm temperatures without plants should be sufficient to remove potential whitefly colonists from the greenhouse. In cooler temperatures, the plant-free period needs to be longer, so consider warming up the greenhouse for a few days prior to introducing a new crop, to purge and remnant populations. Once pest-free crops are established, avoid accidentally introducing "hitch-hiker" whiteflies as you move among greenhouses or bays. Avoid wearing colors that are attractive to whiteflies (yellow and blue), brush yourself off before entering clean areas, and try to avoid moving directly from infested to uninfested greenhouse areas.

As with most greenhouse pests, early detection of whitefly infestations is difficult due to the small size of the insect, as well as the preferred feeding location on the undersides of leaves. Yet, managing infestations is much easier when they are noticed early, so it is worth investing some time into monitoring efforts.

Yellow sticky cards are an essential tool for monitoring whitefly populations. These can be purchased in small quantities from most garden supply vendors. If you want to purchase in larger quantities, check out some of the vendors listed in Entfact 124, Vendors of microbial and botanical insecticides and insect monitoring devices.

Place the cards in a vertical orientation, so that the card is level with the new plant growth at the top of the crop. About 1-4 cards should be placed every 1000 ft2 of greenhouse, with extra cards placed near doors and vents where whiteflies might enter the greenhouse. In greenhouses with mixed crop species, higher card density should be used around crops that are particularly attractive to whiteflies.

Conduct regular scouting trips (weekly) through the greenhouse, inspecting both the yellow cards and plants. Look for unthrifty yellowing of plants, premature leaf drop, or sticky honeydew on the leaves. If you see these symptoms, use a handlens to inspect the plant more closely for insect infestations. Adult whiteflies will flutter away from plants if disturbed, so brushing your hand through the plant canopy in areas of concern may allow you to find hotspots of whitefly infestation.

Remember that finding a single whitefly on a yellow sticky card does not mean you should immediately apply a chemical control. Unnecessary chemical use is bad for the environment, human health, and the pocketbook. However, whitefly populations are easier to control when small, so don’t ignore early warning signs, either. Intensify monitoring efforts, and develop a plan of action for treatment. General “action threshold” pest densities such as 0.5 whiteflies/sticky card/day for young crops, or 2 whiteflies/sticky card/day for mature crops represent a starting point. However, the precise threshold at which action should be taken depends on many factors. Some crops are more forgiving of light levels of infestation than others, and some control methods take longer to take effect than others. In particular, if you plan to use biological control, it is better to act very early, perhaps even preventatively. Whatever action thresholds and control methods you use, keep records from year to year, so that you have more information about what worked (and what didn’t), to improve your future decisions.

Biological control. Biological control is often successfully used to suppress whitefly populations in greenhouses in Europe, but is less widespread in the United States. Currently, the following biological control agents for whitefly are available in the US:

Encarsia formosa

Encarsia formosa is a parasitoid that lays its eggs in whitefly nymphs. It is even smaller than the whiteflies it attacks. The parasitoid larva develops within whitefly nymph, consuming it from the inside over a period of 1-2 weeks. This parasitoid will attack all 3 of the pest whiteflies discussed in this bulletin, but provides the best control against greenhouse whitefly, especially at cooler temperatures. Most commercially-available strains of this parasitoid do not provide good control of sweetpotato whitefly.

Eretmocerus eremicus

Eretmocerus eremicus is another parasitoid that is commercially available. It is generally considered to provide better control of sweetpotato whitefly than Encarsia inaron, and to perform better at higher temperatures.

Delphastus catalinae

Delphastus catalinae is a tiny predatory beetle (1/15 inch) that consumes whitefly eggs and nymphs. It will attack all species of whitefly, but prefers sweetpotato whitefly. It avoids eating whitefly nymphs that have parasitoids developing within them, which means that it can be released together with a parasitoid without interfering with parasitism.

Biological control is generally more expensive than chemical control, and won’t result in complete elimination of the pest. However, if you have a history of whitefly infestations that do not respond well to chemical controls, biological control may be able to accomplish what chemicals cannot. Moreover, organic biological control can add value to your crop. If you are considering biological control, carefully discuss your situation with a distributor of biological control organisms, who should be willing to help you use their products as effectively as possible. Vendors of these biological control organisms are listed in Entfact 125.

Chemical control. There are a number of chemicals labeled for whitefly control in the greenhouse in Kentucky (Table 2). These chemicals vary widely in their mode of action, crops they can be used on, compatibility with biological control, and efficacy.

“Resistant” pest populations develop when they are repeatedly and heavily exposed to the same chemical, killing off all but the few rare individuals that differ genetically in such a way that the chemical doesn’t affect them. These survivors reproduce, and their offspring inherit their resistance to the chemical. There are no “magic bullet” pesticides that won’t cause resistance. The solution is rotation: switching among chemicals with different modes of action to kill off survivors of the previous chemical. The mode of action is indicated by the IRAC code in Table 2. Rotating among chemicals within the same IRAC group is not helpful, because survivors of one chemical will probably also survive a second chemical that works in the same way. Likewise, there is no benefit to tank mixing chemicals with the same mode of action. Be sure to carefully follow label “resistance management” restrictions for application frequency. These guidelines have been put in place to prevent widespread resistance to particular chemical groups, to preserve the usefulness of the chemical.

Table 2. Chemicals for control of whitefly in the greenhouse

aO = ornamental, V = vegetable
bOMRI = Organic Materials Review Institute
cBiologicals = predatory and parasitoid insects.

If integrating chemical controls with biological controls, carefully consider the compatibility to the two control methods. As you might expect, insecticides are not generally good for beneficial insects, but some are worse than others. For example, insect growth regulators (IRAC code 7) are much more compatible with biological control than pyrethroids (IRAC code 3). Also note that organic (OMRI-certified) pesticides are not necessarily compatible with biological control. Chemicals with less residual activity in the crop and greater selectivity for particular groups of pests are more likely to be successfully integrated into a biological control program.

The diversity of ornamental crops in greenhouses poses particular challenges for pesticide use. When starting use of a new pesticide, you should initially apply it to only a small number of your plants. Monitor these plants for a few days for signs of phytotoxicity before treating the rest of your crop.

Hoddle, M. Silverleaf whitefly, Bemisia argentifolii.

Greer, L. 2000. Greenhouse IPM: sustainable whitefly control.

Sabaratnam, S. 2012. Emerging virus diseases of greenhouse vegetable crops.

White, J. A. and D. Johnson. 2012. Entfact 124: Vendors of microbial and botanical insecticides and insect monitoring devices. ENTFact-124.

White, J. A. and D. Johnson. 2010. Entfact 125: Vendors of beneficial organisms in North America. ENTFact-125.

Zalom, F. G., J. T. Trumble, C. F. Fouche, C. G. Summers. 2011. UC IPM Pest management guidelines: tomato.

CAUTION! Pesticide recommendations in this publication are registered for use in Kentucky, USA ONLY! The use of some products may not be legal in your state or country. Please check with your local county agent or regulatory official before using any pesticide mentioned in this publication.



Whiteflies are tiny, snow-white insect pests that (when viewed under a magnifying glass) resemble moths. When viewed without magnification, these insects look more like flying dandruff! Although they might resemble moths, they are actually more related to scale insects. In fact, they are often confused with soft scale insects. Both adult and nymph stages feed by sucking plant juices. Heavy feeding by these pests can give plants a mottled look, cause yellowing and eventually death to the host plant.

Sticky honeydew excreted by these insects glazes both upper and lower leaf surfaces, permitting the development of black sooty mold fungus. Besides being unattractive, sooty mold interferes with photosynthesis, which retards plant growth and often causes leaf drop.

The most common and perhaps most difficult to control insect pests in greenhouses and interior landscapes are whiteflies. Three common species of whiteflies, the greenhouse, sweet potato and banded wing, are potential pests on a wide variety of crops. They attack a wide range of plants including bedding plants, cotton, strawberries, vegetables, and poinsettias. In addition to attacking many different crops, whiteflies are difficult to control. The immature stages are small and difficult to detect. Growers often buy plants, unaware of the whitefly infestation present.

Once adults develop and emerge inside a greenhouse or hothouse, they quickly become distributed over an entire crop or infest other available plants. Chemical control programs directed at the pest often have limited success. Two life stages (egg and pupa) are tolerant of most insecticides. Control measures are also complicated by the insects clinging on to the underside of leaves, making them difficult to reach with chemical or oil sprays.

All species of this plant pest develop from the egg through four nymphal instars before becoming adults. Elapsed time (from egg to adult) varies with species. Eggs are deposited on the undersides of leaves and are often found in a circular or crescent-shaped pattern. The "crawler" hatches from the egg, moves a short distance and then settles and begins feeding -- sucking juices from its plant host. The remainder of the nymphal development is spent in this sedentary condition. The adult whitefly emerges from the pupal case and flies to other host plants to lay eggs and begin the cycle again. Fourth instar nymphs (called pupae) and adults are most frequently used to distinguish one species from another.
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When choosing a product for eliminating whiteflies from your flowers and plants, remember that each product might kill only specific stages of the pest. You might also consider that the preferred product can have other uses, such as indoor or outdoor pest control.
For example, Pesticide oil sprays and Safer Insecticide soap do little damage to adult whiteflies they mainly eliminate nymph and pupa stages of the whitefly. Talstar One Bifenthrin Concentrate, Permethrin Pro, Tempo SC and Pyrethrin-Rotenone sprays eliminate adult and nymphs only. Oil Spray is best for year-round prevention. While oil sprays, Safer Soap and Pyrethrin-Rotenone are used extensively on plants, they are not the products of choice when treating homes for general purpose pest control.
Permethrin Pro and Tempo SC can be used in a wide variety of situations: indoor pest control (boxelder bugs, roaches, ants, silverfish, etc.), outdoor pest control (ornamentals) and (in the case of Tempo SC) can be used for treating restaurants and other commercial food plants. For best, long-term control of plant pests Talstar One usually works far better than other sprays, producing excellent knock down of existing white flies as well as longer residual than other insecticides.
Choose the product best suited for your over all needs.

Click on any product link to see description and availability in certain states.

Apply your insecticide when first stage nymphs or adults have emerged. In heavy whitefly populations of mixed life stages, two to three applications per week may be necessary to bring the population under control with a contact insecticide. Read and follow label instructions each product can have different limits on how often applications can be made.

Proper application of the insecticide is also a key component to a successful pest control program. It is necessary to deliver the insecticide to the undersides of leaves to achieve good control. As many crops mature, a dense canopy of foliage forms that interferes with pesticide delivery. With these crops, it is necessary to control whiteflies prior to the formation of this canopy or to space plants so they can be treated adequately.

Key genetic clue missing in fight against superbugs

White blood cells (blue) attack two Klebsiella bacteria (pink) in this colorized scanning electron microscopic image. Credit: David Dorward/NIAID

For the first time, researchers have discovered how antibiotic resistance genes are spreading, at a continental scale, via bacterial plasmids in the hospital superbug, Klebsiella pneumoniae.

Researchers from the Center for Genomic Pathogen Surveillance, based jointly at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and the Big Data Institute, University of Oxford, together with their collaborators used genome sequencing technology to analyze plasmids—genetic structures in bacteria that can carry antibiotic resistance genes—as well as bacterial chromosomes from K. pneumoniae samples taken from European hospital patients.

The findings, published today (24th September) in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveal three different pathways by which antibiotic resistance genes spread via plasmids through bacterial populations. Researchers say it is critical that plasmids are included when tracking antibiotic resistance in order to have the best chance of stopping superbugs.

Members of the Enterobacteriaceae family of bacteria can become resistant to last-line antibiotics called carbapenems, and are listed as a critical threat in the World Health Organization's list of priority pathogens. Within this family, Klebsiella pneumoniae is an opportunistic pathogen that causes serious diseases, including pneumonia and meningitis.

K. pneumoniae becomes resistant to carbapenems by acquiring antibiotic resistance genes, known as carbapenemase genes, which code for an enzyme that chews up the antibiotic.

In K. pneumoniae, these carbapenemase genes are usually found on plasmids—smaller circular pieces of DNA that are additional to the bacterial chromosome. Plasmids can jump between different strains and species of bacteria, meaning antibiotic resistance genes can quickly spread and drive the rapid rise in antibiotic resistant bacterial infections worldwide.

Therefore, researchers must include plasmids when tracking the evolution and spread of bacteria to get a true picture of how antibiotic resistance genes are spreading. However it has previously been difficult to use genome sequencing to reliably track plasmid evolution, due to the variability in size and structure of their genetic sequences.

Now with long-read sequencing technology researchers are able to read and reconstruct complete sequences for plasmids.

In a new study, researchers from the Center for Genomic Pathogen Surveillance and their collaborators conducted long-read genome sequencing on 79 K. pneumoniae samples from patients, taken from a Europe-wide survey.

The team generated complete plasmid sequences from these samples, and studied them along with more than 1700 previously short-read sequenced K. pneumoniae samples from the same survey to understand how antibiotic resistance genes are spreading through the bacterial population in European hospitals.

Dr. Sophia David, first author from the Center for Genomic Pathogen Surveillance said: "To fully understand how antibiotic resistance is spreading, we need to consider the role of plasmids. In this study, which is the first to analyze the genetic sequences of plasmids at a continental scale, we discovered three primary routes by which antibiotic resistance genes are spreading via plasmids through the K. pneumoniae population."

The three pathways of transmission involve one plasmid jumping between multiple strains, multiple plasmids spreading among multiple strains, and multiple plasmids spreading within one strain of K. pneumoniae.

Professor Hajo Grundmann, co-lead author from the University of Freiburg in Germany, said: "These new insights into the three routes of spread of antibiotic resistance genes in K. pneumoniae are critical for controlling outbreaks of antibiotic resistant infections. Knowing these transmission strategies enables tailoring of interventions, either to control the dominant plasmid, control the dominant strain, or in complicated situations, control both. For example, if there was a hospital outbreak and the strain carried a high-risk plasmid, there's a chance this plasmid might jump into other bacterial strains or species, which would need to be monitored."

The team also found that plasmids encoding carbapenemase genes were most successful in spreading when acquired by a high-risk strain. This reinforces the importance of preventing transmission of high-risk strains through early detection and rigorous infection control in healthcare environments.

Professor David Aanensen, co-lead author and Director of the Center for Genomic Pathogen Surveillance said: "When tracking certain antibiotic resistant bacteria, plasmids are one of the missing parts of the puzzle. Analyzing the genetic sequences of both bacterial chromosomes and plasmids can give us a more detailed picture of how antibiotic resistance genes and mechanisms spread in a population. Genomic surveillance of bacteria should include plasmids and other mobile elements in order to tackle the rise in antibiotic resistant infections."


Crickets are not commonly thought of as an insect that eats holes in clothes. They do not attack clean clothes. However, they find body soil, food and beverage stains, and laundry starch very attractive. The cricket will eat the remains of the stain and during its feast will often cut the threads of the fabric. Cricket excrement will stain clean clothes and often happens if clothes are dried outside.


If you find you have indoor crickets, begin by removing sources of moisture and food. You must also find the points of entry from the outside. Look around light fixtures and inspect any cracks along floorboards and outside foundation walls. Insecticides should be used when there are a large number of crickets. Select a product that is labeled for control of indoor crickets and contains the ingredients chlorpyrifos (Dursban), permethrin, or propoxur (Baygon). Whether choosing an aerosol product or liquid, follow application directions carefully.

Termite Life Cycle

The life cycle of the termite begins with a mating flight, wherein swarming winged reproductive males and females leave established colonies and procreate. After fertilization, winged termites land and shed their wings, going on to form new colonies. These insects then become the king or queen termites of their newly established colonies. The queen and king termites are at the center of the termite life cycle and are responsible for reproduction.

After the fertilized queen lays her eggs, they hatch into pale white larvae. Eggs hatch into larvae and molt to develop into workers, soldiers, and primary or secondary reproductives.

A nymph is a young termite that is going through molts, a process of shedding its exoskeleton, to become a reproductive. First, a termite develops a soft exoskeleton under its current, hard exoskeleton. Then, once the termite has reached maturity, its outermost skeleton splits open, and the new exoskeleton enlarges and hardens. This molting process continues throughout a termite’s life cycle based on the colony’s needs.

Over the course of several molts, these larvae grow to assume a role in one of the three termite colony castes: workers, soldiers, and reproductive termites, also known as alates.

Sizes of various termites in a colony.
Left to right: Soldier, Worker, Nymph, Larvae.


Each caste has a distinctly different physical appearance. Workers are responsible for constructing tunnels and chambers as well as feeding and grooming other termite castes. Soldier termites are yellow-brown in color, with dramatically enlarged heads and often large mandibles. These are useful in combat, but render warriors incapable of feeding themselves. The reproductive alates are darker in color and are born with two pairs of wings.

Although it is not clear how larvae are relegated to a certain caste, some research has indicated that maturity and the overall needs of the colony may dictate caste assignment. In fact, research has shown that castes in the termite life cycle are not rigidly set, as termites belonging to one caste may develop into another caste if the colony requires it. Thus, a soldier termite may become a worker or a reproductive termite if the colony experiences a shortage of one or the other.

The termite life cycle also includes swarming. Once reproductives become fully mature termites capable of reproducing, they develop wings and functioning eyes. The bodies of these termites, now called alates, also become harder and darker to help the swarming termites withstand exposure to light and less humid air.


Workers and soldiers live approximately one to two years. Queen termites may survive for over a decade under optimal climate conditions.

Encounters & Concerns

Generally the life cycle stages most likely encountered by homeowners are termite workers as they tunnel through wood and the primary reproductive termites that show up as swarms. The pests often are not observed until someone discovers either wood that is damaged or dead termite bodies and shed wings that are indicative of a reproductive swarm.

The remains of termite swarms are usually seen near a source of light such as a window, entrance door, or patio door. Swarms generally occur in the spring, especially after a rain.

As a general rule of thumb whenever a termite swarm is observed, that means the colony has been actively consuming wood in the house for about 3 to 5 years. If dealing with a subterranean termite colony, the most damaging of the three main groups of termites, the presence of other colony caste members are concealed and hidden below ground.

Damage is the most significant concern homeowners have with termite infestations. Termite workers may consume and damage wooden structures and wooden surfaces such as floors and wall coverings (paneling or sheetrock.) Some species may damage standing trees or construction wood located in the attic or other locations where wood is dry. Contacting your local pest management professional and requesting an inspection and termite protection plan can lessen these concerns.

5.2 Diseases caused by parasites

Common diseases in Indigenous communities which are caused by parasites are described below.


This is a parasitic infection caused by the protozoan Giardia lamblia getting into the small intestine. Giardia is a single celled animal which is so small it can only be seen with the help of a microscope.

  • very severe or chronic (long-lasting) diarrhoea
  • stomach cramps and pain
  • fatigue (tiredness)
  • weakness
  • weight loss

Hookworm infection

This is a widespread disease in warm, tropical and sub-tropical places, especially where sewage disposal is inadequate. It is common in the Kimberley and other parts of tropical northern Australia.

Hookworm is a parasitic worm. The adult worm is about 1 cm in length and is about the thickness of a pin.
The worms suck blood from the human host. The disease becomes serious when there are many worms in the intestine sucking blood from the host. When this happens, the host loses too much blood which contains the body's important nutrients (nourishing food).

To get rid of these worms from the body, the person must be treated with special medicine.

Threadworm (or pinworm) infection

This is a disease which can occur in any part of Australia. It is another disease which is caused by a parasitic worm which lives in large numbers in the human intestine.

Threadworm causes anal (bum hole) itching. This can lead to disturbed sleep and can cause people to become grumpy. Excessive scratching can lead to broken skin which may become infected (pus sores).

Threadworms are easily passed from one person to another and frequently whole families or groups become infected.

There is also special medicine to get rid of these worms from the body.

Dwarf tapeworm infection

Scabies infection

This is a skin disease caused by a tiny animal which is called a mite. It is usually about 0.3 mm long. The female burrows into the skin to lay her eggs and this irritates the skin and makes it very itchy. As a result, the person scratches the skin a lot.
If the skin breaks as a result of the scratching, germs can enter the break in the skin and cause an infection. When treating the infection it is important to also get rid of the mites or lice otherwise the irritations will continue and cause more infections.
To get rid of scabies a specially medicated lotion is used.

Pediculosis (head lice infection)

These tiny bloodsucking animals live their whole life on a person's head. The lice stab an opening through the skin and suck up blood from the host. This causes irritation. The resulting scratching can lead to broken skin which can become infected.
Special shampoos are used to get rid of head lice. The eggs which are stuck to the hair need to be removed with a special fine-toothed comb.

Clover Mites and Clover Mite Control

The full-grown clover mite is slightly smaller than a pin head and has a bright reddish to reddish-brown body. They typically appear in large numbers.

Clover mites look like dark red specks crawling around siding, doors, windows, drapes, curtains and furniture. When crushed, clover mites leave a red stain. The stain is not blood, it's just their natural color.

The front legs are as long as the body, and extend forward.

Clover Mite Biology and Habits

  • Clover mites are an arachnid, a close relative of spiders and ticks
  • Clover mites leave a red stain when crushed.
  • Clover mites feed on grasses, clovers, and certain other plants in the lawn and around the home.
  • They often crawl into cracks and crevices to molt and lay eggs. Typical "hiding places" are under the loose bark of trees, on foundation walls, beneath siding, and around window frames
  • Clover mites do not damage buildings and furnishings, nor do they injure humans and pets.
  • They attack a number of grasses and plants found in yards.
  • Clover mites are plant feeders that have been found infesting more than 200 different plant. They suck the sap.
  • They can live off algae and mold.
  • Clover mites live close by and on their food sources.
  • They become a real nuisance upon migration into buildings.
  • Heavy migrations of clover mites into houses are common in the early summer and fall.
  • Clover mites build up large populations around structures surrounded with lush, well-fertilized lawns and shrubbery.
  • Large populations of clover mites may occur on the flat roofs of commercial buildings and are associated with moss growth.
  • Clover mite females lay about 70 eggs each.
  • They lay eggs in the crevices of buildings, under sidings, and on the underside of bark at the base of trees.
  • Clover mites eggs do not hatch below 40 degrees F or above 86 degrees F.
  • They lay their eggs during the spring.
  • After eggs hatch, the newly emerged immature clover mites move to find hosts, molt, and pass through two nymphal stages.
  • Clover mites in the egg stage may either hibernate (overwinter) or become dormant during the summer under tree bark, in cracks of fence posts and foundation walls, under sheathing of buildings or in other dry protected sites, during adverse weather conditions.
  • Clover mites are most troublesome in early spring and again in fall, especially on the east and south sides of buildings.
  • They can be found randomly through the house, but very frequently on the south side of the house because of the warmth.
  • PA. Dept. of Agriculture : Clover Mites

James Kalisch, Department of Entomology, UNL

Barb Ogg, UNL Extension in Lancaster County

Clover Mite Control Measures

The most effective prevention is removing any grass and weeds up to 24 inches away from the foundation of the house.

Placing a plant-free band of gravel, coarse sand, marbles, lava rock, or wood chips around the foundation helps keep clover mites away from the structure. Clover mites have difficulty crossing such barriers.

Avoid excessive watering and fertilization near the structure, to avoid the lush growth of host plants close to the house.

If the mites have already invaded the home causing an infestation, chemical controls, such as Bifen IT will solve the problem.

Bifen IT can be applied to lower foundational exterior walls up to the first floor window. A 10 to 20 foot wide strip of nearby lawn where the mites are found during their invasion period should be sprayed also. Thorough treatment is required for consistent results. Sprays are usually applied at the rate of 15-20 gallons of finished spray per 1,000 square feet.

Hose End Sprayers, make the job much easier and helps with consistent application.

Spray the walls and foundation to the point of runoff and the vegetation until it is entirely wet.

Use a vacuum cleaner inside the structure to pick up the live mites without crushing them so that they don't stain. Dispose of the vacuum bag.

While tiny houses are about simple living, the truth is that finding a place to park is not easy. Some choose to go with a stealthier tiny house.

Instead of facing the reality of the zoning issues, Nathan and Beka Watson chose to convert a van to live in so that they can move around more stealthily.

"If it looks like an RV or if it looks like a tiny house, everyone wants you off their property," Nathan told Insider. "Instead, we went stealth as possible — no markings, no windows."

The Watsons wanted to downsize and live tiny, but they were nervous about finding a place to park their tiny house. In most states, it is illegal to park a tiny house anywhere you want because of zoning laws. Some owners choose to park in RV parks, but even those parks can be restrictive.

Watch the video: Tiny White Bugs on House Plants (September 2022).


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