7 Types of Tiny Black Bugs That May Be the Pests Around Your Windows

As seasons change, homeowners may find some uninvited guests crawling around their windowsills. Learn what those tiny black bugs in the house near the window are and how to get rid of them.
Nicole Fallon-Peek Avatar
Tiny black bugs near a window.
Photo: istock.com

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What You Need to Know

  • Identifying the type of insect that you have can make it easier to pinpoint a solution, whether it’s DIY or professional pest control.
  • Tiny black bugs in the house near the window are most likely ants, drain flies, house flies, phorid flies, gnats, clover mites, carpet mites, carpet beetles, or booklice.
  • Keeping the window sill clean and free of moisture and filling cracks where pests can enter may help eliminate infestations.
  • If DIY methods are unsuccessful, it’s a good idea to have a pest control professional treat the home to get rid of these pests.

Q: We have been opening the windows in our home a lot more, and that’s how I recently noticed tiny black bugs in my house near the window. What are these small black bugs, where did they come from, and how do I get rid of them?

A: Generally, finding bugs in the home is an unwelcome experience. As seasons change, homeowners often encounter various insects while indoors, such as tiny black bugs in the house near windows and other points of entry. These critters might be a harmless type of bug, such as an ant or a carpet beetle, or they may be a type of insect that requires more urgent attention.

Learning what those tiny bugs in the house are, what is drawing them to the home, and where they’re entering from can help you get rid of them faster. There are various reliable ways to get rid of bugs in a house, as well as prevention methods to stop an infestation before it starts. And in many cases, one of the best pest control companies like Terminix or Orkin, can quickly identify the pest and eliminate the infestation.

A close up of a flying black bug.
Photo: istock.com

The first step in getting rid of the tiny black bugs in your house is to identify them.

For those who are not entomologists, identifying small bugs in the house can be challenging. There are many species of small black insects that look similar to one another, so it may be necessary to look closely to spot the differences. 

First, take a closer look at the size. Tiny black bugs that look like specks of dirt are much different from bugs that are over a millimeter in size. Color is also important. Some bugs that appear to be black from far away are actually a deep red, brown, or gray. It’s also important to take notice of any distinct patterns or textures in their body. Next, body structure can be another distinguishing feature. Some insects have bodies with three segments, such as ants, while others may only have two, such as ticks. 

The number of legs the bug has may be useful in differentiating insects, which have six legs, from arachnids, which have eight. The size of the legs can be an additional clue. Finally, check whether or not the insect has wings. After compiling a profile of each of these characteristics, it will be simpler to narrow down which pest is inhabiting the home. 

1. Ants are often the most common and recognizable type of bug that can congregate on or near your window.

Although they are often associated with summer, ants are also common fall bugs found in the home as they dislike the cold. There are different kinds of ants, including carpenter ants that target wood structures, aggressive fire ants that are red in color and can hurt humans with a venomous sting, and little black ants that are often found in large colonies nesting in lawns or cracks in cement. It’s particularly important not to ignore signs of carpenter ants, as they can cause significant damage if left unchecked. It’s also important to verify whether the bugs are ants or termites—the latter look similar but are much more destructive.

Ants can easily make their way inside through the tiniest of cracks and crevices, like those found in windows, walls, or home foundations. Once they’re inside, it’s common to find ants in the bathroom and kitchen, as these spaces provide abundant water and food sources. To get rid of sugar ants in the house, start by looking for and sealing any points of entry, then cleaning the surrounding areas. Because ants leave behind an invisible trail for other ants to follow, using soap and water to clean the trail can prevent future infestations.

Once the area is sealed and the trails are cleaned, set up a liquid baiting system to first target the worker ants, then larvae and the queen ant. The worker ants will create a new trail to the bait which other ants will follow. The bait will be brought back to the colony, targeting the thousands of ants homeowners don’t see during an infestation. 

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2. Drain flies, also called moth flies, typically live around areas where water accumulates—like the drain, as their name suggests. But when the adult population reaches a certain size, individuals tend to congregate near windows.

Drain flies are often light gray or tan with light-colored wings, but may look like tiny black bugs. They have a fuzzy appearance and measure about 1½ to 5 millimeters long and feed on dying organic material. This is why it’s common to find these tiny black bugs in the bathroom and kitchen near drains. Outdoors, they hover around decaying logs or compost piles. Although drain flies have a lifespan of only a few weeks, new adults can replace them quickly. If their population in a home becomes too big, drain flies may congregate near windows, according to The Ohio State University.

Finding these common small tiny brown bugs in the house may be a sign that there is a slow or clogged drain, especially if the bugs are in the kitchen or in a bathroom. Regular cleaning and maintenance are key to making sure drain flies don’t become an issue inside the home.

3. Other types of flies that can gather near windows include houseflies and phorid flies.

If the small black flying bugs aren’t fruit flies, they could be houseflies or phorid flies. Houseflies are familiar to most—these annoying insects hover near garbage cans or stacks of dirty dishes. Houseflies are typically black to dark gray in color and are about ¼ inch in size. They typically become active in the spring and early summer, and during these months enter the home in search of food. Since they may enter through open windows or gaps in screen doors, it’s common to find them congregating near windows. Many people find that setting out vinegar traps or fly paper can successfully manage these unwanted guests. 

Phorid flies are another type of little black flying bugs in the house that may be less familiar. They are similar in shape to houseflies, but they’re about half the size and can be distinguished by their humped backs. They can also be lighter in color than houseflies and range in color from black to tan. Phorid flies often enter homes attracted to food, so it’s common to find these tiny black bugs in the kitchen. Since they like to nest in damp areas, phorid flies might take up residence near windows that are leaky or have been affected by water damage. Drying and repairing the window will more than likely take care of a phorid fly issue.  

A close up of a tiny black beetle.
Photo: istock.com

4. If the tiny black bugs have wings, they could be gnats.

Little black bugs in the house can be many different insects, including gnats. As full-grown adults, gnats are tiny, long-legged, winged insects often seen flying in masses, which are referred to as ghosts. Ghosts tend to swarm around dusk and can be found in open spaces such as a large field or above a street. Depending on their species, some gnats feed on crop pests, while others are crop pests. Some bite and feed on plants, insects, and blood, while others are non-biting.

Gnats tend to thrive in warm, humid environments. They are also drawn to overripe fruit or smelly garbage bins, so it’s common to find these little black bugs in the kitchen. Keeping the house clean, cool, and dry is likely to make most gnats disappear. But if they won’t take the hint, a homemade gnat trap can take care of the stragglers.  

5. Clover mites or carpet mites may be annoying, but they’re not dangerous.

Clover mites appear to be tiny black bugs that look like poppy seeds, but they’re actually red. They are impressive little bugs whose females can produce up to 70 eggs at a time, all without a male. When crushed, clover mites will leave a red stain behind, which can cause an issue when found indoors. However, they are not damaging to a home or harmful to humans. These small, tiny bugs in the house are particularly attracted to moisture; therefore, spotting these pests can be indicative of a larger issue—likely related to moisture—in the home.

Carpet mites, also called dust mites, are too small to see with the naked eye. But even though you won’t see these tiny brown bugs in the house, every home has them. Living mostly in textiles and feasting on dust and skin cells, carpet mites make their presence known by causing allergic reactions in residents. Fortunately, regularly dusting and vacuuming and changing air filters can greatly reduce the number of carpet mites in the home. 

A view of a pest control expert spraying a solution in a house.
Photo: istock.com

6. Carpet beetles like to hang out on window sills and baseboards, as well as furniture and carpets.

Homeowners may also identify little tiny black bugs in the house or bedroom as carpet beetles, which can lay over 100 eggs at one time. While they aren’t dangerous to humans, these black, white, and orange- or yellow-striped oval bugs have the potential to cause damage to a homeowner’s belongings like clothes, rugs, and furniture if an infestation goes unnoticed. While the adult beetles feed on pollen and plants, both the young beetles and larvae will feed on silk, wool, leather, pet hair, and other natural fibers. Natural remedies like diatomaceous earth or essential oils can be used to control carpet beetles. But if DIY methods aren’t working, a pest control specialist can stop them from creating further damage.

7. Booklice thrive in humid, warm environments, so they’re commonly found on window ledges, bookshelves, and indoor plants.

Booklice are tiny, dark brown insects that love warm, damp places. They are only about a millimeter long, with soft, flat bodies. Despite their name, booklice are not related to the lice that are sometimes found on human scalps—and they are not parasites. Instead, they get their name because they feed on mold and decaying organic matter such as damp paper, rotting wood, or mold and mildew. Booklice can be found near windows, as they provide the humid environment the insects love. Treating the windowsill with bleach will likely be sufficient for getting rid of booklice.  

Keeping your windows clean and applying perimeter treatments can help control pests.

To keep pests at bay, it’s necessary to take preventive measures. By maintaining windows and keeping them clean, it’s easier for a resident to detect any gaps that insects may be using to enter. Additional preventive measures include: 

  • Using caulk to seal holes, such as those near the window, and repairing rips in window screens.
  • Using perimeter treatments to protect the home from unwanted visitors by spraying around the foundation, near any cracks or entry points, and around doors and baseboards. 
  • Keeping food in airtight containers. 
  • Eliminating excess moisture. 
  • Installing or replacing weatherstripping around windows and doors.

Those who are still finding very tiny black bugs in the house, even with precautions, may consider replacing their windows with newer, better-insulated ones. Issues within the home left unaddressed can get worse over time, leading to more serious infestations that require expensive measures to rectify.

If tiny black bugs get out of control, contact a pest control professional ASAP. 

If the tiny black bugs become a bigger problem, it’s best to call a professional. A pest control professional can help get rid of the small black bugs in the house and address any underlying issues that may be causing the infestation. They can help detect bug entry points and seal up areas of the home that may be inviting unwelcome critters. They can also perform inspections to identify signs of termites and other nefarious pests that might have gone previously undetected.

Pest control professionals have access to powerful equipment designed to handle large-scale infestations. It’s often tempting to handle a bug problem independently to save on pest control costs. However, with their advanced training and knowledge, pest professionals often wind up costing far less than what someone might spend on failed DIY attempts.

When hiring pest professionals, residents will want to ensure they have a solid understanding of the problem, hold the proper certifications and insurance, and offer a guarantee. It’s also worth seeking recommendations from family members and friends and checking out reviews online to find a company that can provide services nearby.