You’ve probably seen them everywhere. They hover around your plants, they get in your clothes and hair, and they don’t seem to leave. These tiny white fuzzy creatures appear to get active at the start of every fall season.
So what exactly are these little white bugs that resemble dust or lint?
You are most likely dealing with Aphids. They are harmless, and do not bite, but they do get on everyone’s nerves.
Apart from Aphids, here are the 5 other suspects:
- Dust Mites.
- Grain Mites, aka mold mites.
- Woolly Aphids.
If you want to know more about these little white bugs that look like lint and how to get rid of them, search no further! You’ve come to the right place!
So, what are the little white bugs that look like cotton doing in your home? Around early fall, the temperature drops and moisture levels are in the optimum range to support a sudden boom in your local aphid population.
These insects don’t bite or eat away at your plants, but they quite literally suck.
After they find a nice landing spot on one of your plants, they will start sucking out the sap but can’t digest all of it. That sugary substance settles on plants and other surfaces and looks like black mold.
You might have seen this black mold on the surface of your car or other trees. This is known as sooty mold, and it grows out of the sugary substance that the aphids leave behind.
2. Dust Mites
Dust mites spread fast and wide across your entire home, which is why it’s essential to know about them and how they look.
Dust mites are a threat to people as they can cause respiratory diseases, especially if their infestation grows. Generally, they feed on dead and dry skin.
Their skin and feces can also lead to allergies and asthma attacks. (Source)
You will most likely find them growing in soft furnishings across your home. Ensure that you clean your beds, sofas, carpets, and rugs regularly to avoid a dust mite infestation.
What attracts dust mites? Like many insects, moldy environments are a good breeding ground for dust mites. Along with moisture, dust serves as a strong attractor for dust mites.
Due to their habitat, you might confuse them for bedbugs.
Dust mites are much easier to remove and don’t bite. Bedbugs are much more difficult to get rid of, and they bite.
Remember to regularly dust and vacuum your home. Wash your sheets in warm water, and this will instantly kill any dust mite infestation.
However, steam cleaning is perhaps the best way to get rid of dust mites. These insects cannot stand the high heat levels of steam, which will kill the entire infestation.
Personally, I’m a big fan of the Bissell Steamshot because it is handy to use. You can check it out on Amazon.
Having repeated allergic attacks is a sign that your home is probably under a dust mite infestation. Try to see the doctor as soon as possible and clean your entire home, either with professional fumigators or a thorough dusting and cleaning.
If you have small groups of white bugs on your plants that look like cotton masses, the chances are your plants are going through a mealybug infestation.
Mealybugs are plant bugs that hatch around June and are active for the rest of the year. The weather also plays a role in causing mealybug infestations.
How do you recognize mealybugs?
They usually measure around one-fifth of an inch and have an oval body with a waxy coating.
They also exist in clusters and look like small mounds of cotton on your plants.
Mealybugs are not threatening to humans, but they will damage your garden. If you already have helper insects like centipedes, these will eat the mealybugs.
But if you don’t, or if the infestation keeps growing, spraying soapy water is an effective way to get rid of them.
You could also cut the branches that have mealybugs on them to prevent their spread to other plants. Thankfully, mealybugs die automatically as soon as summer sets in due to rising temperatures. (Source)
Another type of plant bug, whiteflies, are pesky insects that grow best in warm weather.
They draw out the sap from flowering and vegetable plants and leave behind honeydew on the branches.
The distinctive marker of whiteflies is that they have wings attached to a small white oblong body. You will probably see them flying around flowers or vegetables in the summer months.
Whiteflies are not dangerous to people, but you would not want them in your garden.
How do you get rid of them?
Fill up a bottle with soapy water and spray it onto the infected plant’s leaves. Make sure that you don’t spray the soil.
Also, remember that using insecticides will cause more harm than good because they will kill even the helper insects such as dragonflies and centipedes.
5. Grain Mites
Also known as mold mites, these insects attack homes that are damp and have more moisture. A wet environment causes fungus formation on the walls, and mold mites eat these fungi.
Grain mites are translucent and look like a speck of dust, or a grain of rice. They are challenging to spot unless you look carefully through a magnifying glass.
These insects are not particularly dangerous to humans, but they infect grains and set up their homes inside electrical appliances.
Unfortunately, getting rid of mold mites is not that easy. No spray or medicine will remove them from your home.
The only way to remove them permanently is to get rid of the mold and fungus in your home.
You can remove molds with a mold remover spray and then install a dehumidifier to bring down the dampness inside the house.
6. Woolly Aphids
Aphids are generally outdoor insects but can be pretty annoying and get stuck in your hair and clothes. They are tiny white bugs that look like lint and produce a pale wax, one of the early signs of an infestation.
Woolly aphids usually attack hackberry trees, but they don’t cause any long-term damage. There are no insecticides that specifically work on wooly aphid infestation, so the best way to get rid of them is to cut off the affected branches and leaves.
Thankfully, these lint-like creatures are not harmful to humans, and they don’t bite. But if left unchecked, they can create mold on your plants. (Source)