What Are Small Clear White Bugs In The House?

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall

You may notice that your home has some unwanted guests in the winter. Small, clear, white bugs in the house will likely cause you some concern. You may be surprised to find out that these bugs are called wood mites.

Wood mites are common but knowing more about them can help you understand why they’re in your home. Some signs of wood mites are discolored plants and damaged wood. It’s essential to know what attracts these small, clear white bugs and understand where they live and how to avoid them. This information can help you prevent a major infestation.

Nobody wants bugs to be around their home, let alone inside them. Wood mites can be a nuisance inside and out, but even looking at your outdoor plants can tell you a lot. Knowing how they can affect your home or get inside can help you prevent a wood mite infestation.

What Are These Small, Clear, White Bugs in the House?

Wood mites, also known as white mites, fall into the category of spider mites. These tiny bugs are arachnids and infest and damage plants.

You can tell if you have full-grown adult mites because they can also develop black spots on their back. An adult wood mite is one-fiftieth of an inch long, translucent, white, and, like spiders, has eight legs.

Baby wood mites or larvae tend only to have six legs, and this stage can last for five days. An infestation is possible, especially if plants are close together or you bring them inside. Mites can lay about 20 per day in a lifespan of four weeks, which makes the population multiply.

Wood mites have legs that make it possible to cling onto anything. They can walk up and down a variety of surfaces. Therefore, when walking in the woods, they can cling to your clothing.

Wood mites love moisture; that is why plants are a perfect home to start their infestation. They also love bathrooms, crawlspaces, and any place with slight humidity. Though harmless, mites can definitely be annoying.

Source: Camo Wood Mite Damaeidae, Brenda Dobbs, CC BY-NC 2.0

Why Are Wood Mites in My House?

Wood mites look for warm, damp places and often come into your home via houseplants or small openings. In the spring, you usually buy new plants and bring them into your home, giving wood mites access to the inside. During the winter, when you bring plants in from the cold, you also will likely find some hitchhikers.

Wood mites are often on plants, and you can tell by looking for a yellow stem or leaves. The moisture from the plant and soil gives them the right atmosphere to reproduce. They can reproduce rapidly, which causes an infestation in your home.

Wood mites look for excess moisture, so you may find them under floorboards and within your cabinets. If you live in damp climates or have humidity, then wood mites are more common inside and out. Typically they are drawn into your home by weather, warmth and the ability to find a damp place to hide.

Mites love to hide in dust and debris, but their main food source is wet wood. Watch out for that because they will hide in baseboards, trim, and other tight areas.

What Attracts Wood Mites?

These small clear white bugs, wood mites, are in your yard or garden, but why? Wood mites like gardens, houseplants, and greenhouses due to access to plants and water. In addition to being brought in from a woodpile or on the Christmas tree, you can find them on a houseplant.

It may be a coincidence, but you may find wood mites quite prominent where snakes hang out. Snakes long for moisture, so wood mites and snakes are often found in a harmonious environment. You can bet if you have snakes, you have mites.

Your garden is the perfect breeding spot where their population could be undisturbed for some time. Also, you may find them on the wood of your deck, which has high moisture. High moisture attracts these wood mites along with a slew of other bugs.

Wet Wood

If you find wood mites inside, they likely came in on a plant, or you have damp wood. This could mean a leak or damp crawl space underneath that attracts the mites. They could also be on a wet woodpile close to your home.

How Do Wood Mites Get Into Your House?

As stated before, wood mites are tiny, about a fiftieth of an inch, smaller than your fingernails. They can come in through the smallest of cracks in your home. They are most attracted to your luscious houseplants.

Many people bring lovely spring flowers inside their homes or don’t forget the annual Christmas tree. These are gateways for wood mites to come into your home. You may not know it, but you have invited a possible small infestation into your house.

If you have a leak, basement, crawlspace, or woodpile close to your home, you can bet wood mites are near. They love the dark, moist areas and look for undisturbed places with dust and debris to lay eggs. In laying numerous eggs a day for their 4-week lifespan, an infestation happens quickly.

3 Signs You Have Wood Mites in Your Home

There are various things to look for if you spot small, clear, white bugs in the house. Along with the common signs mentioned above, you may notice more.

1. Silky Webs

Wood mites tend to leave behind threads on wood that resemble cobwebs. You will commonly find silky webs on plants, leaves, and trees. But they also tend to create their silk wherever they live.

If you see very fine webbing between boxes or in the corners, this is likely mites. You can tell the difference between spider webs and wood mites due to their location and structure. Spider webs typically have a well-organized structure and are strategically placed to help them hunt.

On the other hand, wood mite webs are typically used to wrap foliage or wrap their homes.

2. Small White Clusters

It’s often hard to spot mites with the naked eye, but that doesn’t mean you can’t see wood mites. When infestations grow in your home, you will see clusters of small white or tan spots moving around. These tiny spots are likely groups of wood mites moving together in clusters.

When the wood mites get to this stage, you may already have an infestation.

3. Allergies

This sign is the least likely, noticeable thing you may have, but getting sudden allergies may be a clue to wood mites. Mites tend to leave skin casings and small hairs on wood mites which can cause allergies. These skin casings and hairs can get disbursed into the air.

If you are experiencing allergies but can’t identify the source, you must inspect for pests.

How Can I Get Rid of Small, Clear, White Bugs in the House?

The most common way to get rid of mites is to make sure your home is clean and free of mold. Mold means moisture is common, so mites will not be far behind. So cleaning your home from top to bottom can give you an advantage in preventing them.

While cleaning, if you find webs or clusters, you can use a regular pesticide to get rid of mites. Using regular bug sprays and pesticides works well to get rid of mites, and so does soap and water. Having pesticides on hand when owning a home is always necessary.

Call a professional if the infestation is more significant than you thought or your cleaning did not produce the right result. A professional pest control company will know how to get rid of wood mites and possibly prevent them.

Can Wood Mites Live in a Deck?

The simple answer is yes; wood mites can live on a deck, especially a wet, wooden deck. Decks tend to be uncovered and have a lot of crevices. These notches are where water and moisture sit, and this helps the mites find a cozy place to settle.

Along with on top of your deck, under a deck is a desired place for mites to live. Since the sun doesn’t penetrate the deck, moisture sits under the structure of the deck. It is also very unlikely to be disturbed often, giving the mites a chance to reproduce and multiply.

Wooden decks can sometimes be the best choice for wood mites to infest.

Do Wood Mites Live on Your Skin?

No, wood mites can’t live on humans, let alone their skin. They are not ones to live on blood since dust, moist wood, and debris are their food of choice. Wood mites can only live on wood and plants in order to reproduce.

You can rest easy knowing they do not live on nor can jump on your skin. But their presence in your home can cause allergy problems for people sensitive to dust and particles.

Do Wood Mites Bite?

Wood mites don’t bite humans; they are harmless to everything but plants. Wood mites feed on and bite plants and wood, which gives them the nutrients they need. Certain mites do bite, but you’ll often find these types while on a hike or in tall grass.

Mites have a reputation for being creepy crawlers, but wood mites, to humans, are just a nuisance. They are not out for blood, just a moist place to reproduce.

Can Wood Mites Jump?

Wood mites might jump but are so tiny that you won’t be able to notice. While it is creepy to think about, they’re jumping is not noticeable and probably unintentional. Most of the time, you’d find them crawling together in their clusters.

Some people confuse fleas or termites with wood mites, so they think that wood mites can jump. This is just a fact that is not true, and mites are misidentified.

What Other Bugs Resemble Wood Mites?

Mites, though tiny, are often mislabeled and misidentified. There are various bugs identified as mites but have other characteristics. Certain bugs can be identified as pests but are far from the typical wood mite you see.

There is a small list that follows of bugs that might resemble mites. Therefore, do your research to find out if you truly have mites or another pest.

  • Fleas
  • Termites
  • Spider mites
  • Booklice
  • Hair lice
  • Weevils
  • Aphids

A Final Look at Those Small, Clear, White Bugs in the House

When it comes down to it, wood mites are a clear or white bug that is hard to see with the naked eye. They tend to live on household plants, wet or damp wood, and in gardens. They can reproduce quickly, making it easy for them to infest your home.

In knowing what to look for, from silky webs to white clusters, you can identify if you have wood mites. To make sure you get rid of them, pesticides and cleaning can be your best friend. But calling a professional can never do any harm and may prevent a future infestation.

Wood mites are harmless and do not bother humans except for killing common household plants. Be sure to look out for any common bug that may look like a mite. If you think you have mites, start by cleaning, or call a professional pest control for assistance.

Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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