14 Tiny White Bugs That Look Like Dust And Lint

You can find tiny white bugs that look like dust or lint in your home or on your clothes.

These bugs are sometimes difficult to see as they are so small and often confused with dust.

Identifying them correctly is important as many pose health risks.

Some tiny white bugs trigger allergies while others are fed on various items in your house, such as books.

White bugs that look like dust particles are also known to bite. Furthermore, they can bite repeatedly.

Many believe just these bugs are friendly due to their reduced size and friendly white appearance.

Some tiny white bugs are even known to cause diseases or structural damage to homes.

Small white bugs can be found outdoors and indoors. Species that live indoors develop in high moisture and mold-rich environments in most cases.

Species that live outdoors feed on plant or tree sap.

Some tiny white bugs that live outdoors can make their way indoors through cracks, openings, or whenever you move potted plants indoors at the end of the summer.

Here are the most common tiny white bugs that look like dust or lint you can find in your house.

1. Mealybugs – Common Tiny White Bugs in House


Mealybugs are some of the tiniest white bugs that resemble dust or lint.

They are so small they often go unnoticed. They grow up to 1.5 inches and they are normally seen in gardens where they live on plants.

Mealybugs are frequently seen in clusters.

These clusters might be difficult to correctly identify as they simply form one large clump that seems like fuzzy cotton or part of the plant.

Mealybugs can get in homes on clothes or with plants and flowers.

One of the easiest methods of getting mealybugs in your home is by carrying them on your clothes.

Visiting greenhouses can come with a few mealybugs on clothes, as these bugs love indoor plants.

They don’t cause any damage to your home except for plants and they don’t bite either.

Mealybugs are most likely to enter your home at the beginning of the summer when their season starts and in mid-summer.

These tiny white bugs don’t like very high temperatures so they prefer to seek shelter indoors.

Mealybugs have a small size which makes them vulnerable to predators.

Ladybugs and lacewings are the most common mealybugs predators.

Insecticide and soap plus water are mostly used to control mealybugs both indoors and outdoors.

2. Whiteflies – Tiny White Bugs That Fly


Whiteflies are some of the most dangerous tiny white bugs that look like lint. They are known to bite people.

Whiteflies can bite people numerous times which makes them a dangerous species to have inside the house.

While the bite isn’t poisonous, whiteflies have a bite that’s more painful than mosquito bites.

All of these bites can lead to irritated skin, red skin, rashes, and even more severe reactions in people with allergies.

Whiteflies are difficult to spot in the garden or in greenhouses, which makes them easy to pick up with clothes.

These bugs feed on the underside of plant leaves which means they aren’t immediately visible.

Known for their oblong shapes, these flies are also among the species that can fly.

Apart from biting, whiteflies can also kill plants.

They feed on the sap of various plants and flowers around the house or in the garden.

Whiteflies excrete honeydew similarly to aphids and other plant bugs. This honeydew is damaging to plants as it hinders photosynthesis.

Bugs of the genus are also known for injecting saliva into plant leaves.

This saliva also hurts plants.

The insecticide is rarely used on plants against whiteflies as it also has a detrimental effect.

Soap and water can be sprayed on houseplants affected by whiteflies.

3. Dust mites

House dust mites

Dust mites are some of the smallest white bugs that look like lint. They may resemble spiders, but they live in different habitats.

Dust mites thrive in homes with high humidity.

They feed on the skin cells of humans which means they like living indoors.

Dust mites are also known to bite, which is a sign of trouble when they invade homes.

One of the biggest health concerns when it comes to dust mites is that they cause respiratory problems. 

Dust mites are known to be the trigger for asthma attacks.

Their feces are known to trigger some of the worst respiratory allergies from all-white bugs.

Dust mites also molt and their molted skin is inhaled by humans in another respiratory allergy trigger.

Fine mesh window screens are recommended to keep white bugs such as dust mites out.

Frequent home vacuuming is also recommended, especially since these bugs aren’t easy to see.

It has also been shown that maintaining indoor air quality and reducing humidity helps prevent quick dust mite spreading.

4. Mold mites

Mold mites

Mold mites aren’t generally harmful to humans but they can cause allergic reactions.

It’s both molds mites themselves and the mold they eat that are known to cause various allergic reactions.

People can get rid of both mold and mold mites by controlling air quality and humidity levels inside the house.

Mold only grows in humid air which means fixing water leaks or improving ventilation can fix the mold-growth problem inside the house.

Mold mites are very small to the extent that it can be difficult to see one. 

Clusters of mold mites are easier to spot.

Known for their translucent bodies, mold mites are among the most non-resilient tiny bugs in the house.

They tend to go away whenever mold is removed from walls, floors, furniture, or stored clothes.

Mold mites can’t get in the house by accident as whiteflies.

These bugs only live in homes with mold and mildew.

Using a dehumidifier can be one of the simplest solutions to control mold and mold mites.

5. White Spider Mites

Spider mites on a lemon tree

White spider mites get their name from their 8 legs which resemble the legs of spiders.

These are some of the mites that come in different colors, including a common translucent white color.

Small and barely visible, white mites are mostly seen on plants in the spring.

They invade gardens to feed on plants and they can even kill plants in case of serious invasions.

White spider mites are often confused with dust particles on indoor plants.

Regularly taking care of the plants and flowers around the house is the best preventive measure against white spider mites.

You can water your plants regularly to get rid of these bugs.

Alternatively, you can consider specific sprayers against plant bites and wood mites to eliminate more serious invasions.

6. Termites – Tiny White Bugs On Wood


Worker termites can be white or have a cream color. Seeing these bugs in your house is a considerable problem as termites cause structural damage.

Termites eat wood creating structural home problems.

Various species of termites come in various sizes. Worker termites regularly measure 1/8 or ¼ inches and they can invade a home in their thousands.

Most termites are seen outside wood as they dig galleries in damp wood.

You can see holes in wood, which signals their presence.

Replacing damaged wood parts is one of the few concrete actions taken against termites.

Preventive measures include eliminating damp wood problems by stopping water leaks and high indoor humidity.

Drywood termites are types of partially white termites that don’t nest in dampwood. They can live in dry pieces of wood as their name implies.

These types of termites are very difficult to keep away from the house.

Homes don’t need to suffer from water leaks or decaying wood for drywood termites to invade.

These termites can sometimes be kept away by storing all pieces of wood and firewood around the house further from the home.

Scrap wood, old furniture, and dry firewood need to be stored further into the backyard as these tend to attract species such as drywood termites.

7. Booklice – Tiny White Bugs in Bathroom


Booklice are almost completely white or tan and grow up to 1mm.

These slightly transparent bugs are very small but may still be seen around the house.

As their name implies, these bugs are known for eating and damaging books as well as other stored goods.

Booklice can develop in clean homes, but these bugs require humidity.

One of the common ways to get rid of booklice includes using a dehumidifier.

These bugs are also known for dying when the temperature drops below the freezing line.

One of the methods used to control booklice is to open doors and windows in the winter so that the air in the house is below the freezing point for at least 1 hour.

These bugs can appear in a short period in a house with high humidity or considerable mold growth.

There are no warning signs of a booklice invasion as they simply appear where mold grows.

8. Woolly Aphids – Tiny Bugs That Look Like Dust

Woolly Aphids

Wooly aphids are small white bugs that drink plant sap. These white bugs can be as small as 1mm and they can be barely visible on their own. 

Wooly aphids are only visible when feeding in groups, as they tend to stick together in clusters.

These aphids are found on the underside of leaves where they are protected from predators.

Ladybugs are one of the most common predators of wooly aphids, just as with regular aphids.

Getting rid of all of these small woolly aphids isn’t complicated. 

There are few applicable pesticides specifically made for wooly aphids. 

Water plants with a powerful water jet are generally accepted as a means to control wooly aphids.

Wooly aphids can contribute to significant damage to the garden and various crops.

These types of tiny white bugs are tied to a single type of plant or flower which means they only feed on one species.

9. Body Lice – Tiny White Bugs On Skin That Bite

Body Lice

Body lice are one of the most problematic types of tiny bugs as they feed on human blood.

These bugs have a tan or off-white color and they can be as small as a sunflower seed.

Lice of this genus are similar to hair lice, which live on the head of the host.

Body lice live on the skin of the host as they drink blood from almost all parts of the body.

There are many reasons to avoid body lice and to take a quick shower whenever seeing one on yourself.

Body lice create skin infections whenever they bite people as a complication.

Skin conditions caused by body lice are wider and often go outside the area of infections.

For example, body lice bites can cause changes in skin texture. Your sink can feel thicker or less elastic in the area of the bite even without a skin infection.

Most importantly, these blood-sucking insects are also known for their role in spreading diseases.

Fever is one of the most common symptoms whenever bitten by body lice with typhus.

Body lice are prevalent in people who do not bathe or take a shower frequently. 

Homeless people or those living in war conditions without a means to keep themselves clean often carry body lice.

An important distinction needs to be made when it comes to the prevention of body lice.

Even the cleanest home can be a place where you see body lice as these bugs quickly move hosts.

Avoiding contact with a person that has body lice is one of the best preventive methods.

Those with body lice first need to take a good shower to eliminate these bugs.

10. Springtails – Tiny White Bugs That Jump


Springtails are mostly brown or black but a white sub-genus also exist.

These white bugs can grow to a size of around 1/8 inches and they grow and expand in homes with mold and high humidity.

Springtails don’t bite but they may be responsible for a wide range of respiratory allergies, together with the mold they feed on.

Springtails might be common in high humidity rooms where there are plans for them to feed on as well.

These bugs can also eat various plant roots.

You need to reduce humidity levels in your house so that you can eliminate them.

At the same time, springtails can be a sign of a more serious water leak problem in the house.

Hidden water leaks are one of the main causes of high humidity and mold growth.

Removing old damaged wood is necessary whenever trying to fix a water leak problem.

Mold tends to grow fast on wet decaying wood.

Reducing irrigation frequency is also recommended for those with gardens and flowers growing around the house.

Since springtails feed on various roots, they might reproduce in higher numbers whenever you water plants every day.

11. Pot worms

Pot worms

Pot worms are a species of slender white worms growing and thriving in moist compost. These types of worms are particularly common in potted plants outdoors.

Pot worms can also be found indoors as they come into the house with potted plants that have been left outside over the summer.

These worms are always present in compost but they start to grow and rapidly multiply whenever the pH or the natural state of the compost changes.

One of the easiest ways these changes are seen is by moist compost. Water your pots and garden too much will lead to pot worms if you use compost.

Organic matter also plays a considerable role in the multiplication of these white worms.

The more organic matter you add to soil the richer in nutrients it becomes.

This soil then turns into compost and this leads to the appearance and multiplication of pot worms.

These worms can make their way from the garden to potted plants and then into your house.

Potted plants bought from greenhouse sellers may also come with pot worms.

Worms of this genus are no direct threat to humans. They aren’t a threat to other species of worms either.

12. Clothes Moths – Small White Bugs in Bedroom

Clothes Moth

Clothes moths such as Tineola bisselliella are known to be part white or to have white caterpillar-stage coloring.

Clothes moths can grow up to 13mm and they can have similar length larvae. 

These moths are known to live in clothes and to feed on clothes fibers as their name implies.

Most clothes moths are found indoors. Old clothes or clothes that aren’t properly cleaned are among the most damaged items when it comes to clothes moth impact.

Dry cleaning is one of the main control methods. 

Exposing clothes to extreme temperatures is a proven method against clothes moths.

Freezing clothes used to be one of the most practical methods of killing clothes moths and their eggs on a particular clothing item.

Dry cleaning clothes is believed to be easier and benefits from the same effects.

Each piece of clothing needs to be drycleaned properly before being put in storage.

Brushing and even vacuuming old clothes is also recommended to avoid clothing moths.

Mothballs are sometimes used to eliminate clothes moths. Keeping clothes in airtight containers is required as mothballs are toxic.

Aerosols are another toxic but proven method against mothballs. Some aerosols with permethrin are used against clothes moths.

More natural solutions against tiny clothes moths include dry lavender.

Lavender bags are stored together with clothes to act as a deterrent.

13. Thrips


Thrips are some of the most damaging white and off-white tiny bugs you can find in your garden.

These bugs are sometimes as small as 1/25” and they might not be easily seen.

You may spot traces of thrips, such as blacked leaves on plants that are about to die.

Thrips feed on various vegetables such as beans, carrots, or onions. They can also make it indoors when you have potted plants inside the house.

Some thrips have also been shown to bite. They bite people mainly confusing them with leaves.

Bugs such as thrips are easily removed by using traps.

Sticky traps are sometimes placed around the garden next to vegetables to control thrips.

Pirate bugs, ladybugs, and lacewing are all types of predatory bugs you can buy and release to control thrips around your house.

14. White Scale Insects

Some white-scale insects look similar to small dust particles on plants and vegetables. These bugs are always seen in clusters which appear as if an entire plant is dusty.

Most white-scale insects seen around greenhouses and gardens only drink plant juice.

They have elongated mouthparts used as straws. White scale insects do not eat the plant as other types of bugs.

Cottony Cushion Scale

Cottony Cushion Scale

Native to Australia, Cottony Cushion Scales (Icerya purchasi) are now highly common in the US. These tiny bugs have a white fuzzy appearance in the case of females and a red body color in the case of males.

There are more female bugs and these are likelier to be seen in gardens, particularly those in Florida.

These bugs have a fuzzy appearance that makes them resemble small dust particles.

Cottony Cushion scales might appear fuzzy but they are known for their large impact on the production of citruses.

These scales almost exclusively feed on citruses which lead to various economic problems.

Stunted growth is one of the citrus problems the Cottony Cushion scale causes.

Even citrus fruits fall sooner on the ground which means farmers see considerable losses whenever the species invades.

True Cochineal Bug

True Cochineal bug

The adult male True Cochineal bug (Dactylopius coccus) is purely white. This type of bug is solely seen in the hottest areas of the US as they feed on cacti.

True Cochineal bugs are known for sucking the liquid parts of cactuses.

These bugs develop a waxy outer body as soon as they emerge from their nymph stage.

Bugs of the genus then move on to cactuses in groups.

True Cochineal bugs suck on the liquid parts of cacti using their sharp straw-like mouthparts.

Some nymphs of the True Cochineal bugs are also white. They also feature the same waxy fuzzy texture as the adult bug.

Both nymphs and adults can damage cactuses and even kill them.

Some cacti species have shown swelling in the area where these bugs live. The discoloration is also frequent on cactuses affected by the True Cochineal bug.

Cactuses can also die in extreme invasion situations.

Beech Scale – Tiny Bugs That Look Like Lint

Beech Scale

The Common Beech Scale or the Beech Scale (Cryptococcus fagisuga) is one of the white tiny bugs affecting trees in Europe and North America.

This genus of white bugs is mostly known for its negative impact on beech trees (Fagus grandifolia).

It settles in tree bark where it grows and starts to dig into the tree sucking its tree sap.

These dust-like small white bugs grow to a size between 0.5 and 1mm, which makes them very difficult to spot on their own when sitting on tree bark.

They can be seen when feeding in groups.

Acting quickly against these bugs is best.

Water is used to wash trees of these bugs. Left untreated, the tree will eventually die.


Many types of tiny white bugs resemble dust particles or lint on your clothes. These bugs have a very small size.

They might not even be visible to most people.

However, they cause serious damage to your health or your home.

As seen above, some of these bugs trigger allergic reactions. Feces of these bugs are inhaled and cause many respiratory allergies.

These bugs also molt and their exoskeletons are known for causing similar respiratory reactions.

Apart from their impact on human health, tiny white bugs that resemble dust also cause damage to plants and trees.

Plants can suffer from stunted growth or even die in case of an invasion.

Tiny white bugs that resemble dust particles never live on plants alone.

These bugs are always seen in groups which means their inflicted damage is considerably higher.

Bugs that are white and resemble dust or lint can get into your home by the following methods.

Growing and multiplying inside the house

Tiny white bugs such as those feeding on mold such as Mold mites grow indoors. They appear together with mold itself or as the mold starts to develop.

Many similar species of bugs are controlled by controlling and eliminating mold inside the house.

Migrating indoors from the garden

Other species of tiny white bugs migrate indoors from the garden.

Pot worms are one of the species that grow in damp soil that easily move indoors.

Wooly aphids also easily migrate indoors whenever there are potted plants to feed on.

Accidentally getting indoors from other sources

Accidentally getting potentially dangerous tiny white bugs that look like dust in your home is also possible.

Body lice are some of the most dangerous tiny white bugs you can accidentally introduce to your home.

Being in contact with a person that has body lice is one of the most common methods of infesting your car and home as well.

Some tiny white bugs don’t enter homes at all. They remain outdoors in their lifecycle.

Tiny white bugs that feed on cacti are known to live exclusively outdoors.

True Cochineal bugs are known to live outdoors in tropical and sub-tropical climates. These are ideal locations for these bugs to thrive and drink the sap of cacti.

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