Tiny black bugs by kitchen sink

Asked January 16, 2021, 10:27 AM EST

These tiny black bugs live in a group around our kitchen sink. Unfortunately our kitchen counter is mottled so I only see them when are are disturbed and move en masse. They don't seem to jump or fly when disturbed, but scurry. How far could they have spread? Our food is distributed in many cupboards in different parts of the room, not one big pantry.

I have looked at cigarette and drugstore beetles, but those seem lighter in color. What are they and how can I get rid of them?

Multnomah County Oregon

1 Response

The small creatures appear to be springtails, common nuisance pests where it's excessively moist. Fortunately or not, springtails feed on fungi, algae, and/or decaying vegetation.

Thus, the key to getting rid of springtails indoors requires a bit of detective work followed by eliminating the reason for the moisture.

If the springtails are only on the kitchen counter, begin by directing a fan at the area while you search for the moisture source. To effectively dry out the area, and the springtails, run the fan for 24 hours daily.

Indoors, high-moisture areas in kitchens such as around or near the sink are the first places to investigate, especially the back-splash and the surrounding counter

If not there, other moisture sources include these:
- In and around plumbing, especially connection points.
- Outdoor plantings or firewood within 12 inches and/or resting against the exterior wall.
- Mulch or leafy debris against the base of the exterior wall.
- On occasion, outdoor populations build-up from continuing rainy weather such as we've had recently. Then, springtails can markedly increase their outdoor populations and migrate indoors via cracks and crevices around doors, windows, and gaps where utilities enter the structure..

If all else fails, consider hiring a pest control company.