When severely infested by bugs, your home can become a display house of bugs in the unlikeliest places.
The walls and ceilings of your home are the two unlikely places where you start noticing bugs.
So, what are these bugs?
This guide reveals 11 tiny bugs on walls and ceilings, which can be both a nuisance and a sign of a massive home-damaging infestation.
Some of these bugs are microscopic, some bite, and visible only if you’re too close to the wall.
This guide will also reveal how you can locate the source of these bugs in your home and eliminate them from their source, step by step.
It also has hacks and information to secure your home from future infestation by these critters.
And a lot more. Keep reading.
4 Reasons Bugs Infest Walls And Ceilings
Before we get into the tiny bugs on walls and ceilings, you must know why bugs appear in these places.
That will help you identify these bugs and ensure that your walls and ceiling don’t become a perfect home for these bugs.
Here are the four reasons bugs show up on walls and ceilings –
- Bugs are living in the walls and ceilings
- The walls and ceilings have too much moisture
- The bug infestation is heavy
- There is a food source on the walls and ceilings for these bugs
Let’s get into each of them briefly.
There Are Bugs Living In The Walls And Ceilings
It’s no surprise that walls and ceilings can be a home for many bugs. Rodents, too, can hide in them.
When walls develop cracks and fissures, bugs will sneak inside them.
The bugs will multiply inside the gaps in the walls and ceilings. The larvae of these bugs can venture out from these gaps.
That’s when you’ll notice tiny crawlies on the walls and ceilings.
The Walls And Ceilings Have Too Much Of Moisture
Walls and ceilings absorb moisture. Over time, the humidity damages them, causing cracks to appear.
It happens when there’s severe water leakage inside the home. Or the walls and ceilings are old, and they soak all the rainwater.
That leads to the walls and ceiling surfaces peeling off, leading to cracks.
It also causes chunks of moist areas on the wall, which slowly spreads all over your house.
Later in the post, you’ll learn how and why damp walls and ceilings attract bugs.
But for now, keep in mind that a moist wall is prime real estate for many bugs to hide and breed.
The Bug Infestation Is Heavy
The third reason for tiny bugs on walls and ceilings is scary.
Certain bugs that become visible on the walls and ceilings can be biting, blood-sucking, and home-damaging bugs.
And they can also show up on the drywalls or your favorite sheetrock wall.
These bugs can be hard to eliminate without professional help unless you catch hold of them at the early stages of the infestation.
So, when there’s a severe bug infestation in your home, bugs will appear on the walls and ceilings.
Their numbers shoot up. And when that happens, they run out of hiding places.
That causes them to venture out on the walls and ceilings, looking for alternative hiding places.
You’ll notice these bugs even in electrical sockets and plugs.
There’s A Food Source On The Wall And Ceiling
Some bugs scavenge on the walls and ceilings, looking for food.
Some feed on the molds and fungi that form on damp walls. And one of the bugs also scavenges for cobwebs that house spiders build on the ceilings.
That’s why you must clean the walls and ceilings while cleaning your home.
It keeps these peculiar bugs away.
11 Tiny Bugs On Walls And Ceilings – Revealed
Here are the most common tiny bugs on walls and ceilings –
- Booklice or Psocids
- Mold mites
- Plaster bagworms and Casebearers
- Bed worms
- Carpet beetle larvae
- Bed bugs
- Dust mites
- Fruit flies
These bugs show up on your walls for various reasons. And what are those reasons?
Let’s get into the reasons specific to each bug on the list.
#1 – Booklice or Psocids On Walls And Ceilings
Booklice or psocids are tiny moisture bugs that grow only up to 0.5 mm or 1mm. They’re translucent gray, brown, or whitish black.
Booklice look like tiny black bugs on the walls, windows, and ceilings from a distance.
But if you look closely at them, they may resemble lice. But they are not.
These tiny insects infest anything and everything that develops molds or fungi.
So, booklice are common on damp walls, ceilings, furniture, and books, and they can even infest stored food.
The peak season for booklice is summer, especially in states with high humidity.
Booklice can be hard to detect from a distance. You’ll see these tiny bugs crawling on the wall on moving closer.
They’ll target those regions on the walls that have developed molds and has a lot of dampness.
Booklice don’t bite or harm humans. But their numbers shoot up fast if you don’t eliminate them.
#2 – Mold Mites On Walls
Like booklice, mold mites also feed on molds and fungi that form on damp surfaces.
Mold mites infest precisely those things that booklice do.
However, they’re tinier than booklice. They’re borderline microscopic bugs, so they can be hard to detect with the naked eye.
They infest the portion of the wall, furniture, paper products, stored food, and even shoes and fabric that has developed molds.
And unless you get rid of the molds, you can’t get rid of the mold mites. Over time, mold mites spread as the molds spread.
Under a microscope or strong magnifying glass, mold mites look like a white, soft-bodied translucent clear bugs with hairy bristles on their bodies.
Some of them are shiny white and these mites can glitter under direct light.
The hairy bristles are receptors that play a role in detecting their food source or other mold mites.
Mold mites spread fast if you don’t remove the molds and address the dampness issues in your home.
Mold mites are harmless to humans. But the hairy bristles on their bodies can cause allergic reactions in many people.
#3 – Termites
We’re talking about the most damaging bug that your walls and ceilings can ever have.
It’s the termites.
It’s not just the wooden walls and ceilings that termites damage. They’re a serious threat to brick-and-mortar walls too.
Termites in walls are common when subterranean termites invade your homes.
Subterranean termites invade homes from underground by building mud tubes or tunnels on the surface they’re infesting.
That’s why furniture and walls can have veins on their surfaces if there are termites.
The mud tubes one the walls is a telltale signs of termites in walls.
There’s another species of termite that infest wooden walls, ceilings, joists, and beams. It’s the drywood termites.
Drywood termites enter homes in swarms when they’re in the reproductive stage.
And they’re the biggest threat to the structural integrity of your home.
It’s because they can attack the joists and beams that hold your home and the home’s ceiling too.
One of the most bizarre sign of drywood termite in homes is termite droppings falling from the ceiling.
The subterranean termites will look brownish-white on the abdomen and have a big brownish head with visible mandibles.
However, the drywood termites, which are very hard to detect, will look like tiny white ants.
These drywood termites appear as tiny white bugs on your home’s drywalls or sheetrock, wooden baseboards, walls, doors, structural lumber, ceiling, and window sills.
Termites can even consume and damage books because, like wood, paper also contain cellulose which is an integral part of termites’ nutrition.
They pop out from the holes they create on them. And there’s also termite dust underneath the holes on the floor.
Termites are hardy pests. They are not easy to get rid of, as many people think.
DIY ways always fail to eliminate a massive termite infestation in your home.
So, if there’s a termite infestation in your home, then it’ll be best to hire a pest controller to do the job.
#4 – Plaster Bagworms And Casebearers
Plaster bagworms and casebearers fall under dust worms on the walls and ceilings.
Plaster bagworms or casebearers are tiny greyish-white bugs that you might have noticed crawling on the walls and ceilings of your home.
They drag a cocoon-like case on their abdomen, which resembles a shell they can withdraw into.
The bagworms and casebearers are the larval stages of the Indian meal moths.
Indian meal moths are pantry pests that fly into your home to lay their eggs on the stored food in your kitchen pantry.
When the larvae hatch out of the eggs, they’ll spin a cocoon into which they’ll lock themselves before they mature out of it as an adult.
While foraging for food, the bagworm or the household casebearer will drag the cocoon.
The cocoon also acts like a shield protecting the moth larvae from potential predators like ants.
Many casebearers reinforce the cocoon with the help of tiny twigs, leaves, and even household wastes.
These dust worms scavenge for food on the walls and ceilings. The thing that they look for to eat is spider cobwebs.
They’ll also feed on the carcasses of dead insects and even on human hair and nails.
Bagworms are a threat to wool and silk fabrics. They’ll chew on the carpets and clothes made of these two animal products.
The keratin in the fabrics made from animal products forms an integral part of their nutrition.
Bagworms will cause damage to these expensive fabrics in the form of chewed-up holes, which can be hard to repair.
However, bagworms don’t damage polyester, nylon, and cotton fabrics.
Don’t get scared of them if you see the bagworms or the household casebearers. They’re harmless and don’t bite humans.
#5 – Bed Worms On Walls
Bed worms is the collective name given to the larvae of bugs that infest beds and, in some cases, couches too.
The carpet beetle larvae, the cloth moth larvae, and flea larvae fall under the category of bed worms.
Bed worms primarily feed on the food stains, food crumbs, and broken hair on the bed.
They’re not harmful to humans, but they can cause damage to the bedsheets by chewing upon the stained area.
When their numbers shoot up, these bed worms can venture out on the walls.
That’s why it’s pretty common to see these wormy creatures crawling on the walls when there are too many.
#6 – Carpet Beetle Larvae On Walls
Despite being one of the bed worms, the carpet beetle larvae needed a special mention.
Your home’s walls can be the source of the carpet beetles’ larvae.
Adult carpet beetles invade homes to lay eggs inside your home.
They target things made of animal products because the larvae feed on wool, leather, and silk materials.
They can also target stored food in your kitchen pantry and pet food.
That’s why the carpet beetle larvae are also one of the nuisance pantry pests.
But there’s a catch.
Adult carpet beetles can lay eggs in your home’s walls, ceilings, and places like the attic, basement, and garage.
The cracks in the walls and ceilings can have carcasses of bugs.
The adult carpet beetles will lay eggs on the carcasses so that the larvae from the egg will have a reliable food source.
The carpet beetle larvae will eat the dead bugs inside the wall cavities. When they finish the dead bugs off, the larva will look for other food sources.
You see them crawling on the walls and even on ceilings.
The carpet beetle larvae are blackish or brownish-yellow, oval, and have hairy bristles on their bodies.
If you see a carpet beetle larva on your home’s walls and ceilings, it’s sure that the larva has emerged out of a crack on the wall.
And the wall had dead bugs too.
#7 – Maggots On Walls
Maggots are tiny white, legless worms that are larvae of flies.
Over time, crevices that develop on damp walls become the perfect egg-laying grounds for these flies.
Damp walls and ceilings can draw flies like cluster flies and fruit flies, and drain flies. Why?
It’s because of the high moisture levels in the walls.
And high moisture levels can also lead to the development of mold, gunk, and fungi on the walls, which the larvae eat.
That’s why you see maggots on the ceiling and the walls because they ventured out of the cracks to feed on the molds that develop on damp walls.
That’s one of the reasons you see tiny whitish worms on your bathroom floor and on the shower grouts.
The larvae feed on the wastes that get stuck on the cracks that develop on the shower grouts.
#8- Bed Bugs On Walls
Now you’re getting into the bloodsuckers and biters category.
And the most notorious of them is bed bugs.
Bed bugs can crawl on the walls too. But under one condition.
And the condition is that the bed bug infestation has become too severe.
They’re now moving out of your bed and looking for other hiding places.
That’s what happens when bed bug numbers increase.
Bed bugs on walls are a terrible sign and demand professional intervention at the earliest.
You’ll notice bed bugs even trying to sneak inside the gaps between the wall cavities and electrical outlets.
So, if you’re noticing bed bugs on the walls, do not think it over. Call a pest controller asap.
#9 – Fleas On Walls
The case for fleas on walls is the same as with bed bugs.
Their numbers have shot up, so you notice them hopping around on the wall.
They won’t reach till your ceiling. But seeing fleas on the walls is also a bad sign.
And sightings of fleas on the walls are mostly in your bedroom.
In your bedroom, fleas infest your bed and get their blood meals from you.
When their numbers are low, it’s hard to detect them because they’re also tiny.
Also, on a white bedsheet, fleas easily camouflage.
Some fleas can also drop off from your pets’ bodies and hop onto the walls.
We always recommend checking your pet first if you’ve got fleas in your home.
You can get rid of fleas on your own by treating your pet first for fleas.
And then with steam cleaning your bed, mattresses, carpets, and thoroughly cleaning your home.
The heat from the steam cleaner kills nastiest of bugs like bed bugs, fleas, their larvae, and even destroys their eggs.
#10- Dust Mites On Walls And Ceilings
One of the most nuisance bugs that you can have on your home’s walls and ceilings is dust mites.
Dust mites are one of the tiny white bugs that look like dust, and their presence in the home can be very annoying.
Dust mites appear in homes out of nowhere in the spring and summer.
They are microscopic. But when dust mites’ numbers increase, they become apparent in chunks of white clusters on walls, couches, tapestries and curtains, beds, and even on the furniture and floor.
Dust mites are harmful to your health.
They trigger allergic attacks even in healthy people. Not to mention, they cause allergies in sensitive people like children and the elderly.
For people with asthma, dust mites can be even more dangerous
The hairy bristles on their bodies trigger allergic attacks and cause serious discomfort to asthmatic patients, causing breathing problems.
Dust mites also bite humans. They feed on the dead and dry skin cells on the human skin.
The hairy bristles on their bodies and the mouth part they insert into the skin to liquefy and consume the dry skin cause red welts and itching.
#11 – Tiny Flies Like Fruit Flies And Drain Flies On Walls And Ceilings
And finally, tiny flies like drain flies, fruit flies, and fungus gnats.
Damp walls, choked drains, and too much waste in your home and property are three of the most pressing reasons these flies are in your home.
Some flies will lay eggs on the walls, crevices that will lead to the appearance of maggots on the walls and ceilings.
To get rid of these, you can spray an insecticide spray for flies.
But maintaining cleanliness in your home and kitchen, keeping the drains unclogged, and reducing the dampness in your home by fixing water leakages are also vital.
How To Get Rid Of Tiny Bugs On Walls And Ceilings – Methods That Work
You know that different types of bugs can appear on walls and ceilings.
Hence, a single direct method won’t work because many bugs need different treatments.
However, below is the step-by-step guide to eliminating these tiny bugs on walls and ceilings with links to resources (wherever needed) for removing a specific bug.
Step#1 – Repair The Damage Walls And Ceilings
Damaged walls with cracks are the home for many little bugs on the walls and ceilings.
The first step to getting rid of these bugs is to ensure you deny them their coveted hiding places in your home’s walls and ceilings.
So, repair the damaged walls and ceilings.
Also, check out your home’s exterior walls. If they’re damaged and soaking rainwater, the water will eventually cause dampness in the home’s interior walls.
If the walls and ceilings need a complete revamp, then it’ll be in your home’s best interest that you do it.
It’s because weak and severely damaged walls are not just home to bugs, but also rats and mice.
Pro Tip: After fixing the walls and ceilings, clean them with a mixture of soap and water. Soapy water will clean the wall and kill bugs like booklice, fleas, and dust worms on the wall.
Step#2 – Repair Leaking Pipes And Control The Dampness In Your Home
Most walls in homes get damaged because of excessive moisture.
And leaky pipes running close to walls and around the home’s foundation will cause the walls to get damp.
Pipes leaking in the plumbing area underneath sinks in the bathroom, laundry room, kitchen, garage, and basement will also damage the walls.
So, fix any leaking pipes in these areas.
Change them if the pipes have become too old, corroded, and need replacement.
Also, ensure that the drainage system in your home is working well. There’s no clogging in the drains either.
Clogged drains become a breeding ground for flies like drain flies.
Step#3 – Do A Thorough Cleaning Of Your Home
After you have repaired the damage to the walls and ceilings and fixed the dampness problem in your home, it’s time to thoroughly clean your home, including your kitchen.
Vacuum clean your home’s furnishings like beds, carpets, rugs, and couches.
These soft furnishings can be homes to many bugs on the list, including dust mites.
Clean your furniture too. If there are molds on them, then use a mold remover to get rid of the molds on the hard surfaces.
Don’t use bleach on furniture to remove the molds as bleach is corrosive. It’ll damage the furniture.
On top of cleaning your kitchen, including your kitchen pantry and kitchen cabinets, thoroughly, ensure that you use tough food storage jars and containers.
And tightly close the jars while keeping them in the food pantry.
The carpet beetles, Indian meal moths, and many pantry pests, including rodents and roaches, can chew through the thin surfaces of weak storage containers to reach the stored food.
That’s why stored grains like rice, cereals, lentils, and even flour are at the risk of pantry pest infestation if the storage containers are weak.
So, to deny these pests from damaging your stored food, you must use strong food storage jars.
Also, ensure that the kitchen trash bins don’t hold trash overnight.
The garbage in the kitchen, especially the food waste, draws flies. These flies lay eggs in the trash bins, which leads to the formation of maggots.
Step#4 – Install Bug Zappers In Doorways, Patio Decks, And In Your Yard
Installing bug zappers to prevent tiny bugs on walls and ceilings may sound so out of context.
But it’s vital.
Bug zappers will prevent the moths and beetles from flying inside your home through the open doors and windows to lay eggs in your home.
The zappers will lure these flying bugs and electrocute them.
That’ll significantly reduce the chances of seeing bagworms, bed worms, and carpet beetle larvae on your home’s walls.
You’ll notice small flying bugs on the windows trying to sneak inside your home during the spring and summer season.
To stop them from entering, install window screens with fine mesh.
Step#5 – Use Bug Repelling Light Bulbs In Your Outdoor Section
Lights draw many bugs from the list of bugs in this guide. After the sunset, moths and flying beetles follow the light and try to reach the light source.
That can cause them to enter your home too.
The best way to deal with this problem is to install bug-repelling light bulbs in your outdoor area.
These bug-repelling light bulbs help a lot if you’ve got a swimming pool on your property.
Lights in the outdoor section draw many swimming pool bugs.
Bug-repelling light bulbs and bug zappers come in handy to stop them from getting into your pool.
Step#6 – Use Essential Oil Sprays And A Dehumidifier
Essential oil sprays, especially peppermint spray, are excellent bug repellents.
Bugs and flies hate the strong smell of peppermint.
Spraying it on all the areas of your home, including the walls, will do a great job of keeping these wall bugs away.
However, if you live in a hot and humid place, installing a dehumidifier in your home will be best.
A dehumidifier will reduce the moisture levels in your home’s air and make your home less appealing to bugs.
Step#7 – Call A Pest Controller
For most of the bugs in the list, the above five steps will be good enough to get rid of them.
But you’ll need a pest controller if you see termites, bed bugs, and fleas on the walls and ceilings.
These bugs are impossible to eliminate by solely relying on DIY ways.
And delaying professional help can be expensive, especially when you’ve got a bed bug or termite infestation.
These bugs multiply at a skyrocketing speed.
And termites will indeed cause a lot of damage to your home’s walls, ceiling, and even to the structural lumber of your home.
This guide revealed 11 tiny bugs on walls and ceilings common in homes with high dampness.
Out of these bugs, termites and bed bugs are the most serious ones. You’ll need a pest controller to get rid of them.
However, you can use the steps laid out in the post for the rest of the bugs to get rid of them.
To know more about moisture bugs, read our comprehensive guide on tiny moisture bugs.
We’re Mark and Jim. We were serial pest killers for almost all of our lives. Through this blog we spread pest murdering tips to people like you who want to keep their homes pest free.