Jumping bugs can be challenging to eliminate. They can quickly hop off the traps you set or escape the sprays.
Using elimination methods that cover large areas is the best way to eliminate these jumping.
In this guide, you’ll zero in on 17 tiny bugs that jump when you try to kill them or remove them from your property.
You’ll know where these bugs hide, what makes them jump, and how to ensure that you neutralize them completely to avoid any damages they may cause.
However, there’s a catch.
Not all the bugs in the list are jumpers. Some of them are fliers too.
But how they fly can trick you into thinking they jumped off.
17 Small Bugs That Jump
- Drain flies
- Fungus gnats
- Minute pirate bugs
- Biting midges
- Jumping spiders
- Hackberry psyllids
- Flea beetles
- Click beetles
All these bugs have a habit of jumping if they encounter a threat, hunt their prey, or if they want to travel from one point to another.
Let’s deep dive into each of these bugs to know more and to find out the methods to deal with them if there’s an infestation.
Fleas are tiny parasites that feed on your pets’ blood and make their lives miserable. Your pets get them either outdoors or from other infected pets.
Fleas have a vertical tear-drop body shape that is broad at the head but tapers down at the rear end.
That makes them excellent crawlers inside your pet’s fur. They’ve got six legs, and fleas use the first pair of legs to grab the skin of their host to bite and feed on their blood.
But fleas have a pair of strong hind legs that enables them to jump.
If you have ever tried to get hold of fleas on your pet’s skin with a pincher, you know that fleas escape by jumping off.
Jumping fleas are also visible when your pet transfers fleas to your bed.
Fleas jump when you try to get hold of or kill them.
Springtails are harmless jumping bugs common in yards and gardens during the late spring and summer.
Springtails feed on the decaying organic wastes, molds, and fungi that form on damp soil beds.
Springtails are also jumpers. They’ve got an organ known as furcula, which they tuck under their abdomen when resting.
When you try to poke or kill the springtails, they unroll the furcula. That unrolling pushes the springtail’s body against the surface, causing them to jump.
Springtails can enter homes through open doors and windows, especially when there’s vegetation touching the windows.
Springtails are moisture bugs. They’d target damp and moist places with high water usage to hide in your home.
That draws springtails to the bathroom and damp areas like the basement and laundry room.
Using a vacuum cleaner on them is the best way to eliminate springtails in bathrooms and other areas of your home.
They come in shades like gray, black, whitish, and yellowish. Species of jumping springtails common in colder regions are known as snow fleas.
But unlike fleas, snow fleas are not parasites. They’re harmless bugs, and they don’t bite.
Drain flies are tiny grayish-black flies that look like little moths. They’re also known as sewer flies because they breed in sewer wastes and choked drains.
Additionally, drain flies can also breed in rotting organic and food wastes.
Drain flies are fliers. But they’re not as strong fliers as other flies like fruit flies or your average house flies.
When you try to kill a drain fly, it appears as if it jumped. But it just flew off.
Drain flies are common in homes where there are a lot of waste problems. Choked drains, a breakage in wastewater disposal pipes, and rotting leaf litter become their breeding grounds.
Drain flies can also emerge out of the drains where they lay eggs. Adult drain flies will lay their eggs on the scum and sludge in the choked drains.
When the drain fly larvae mature into adults inside the sink drains, they come out of the drain holes.
And when they do, they appear as tiny black dots on kitchen and bathroom sinks.
Fungus gnats are tiny black flies that feed on the fungi and molds that form rotting organic wastes like compost piles, decaying mulch beds, and wet soil beds.
These little flies resemble mosquitoes. But fungus gnats are nuisance flies and don’t bite or sting.
Fungus gnats lay their eggs on wet soil beds because their larvae also feed on the fungi that form on them.
However, the fungus gnat larvae feed on the roots of seedlings and tiny ornamental plants.
That makes them risky to these plants. Over-infestation of fungus gnats in your garden can lead to the death of the tiny seedlings.
Fungus gnats can enter homes through open doors and windows by following the light source from your home. Yes, fungus gnats are tiny flies that are attracted to light.
Like the drain flies, fungus gnats are also weak fliers. They’ve got a zigzag flying pattern that doesn’t last long.
So, when you try to kill fungus gnats, they appear to jump.
Fungus gnats can be present in the soil beds of the potted plants of your home.
These flies become a nuisance in your home. And they’ll feed on the food waste in your kitchen trash bins.
Fungus gnats will also hover around the light bulbs in your bedroom even though there’s no food in your bedroom.
They’re also a nuisance around the faucets and kitchen drains, and they can even get inside the fridge, coffee makers, and dishwashers.
Epsom salt gets rid of fungus gnats. You can scatter some on your houseplants’ wet soil beds and your yard’s soil beds.
Using soapy water or a spray from mixing equal amounts of white vinegar and water also helps eliminate fungus gnats.
Use yellow sticky traps inside your home where you notice these flies the most. You can also keep a few on the soil beds in your houseplants.
Whiteflies are tiny white plant pests that hide on the undersides of the leaves. These pests feed on the plant sap and weaken the infected plant.
Whiteflies target the newly developed leaves on plants because those leaves are more tender than the old leaves.
Whiteflies are one of those tiny white bugs that look like dust or rice on plants.
They’ll gather in large numbers under the plants’ leaves and insert their sharp mouthparts inside the leaves’ veins to draw out the sap.
Whiteflies are common in summer. And their numbers quickly increase if you don’t eliminate them.
Too many whiteflies are harmful to plants. The leaves wither off, and whiteflies also hinder plant growth.
Whiteflies are weak fliers. And when you try to eliminate whiteflies from your plants, they jump.
Some of those whiteflies can also land on you and bite you. But those bites are probing bites just to check if you’re a plant or not.
And whiteflies don’t carry any pathogens or venom they’ll inject into you. Their bites will cause a slight pinch and discomfort for a few minutes.
Another tiny plant bug that jumps when you try to kill them is the aphid.
Aphids are little plant bugs with pear-shaped bodies that feed on the sap. These bugs are quite indiscriminate in choosing the plants to infect.
So, aphids can target any ornamental plants in your yard or garden.
These bugs are tiny. They grow anywhere between 1/16 – 1/10 inches. So, spotting them can be difficult when their numbers are low.
However, they breed very fast. And soon, aphids can take over all the plants in your garden.
When you use a spray on them or rattle the plant they infest, you’ll notice these bugs jump out of the plants.
Aphids are not fliers. But they’ve got strong legs that help them to jump and escape from any potential predators and danger.
Like most plant pests, aphids also thrive in warm and humid weather. Using soapy water spray on plants to get rid of them is the most reliable to deal with aphids.
However, these bugs will jump off the plant when you’re spraying. So, to kill aphids in plants, it’s essential to spray soapy water on all the plants nearby the infected plants.
Minute Pirate Bugs
Minute pirate bugs, also known as the insidious flower bugs, are tiny black bugs that jump when your try to kill them.
They grow up to 1/8 – 1/5 inches in size. They’re black and oval and have a pair of wings that rests on their backs when they’re stationary.
Their wing tips are white and have a yellowish patch on the center of their wing pads. A pair of antennae is also visible when they’re at rest.
These bugs are true bugs. It means they’ve got a strong beak-like mouth part which they’ll insert into the flowers to feed on the nectar and hunt harmful plant pests like whiteflies, spider mites, and aphids.
But, like most true bugs, the minute pirate bugs can also bite humans.
Minute pirate bugs bite humans during the fall and winter months when their preys disappear.
But those minute pirate bug bites are out of starvation. They just check whether the human they landed on is their food.
However, the bites from minute pirate bugs are itchy and can cause discomfort.
When you poke the minute pirate bugs, they’ll jump.
But you can easily squish minute pirate bugs because they’re slow to react.
Biting midges, all known as no-see-ums or punkies, are nasty biters. Their bites are painfully itchy.
And these bugs are common during the summer months, especially in the coastal areas.
Biting midges resemble tiny mosquitoes, but they aren’t mosquitoes. They don’t have a beak or proboscis that mosquitoes use to insert into your skin to draw blood.
They’ve got sharp blade-like mouthparts that they use to rip open your skin and to feed on your blood.
Biting midges are black. They’ve got transparent wings with dark spots on them. Their size is between 1mm and 3 mm.
Without bloodmeals biting, midges look like tiny black specks on the skin. And they can be hard to spot when they’re biting you.
So, they’re one of those bugs that bites you but you can’t see them when they do.
After the bloodmeals, they bloat and become reddish from the belly side.
Post bloodmeals, biting midges appear as tiny red spots on the skin.
Biting midges are also weak fliers. And they’ve got an erratic flight pattern.
So, it appears like biting midges jump when you try to kill them or remove them off your skin.
Crickets also jump when you try to kill them. They’ve got strong hind legs, the longest legs on their bodies, which help them jump to escape predators and any potential danger.
Both field crickets and house crickets can jump up to three feet.
Spider crickets habitually jump on the thing that startles them or scares them. That’s why they can even jump on you if they get scared of you or if you try to kill them. It’s their weird way of defending themselves.
Crickets are nocturnal bugs. So, they chirp and become visible during the night. During the day, crickets will hide underneath rocks, inside garbage dumps, and between gaps.
Hiding during the day is also their way of protecting themselves from predators.
When you flip over a rock, and if there are crickets underneath, then you’ll notice that they jump off as soon as you remove the rock.
As their name suggests, jumping spiders jump to escape and hunt their prey.
Jumping spiders are small. The females grow up to ¾ inches, and the males are smaller than the females, growing only up to ½ inches.
Jumping spiders are primarily outdoor spiders. They’ll hide in the leaf litter, on the plant’s leaves, and underneath tree barks.
They can also hide in the firewood piles or the mulch beds.
Jumping spiders are beneficial bugs for your garden. They’ll hunt and eat harmful plant pests like aphids and mealy worms.
However, adverse weather conditions can make them sneak inside homes. Jumping spiders will look for a temperate place to hide when outdoor weather becomes too wet, cold, or hot.
Like all spiders, jumping spiders are also shy and avoid human contact. So, unlike crickets, they won’t jump on you when they encounter you.
Spiders inside a home tend to hide in places with low human footfall. So, if they’re inside your home, you won’t even realize that they’re there living with you.
Jumping spiders can bite, but only when you try to handle them.
However, their bites are not poisonous like the brown recluse spider or the black widow spider.
If a jumping spider bites you, you’ll feel a slight pinch.
Another bug with strong hind legs that help it to jump when you try to kill it is the hackberry psyllids.
Hackberry psyllids are aphid-like insects that are common pests in hackberry trees.
Hackberry psyllids are 3/16 inches in size and have a pair of light tan wings with dark black spots, a triangular body shape, and six legs.
Hackberry psyllids can jump land on you if you try to remove them from the plant or kill them.
They can deliver harmless probing bites on humans. But those bites are harmless.
Hackberry psyllids are also strong fliers. And they’re active starting from the summer months till late October.
Hackberry psyllids hide inside cracks and crevices to escape the cold of the winter months. However, they can come out on sunny days in the winter.
Flea beetles are tiny black, bluish, or dark brown beetles that are plant pests. These beetles feed on vegetable crops like spinach, radishes, broccoli, cabbage, turnips, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes.
Flea beetles damage plants in the form of tiny holes they create on the leaves. Excessive flea beetles on plants result in stunted and wilted plants.
They grow up to 1/16 – 1/8 inches in size. The spinach flea beetle can be a bit bigger, growing up to ¼ inches.
Like most plant pests, flea beetles are active during the warmer days of the year. Flea beetles will hide in leaf litter and inside the holes and cracks in trees, firewood, and walls.
Flea beetles have strong hind legs that they use for jumping to escape or if you disturb them. Flea beetles don’t bite humans, and they rarely enter homes unless they accidentally get inside.
Click beetles are long, narrow, and oblong-shaped beetles with a tapered rear end. These beetles are outdoor bugs on the soil beds or underneath tree barks.
Click beetles are dull brown or black and grow up to 2.5 inches in size.
These are nocturnal insects that become active at night. But while cleaning your yard or garden, you can unravel the hiding click beetles.
Click beetles have a unique way of defending themselves against predators.
At the underside of their thorax, a spine-like structure helps the click beetles to hoist themselves in the air if the predator approaches them.
That startles the predators. Click beetles also show this behavior when you try to kill them or poke them.
Click beetles can enter homes too. It’s because these bugs are attracted to light.
So, if there are any click beetles in your yard or garden, you might notice a few of them gathering on the windows and trying to make their way inside during the evening hours.
Spittlebugs or Froghoppers
Spittlebugs are plant pests that produce a froth-like spittle mass on the plants they infest. These bugs can infest any ornamental and flower plants.
However, rose plants and clover are their favorite.
Spittlebugs are ¼ inches in size and remain hidden in your garden. They are brown or gray, and they look like leafhoppers.
They have strong hind legs that help them to jump to escape predators or when you’re getting rid of them in your garden.
The saliva or the foam they produce is usually ¾ inches in size. They leave the spittle on any random area of the plant.
But spittlebugs don’t cause any damage to plants despite feeding on the plant’s sap.
These bugs have been active starting from April. Spittlebugs hide in places like underneath leaf litter and crevices in the wood when the winter arrives.
Thrips are tiny needle-like plant pests that feed on the sap of the plants. These bugs cause the same type of damage to plants that whiteflies and aphids do.
Thrips make plants lose their vitality, and they can also stop the growth of plants and the formation of leaves on plants.
Thrips are tiny yellowish bugs that grow only up to 5 mm or 1/5 inches in size.
Because of their small size, thrips can be very hard to spot. And when you try to kill thrips or spray insecticides on them to eliminate them, these tiny bugs will jump to escape.
Katydids, also known as bush crickets, are closely related to crickets and grasshoppers. These bugs are green and have a leaf-like appearance that helps them to camouflage with the plants.
Katydids also have strong back legs that help them to jump to escape on encountering danger.
You’ll hear these bugs more than you see them. They make a ka-ty-did sound during the spring and summer months. It’s a mating call they make.
And they also make a sound to alert other katydids about their territorial rights.
Katydids don’t cause severe damage to garden plants. However, young plants can be vulnerable to them.
Katydids are beneficial insects that hunt and eat many garden pests and their larvae. But katydids are one of the green bugs that bite.
And finally, the grasshoppers are the most widely known bugs that hop and jump to escape their predators and when you try to hold them.
These bugs are common in any lush garden and yard. And they can jump 20 times the length of their body.
So, an adult grasshopper can jump up to 40 yards.
Adult grasshoppers grow up to 3 inches in size, and like their close relatives, crickets and katydids, they’ve strong hind legs that help them to jump.
Grasshoppers can bite humans if they feel threatened. However, most of them are harmless. Grasshoppers can damage plants by chewing on the leaves and the twigs.
However, they can also feed on dead insects and larvae.
So, there you have it, 17 tiny bugs that jump when you try to kill them.
Most of these bugs jump because they’ve got strong pairs of hind legs that help them to escape any threat.
Bugs like springtails have a spring-like organ underneath their abdomen that pushes them against the surface to launch themselves.
Some bugs on the list, like the drain flies, minute pirate bugs, fungus gnats, and biting midges, are winged bugs that can fly.
But the way they take off, and because of their short flying path, tricks you into thinking that they hop.