So, you see tiny bugs crawling on your phone screen. And you wonder what they are.
In this guide, you’ll learn about:
- Why there are bugs on your phone’s screen
- Common bugs that crawl on phones and computer monitors
- How to get rid of them
- And more
By the end of this guide, you should have a good foundation to get started and no longer have to squish bugs crawling across your display.
Sound good? Let’s dive in and clean up your phone!
Last updated: 10/25/22.
What are these tiny bugs crawling on my screen?
That’s the million-dollar question.
As you probably know from staying up late on too many nights, your phone generates heat. This draws in bugs at night when temperatures dip.
Charging it overnight also does the same. It brings in pests who are seeking heat.
Bugs like heat. They also like light.
The constant lighting up and dimming down due to messages, notifications, and phone calls from your buddy who partied a little too hard are an attractant for insects that exhibit attraction to light.
You can even flush out mosquitoes in your room just using the glow from your phone screen!
So how do you identify that bug crawling all over your display?
There is no direct answer to that, but rather, multiple possibilities. Here are the most common reasons why you may find bugs on your phone.
Dirt and debris
As you know, you’re constantly touching and handling your phone all day (if you’re like most people nowadays).
This leads to accumulating debris such as dirt, food, oils, grease, or other nutrient-dense sources for bugs to eat.
Because most bugs are scavengers, such as bed bugs, mites, and dust mites, they’ll gladly forage across your phone to search for food. If you have a dirty phone, you’re just asking for bugs to come.
You should be cleaning your phone every other day (at least). And it doesn’t take long either.
All you need is to spray some rubbing alcohol onto a paper napkin and wipe. That’s it.
Doing so will help remove any finger oils and food stuck to your phone screen.
Have you ever seen someone pull out their phone and it’s just covered in disgusting filth? Don’t be that person. Clean your phone and the bugs will have nothing to be attracted to.
Note that bugs are excellent scavengers (it’s pretty much what they do all day) so they can smell and sense oils and debris on your phone from far away.
This is why even though you may not see any “dirt,” your phone is literally covered in nutrients that bugs will eat up. And this is exactly why you need to clean it.
Daily if possible.
The more you use it, the more you should be cleaning it. If you have time to read your friend’s latest dog quote, you have time to clean your phone.
Another reason is simply the warmth emitted from your phone.
Using your phone creates heat and this is an attractant to bugs, especially ones that prefer higher ambient temperatures.
When it’s cold, pests seek out warmer areas to reside. If you live in a cold area and use your phone at night before sleeping, this will force your phone to warm up (even if you don’t feel it, the internal components get warm over time).
The bugs can detect this heat source and will seek it out after you go to bed. Whether you leave your phone on a nightstand, desk, or on your bed, bugs in the area are drawn towards it.
They may just crawl on it because they’re attracted to it, or they may take “shelter” in the electrical jack, audio jack, USB connector, or even in the cracks on your phone case.
You might catch the bug in the act when you wake up to use your phone into the middle of the night or the next day after you get up.
Pests also seek shelter.
Just like warmth, they’ll look for places to hide in other to lay eggs, make a nest, or just feel safe from predators. If the area has a food source and offers warmth, there’s really no better place (of course, this depends on the specific bugs species).
But for many bugs, a typical phone has plenty of food from the debris, dirt, and oils on the screen:
- The warmth from heat generated
- Plenty of places to hide (USB connector, phone case, audio jack, etc).
- This is why your phone makes a perfect place to attract bugs.
- The off-chance that a bug just happened to be there
And of course, there could be no specific reason why you may catch something crawling on your phone. If it rarely happens or it’s your first time noticing it, it could just be the off-chance that you happened to catch a bug there.
Maybe the pest was randomly foraging for food and you just happened to find it.
Or maybe it was always a problem, but you just noticed it now. They are tiny and hard to see, after all.
White mites on phone screen
There are many “white mites” that are common to the average household. The thing to note is that you’ll have to identify which type of mite you have.
Here are the most common ones:
Each of these mites are extremely tiny and you may find them walking across your monitor, phone, or another electronic device. They’re everywhere, but when they walk across a bright screen, it makes them much more apparent.
This is why you think you only see them on your screen, but in reality, they’re probably all over your room.
If you have any of these mites, you can do some things that may help reduce the number of mites in your room. This will then get rid of the mites that come across your screen.
Remember that there are likely hundreds more of them already in your room- it’s just that you happen to only see them on your screen. This is why it makes sense to treat for them.
White mites can be controlled by:
- Storing all unused clothes in airtight containers
- Never have food or exposed food in your room
- Regularly vacuum your room weekly.
- Deep clean your carpets yearly
- Use dust-proof mattress and pillow covers
- Reduce moisture and humidity in the room (use a fan, open windows, or use a dehumidifier)
- Caulk any cracks around crevices and windows around the home
- Seal any foundation cracks
- Replace weatherstripping
- Fix broken screens
- Remove houseplants that have been attacked by mites
- Fix leaks
This should help reduce the number of white mites in your home overall. While most mites don’t bite, sting, or transmit diseases to humans, they can cause allergic reactions to some people.
A few mites do bite, however, such as chiggers. If you think you have them, here’s a guide on how to get rid of them. Chances are that the mites on your phone aren’t chiggers, but rather other types of white mites.
But the tips outlined here should get you started.
Bed bugs are a common pest that many find on their cellphones.
Because they’re opportunistic scavengers, they wait until dark before feeding on your skin. This means they hide during the day to stay safe from predators until night time comes.
Your cellphone can be a prime “shelter” for bed bugs because of multiple reasons.
There are many cracks and crevices your phone naturally has, such as the USB connector, power jack, audio jack, and your accessory ports.
Don’t forget the microphone, speaker, and phone case itself. The phone case rarely fits 100% flush against the actual phone, so this leaves a small gap between the phone and phone case that allows bed bugs to hide.
The area is dark, narrow, and safe from predators. This makes your phone a very appealing place for these pests to hide until they’re ready to feed.
Can bed bugs live in your phone?
Bed bugs can certainly hang out in the tighter areas of your phone.
Depending on your phone’s build, there may be gaps and holes that they can crawl into. To say that they don’t live on your phone would be a lie, as it’s definitely a possibility. But it varies on your particular phone, how accessible it is to them, and how often you use it.
Bed bugs can sense when their environment is moving around, and this may deter them from setting up a base on your phone.
But if a few happen to sneak into your phone at night, there’s nothing stopping them from hiding in the various connector ports or cracks between the phone protector.
Are bed bugs attracted to cell phones?
Bed bugs like dark and warm areas, which your phone offers both. If you’re like most people and charge your phone overnight, the warmth created by the phone will attract bed bugs to it.
The same applies to those who use their phones before bed at night because phone usage warms up the phone. These pests eat debris and skin, and your phone offers both. The dead skin that builds up over time from the touchscreen and gripping your device has plenty of microscopic bacteria and skin cells for them to eat.
Not to mention all the dirt and debris collected from food, oil, bacteria, grease, etc. This makes your phone like a buffet! These are often the tiny bugs people see on their screen when in bed, especially in the middle of the night.
How to get rid of bed bugs on the phone
If you think you have bed bugs hiding on your phone, you should focus on getting rid of them from your room first.
What good is eliminating them from your phone if more will find their way into the phone from the room? Bed bug control can be extremely tiresome because these pests are persistent.
But here are some basic things you can do to get started:
- Cover power outlets in your room
- Store unused clothes in airtight containers or bags
- Vacuum your floors daily
- Check your pets for bed bugs
- Cover your mattress with dust-proof covers
- Reduce clutter as much as possible
- Launder your sheets over and over during the bedbug treatment
- Check for bed bug poop (black stains on bed frame or mattress)
- Seal up cracks and crevices in your home and foundation
- Use bed bug traps to monitor progress
- Get a professional inspection
These tips are basic and simple, but they should be things you’re supposed to be doing already to prevent pests.
Dust mites on a cellphone screen
\If you see small tiny bugs crawling your screen, chances are they’re not dust mites.
This is because dust mites are only 0.2mm in length and can’t be seen by the naked human eye.
Under a microscope? Sure.
But if you see small bugs walking on your screen, they’re not dust mites, but rather possibly a bed bug, chigger, spider mite, or white mite.
This rules out the possibility of the little bugs on your screen being dust mites. But rather, they’re likely another type of mite common to the household.
Tiny red bugs on phone screen
This is usually a spider mite.
The most common mite is the red spider mite, which is a threat to houseplants inside the home. If you catch these mites crawling on your phone screen, you may have spider mites hiding nearby and somehow one managed to get onto your screen.
They don’t travel far from their host plant, as they feed and extract plant nutrients to sustain themselves. But there’s always the possibility that a mite got caught up in a quick breeze or was relocated onto your phone.
Here are some possibilities as examples:
- You were outdoors and had your phone out, and a spider mite crawled onto it
- Your dog was outdoors and brought in spider mites
- You bought new houseplants that already had spider mites
- You did some gardening and brought some spider mite hitchhikers into your home
- You had laundry air drying outdoors and spider mites climbed onto it
- A spider mite randomly came in through your window, patio door, or other entryway and found a path onto your phone
- As you can see, there are unlimited possibilities. The most common reasons are indoor plants that have mites, especially if you have some in your room.
You’ll want to check the plant for damage and signs of mites. And then you’ll want to start a plan of action and learn how to get rid of red spider mites, as they’re very destructive pests.
How to stop bugs from crawling on the screen
Can bugs live in phones?
Not exactly. While bugs can live ON your phone, that doesn’t mean they can live inside it. Most modern phones are designed to be waterproof, thus, there’s no way to get inside the phone.
However, older phones may have more orifices (speakers, microphone, etc.) for bugs to get in and live there. But most phones aren’t as porous to allow bugs to crawl and stay inside, so you shouldn’t have to worry about that.
The most they can do is just hang around the connectors, audio jack, or between the crawl space on your phone case and actual phone.
Some phone protectors don’t fully fit “flush” against the actual phone, which means that there’s a small crevice that bugs can crawl around in. Regularly cleaning will kill them and wipe out any eggs, pests, or debris lodged between there.
This is why it’s important to practice good cleaning habits and to fully remove your phone protector and give it a deep clean every now and then.
Are bugs attracted to phones?
Yes, bugs are attracted to the debris collected on the phone, mainly on the screen.
Over the course of a single day, there can be as much as 25,000 bacteria per square inch of your phone.
Cellphones are one of the dirtiest things you can touch on a daily basis. The average American will check their phone up to 80 times daily.
As you can picture, bugs eat microscopic bacteria and organisms, so this is like a buffet for them. Some pests like dust mites and white mites both are microscopic and eat microscopic organisms.
Since your phone has so many bacteria, germs, and even diseases for them to eat, this attracts bugs to your phone.
How to protect your phone from pests
Other than practicing regular cleaning habits, there’s not much else to do.
Just remember to clean and sterilize your phone by using rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball or cloth to wipe the phone daily (when possible)!
This will keep your phone clean and tidy. Do a deep clean by removing the case and cleaning all between the cracks, connectors, and ports every so often.
The main problem you need to take care of are the mites in your room, not the phone. Cleaning the phone doesn’t get rid of the pests still hanging out.
This means cleaning up your room, bed, carpet, houseplants, and anywhere else these pests could be coming form. You need to get to the actual root of the problem. Eliminating the tiny bugs on your phone is just a bandaid solution.
Here are some additional references you may find useful:
- Cell Phones and Bacteria – AJN
- Bacterial contamination of cell phones of medical students at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – ScienceDirect
Did you get rid of the bugs on your phone screen?
You now have everything you need to know about the possible species that are on your phone’s screen.
Even if you don’t know the exact insect species, you have some possible techniques that you can utilize to get rid of them.
The last thing you want is to wake up to smudging bug guts on your phone screen, right?
If you have questions, leave them below. Or if you found this page helpful, let me know. Tell a friend who may find it handy!
Thanks for reading.
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).
Fight nature with nature.